Archive for the ‘Istanbul’ Category:


Fall 2013 – Eastern Turkey: The Land Beyond

ooking ahead to the fall of next year we have travel planned for Eastern Turkey October 4th -18th, 2013.  We will start and end our trip in Istanbul with an internal flight to the city of Trabzon on the Black Sea in the northeast of Turkey close to the Georgian border. Then we will return to Istanbul from Gaziantep in the southeast corner of Turkey.   Travel in eastern Turkey provides glimpses of landscape, culture and traditions that appear to have remained unchanged for centuries.  The same travel includes insight into the monumental changes that are impacting the region.  Highways, massive dams and sophisticated agricultural undertakings exist side by side with the very old. I personally love to tour the ancient sites of Eastern Turkey.  I love the experience of not being with masses of people as we wander through monasteries, palaces, abandoned ruins of bygone cities or hike in the Taurus Mountains above a lakeside village.  My imagination is lured back in time when on the Mesopotamian plain, when in Sanliurfa (birthplace of Abraham)

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Spring 2013 – Discover Western Turkey

urkish tea, domes and minarets, colour, food, culture; all combine to stimulate one’s senses with all that is Turkey.  April 21st to May 5th, 2013 we plan to tour in Western Turkey with a group of not more than twelve guests.  At this point there is space remaining on this trip so be it on your own, with a friend or partner do consider joining us for two weeks.  Check your calendars and if the timing works come along. My Turkish tour partner Mehmet Ozbalci is a registered historical guide with over twenty years of experience, great English skills and a keen understanding of what the north american traveller enjoys.  Mehmet is tremendously aware of details and the travel we have shared has

Film: A Doorway to Central Asian Art and History

hopping for clients in Istanbul for carpets or textiles has meant that over the years many wonderful pieces from Central Asia have passed through my hands.  I have a personal attraction to this art. The colours, designs and magnificent workmanship enthrall me and the more I see of this group of carpets and textiles the deeper my appreciation  becomes.  In our home some of my favorite rugs and textiles trace their roots back to Central Asia. This month I saw a documentary that furthered my understanding of Central Asia.  The Desert of Forbidden Art by Tchavdar Georgiev and Amanda Pope is the story of Igor Savitsky, a man of passion and focus who during and after the Russian Revolution amassed a clandestine collection of over 40,000 pieces of avant garde Russian art.   These works represent a group of Russian artists working in a style that was a fusion of European modernism overlaid with the influence of images of Central Asia.  Some art historians have compared this fusion to the art of

Out of the Closet – A Central Asian Garment

arpets, textiles, embroideries; all things tactile be they Turkish or Central Asian, from this or that corner of the globe, all have held a level of fascination for me. In my previous post I wrote about the challenge of speaking in public.  Dare I call it a phobia but whatever was at work in my psyche as an adult I have avoided situations where I have had to address an audience larger than a handfull of people.  I have had encouragement from many people in my life to break beyond this self imposed limitation. One quote that remains in my mind was from my daughter Leah, my business partner, who said, “Mom, you are passionate and knowledgable about this area just let your passion show.”  There was a definite ring of truth to her encouragement. So standing on the foundation of so many words of support, I broke through the barrier that has muzzled me publicly for years.  My thanks to each of you who spoke words of encouragement to me and helped me to open my mouth

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Head to Toe – An Incidental Collection

Garments from Turkey and Central Asia

y preparations for an upcoming presentation to the New Calgary Rug and Textile Club are now  underway.  On Saturday, January 14th from 2 to 4 pm at the new Taylor Digital Library at the University of Calgary I will show and speak about a group of garments which I have collected over the years in Istanbul.  These pieces were acquired one by one as I pursued my primary business of purchasing antique carpets and textiles for various clients.  If you are local and want to come along there is a nominal fee of $5 to attend or better still purchase a membership to the club and enjoy future presentations and lectures($25 for single membership or $50 for a couple).  I am in the midst of the process of sorting out what to include, what to exclude, which format to use, and a seemingly myriad of small decisions as I do the ‘mental sort’ of all the details that exist in my head and need to be corralled to create a degree of order. Rather than

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A TURKISH GIFT

  hinking back of gifts given and received and some of the best memories I have are of the unexpected gifts. A meaningful gift arrived in the hands of a Turkish child. Jack and I were on a road trip driving north from the Mediterranean through the Taurus Mountains. We were traveling on a religious holiday (Kurban Bayram) and were uncertain as to whether or not we would find restaurants open midday along the way.  This uncertainty about our lunch destination was reason enough to plan a picnic and the weather was mild and lovely, so inviting for a meal outdoors.  What better way to break up the hours of driving to our final destination in Cappadocia than to plan a picnic en route?   On our way out of Antalya we stopped at the local market.    Fresh cheeses, olives shiny and varied, peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers along with seasonal fruit were all piled from the stalls into our basket.  As an after thought we picked a perfect watermelon which we thought we would enjoy

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A KILIM’S JOURNEY FROM ISTANBUL TO CANADA

osephine Powell used to tell me stories of the nomadic tribes of Turkey and their culture and weaving traditions.  Josephine would speak of the life in the summer camps as the people settled in the high mountain pastures for the flocks to graze while the women were weaving both carpets and kilims. A friend asked me the other day after reading my blog ‘what is a kilim?’  I explained that

THROUGH THE LENS – TWO WOMEN LINKED BY PHOTOGRAPHY, FILM AND OUR FRIENDSHIP

  IN MEMORY OF: JOSEPHINE POWELL –  ETHNOGRAPHER, PHOTOGRAPHER AND KILIM SCHOLAR   1919-2007 and EVA MONLEY –  FILM PRODUCER    1924 – 2011 had an email last week that an old friend Eva Monley had died  in Nanyuki, Kenya of complications from a chest infection.  Eva was 88 years old. Five years ago another friend Josephine Powell died also at 87 years old from emphysema or COPD.  The death of Eva has made me reflect on the loss of both these women from my life. They never knew one another; lived and worked in different parts of the world; Josephine for a large portion of her life in Turkey and Central Asia and Eva often in Africa.   Their shared characters imprinted on me when I first met them in my mid forties. Together they shaped my perception of who I am as a woman and what life holds for me as woman who holds life. Eva was a film producer; Josephine an ethnographic photographer.  Both women had backbones of iron, determination, fierce independence and

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Too Many Photos? Never!
Carpets, Textiles, Travels & Family.
How I keep it all straight.

have spent this morning at the computer wading through 29,605 images.  Hard to imagine that I have spent countless hours deleting photos of blurry carpets, tatty textiles, out of focus ambitiously artistic travel shots and unflattering photos of family and friends and still have 30,000 images to deal with. The survivors remain; images that I have not had the heart to delete that reference travel throughout the furthest reaches of Turkey; photos of rugs, textiles and ethnographic ephemera often captured in dark and cramped shops where the possibilities of including the whole carpet in one frame do not exist.  There are also the photos of our first grandchild, images that are not great works of art but reference the months and years that are passing at an astonishing rate. The good news is that four years ago my son Chris a professional photographer trained me on Adobe Lightroom and although I cannot say that I have attributed keywords to every image I can in fact search for the vast majority of the slightly less than 30 thousand pictures

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On the Bosphorus – Istanbul at it’s best

  s I start my workday in Istanbul, Turkey heading out to find carpets and textiles for various clients my day often starts on the Bosphorus. I have become expert in being able to time my walk from the flat to the ferry dock. I have daily ‘tour’ that I start each day with and also end each working day with as I catch the ferry from Asia in the morning to Europe and return each evening from the Old City on the European shore to Asia.