Archive for the ‘Textiles’ Category:


Island to Island – Textile Tour in Eastern Indonesia

  ow does a journey begin? I know how my early travels in Turkey evolved but in this case this journey began not with a single step but instead with a book. How in fact does a book on  Qaraqalpaq textiles of western Uzbekistan lead to a journey in Indonesia? I met David and Sue  Richardson initially through their extensively researched publication on Central Asian textiles – Qaraqalpaqs of the Aral Delta. As we connected on social media I was intrigued by their technical passion for textiles and an upcoming textile tour of the Lesser Sunda Islands in Eastern Indonesia  that they had planned.  Needless to say, Jack and I marked our calendars anticipating our first travels in this varied culture. Sue and David partnered with a company from Bali named Seatrek and were the resident textile experts on board the Ombak Putih. The ship was a 42 meter sailing ship with twelve staterooms and a top notch crew of fourteen men. The service and culture on board was delightful relaxed and helpful. There was

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Rainy Day Outing to Istanbul Market on the Asian Shore

pre-planned visit with friends to Istanbul’s Sali Pazar or Tuesday Market on the Asian side of the city ensured that I headed out in a torrential morning downpour to wade through puddles and sift through piles of textiles in one of Istanbul’s largest biweekly markets. Although named the Tuesday Market, the market is now held twice a week on both Tuesday and Friday. The market has relocated from a massive parking lot in Kadikoy to another open space in the neighbourhood of Hasan Pasa.  As we jumped in a taxi does seem slightly strange to announce our destination as the Tuesday Market even though it is Friday. Shopping for home goods, ‘seconds’ in clothing lines, produce, cheese, nuts, spices, fabrics and all manner of oddities; the market is both a visual delight and an audio assault as vendors shout prices and encouragement to the shoppers to take a look at their wares.  Today the overriding challenge was to avoid being drenched by unpredictable deluges as the tarps covering the goods were filling with pools of

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Anticipating a Visit to the David Collection of Islamic Art in Copenhagen

fter some time spent in Istanbul and Western Turkey this spring I have plans to revisit the David Collection in Copenhagen, Denmark.  I want another opportunity to  study this extraordinary collection of Islamic Art. Housed in a recently renovated space in central Copenhagen the museum is located in two early 19th c buildings thoughtfully conceived with series of intimate spaces to showcase an extensive collection and variety of art of the Islamic world.

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 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

CARPETS AND KILIMS – FROM THE SHEEP’S BACK TO YOUR FLOOR

    arpets stacked high, kilims by the meter, in Istanbul this wealth of colour, design, texture and tradition share a commonality of being made of wool.  Old and antique weavings or pieces right off of the loom all started out ‘on the hoof’, wool or hair on the backs of sheep or goats. I have a strong image of the first flock of sheep I saw grazing in the distance on a hillside in Cappadocia.  The shepherd was visible at the rear of the flock as they grazed against the surrealistic landscape that defines Cappadocia.  It seemed an ancient image to me.  In fact research would indicate that the practice of animal husbandry spans the past 8000 years in Anatolia. On our travels in Eastern Turkey one day as we were driving across the Mesopotamian plain towards Mardin my colleague Mehmet noticed

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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TEXTILES, CARPETS, MUSEUMS AND MORE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

  KASHMIRI SHAWLS – A TEXTILE OF MAGNIFICENCE ow strong must one be to lift a carpet? How much strength to move a kilim? A hand loomed saddle cover? Or perhaps to hold the whisper light heft of a kashmiri shawl? Last week I had wonderful days in Los Angeles and San Francisco visiting with collectors, viewing museum collections, attending a dealers fair and hearing lectures on various related topics. The morning after my arrival in LA I attended a lecture delivered to the Textile Museum of America’s Southern California Associates by Dr David Reisbord on the subject of Kashmiri shawls. It was a time to learn and to be amazed by the technical complexities of this weaving tradition. Both men and women have worn these diaphanous and colorful shawls through the centuries with the oldest known pieces dating to the mid 17th c.   A Tibetan ibex was the source for the incredibly fine wool used to weave these textiles. The ‘shatoush’ or the fleece from the underbelly of the animal was so fine

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