Archive for the ‘Travels’ 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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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

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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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

Transylvanian Carpets at the Nickle New Galleries with Stefano Ionescu

he New Calgary Rug and Textile Club hosted Stefano Ionescu for a lecture in the new Nickle Galleries at the University of Calgary in the recently opened Taylor Family Digital Library Building.  Ionescu is a resident of Rome, Italy and an independent scholar in the field of Anatolian carpets in Transylvanian churches. He presented an informative perspective on how these collections of Ottoman (Turkish) carpets dating from the 16th c onwards came to be a part of the Protestant churches décor in Romania. During the Reformation in the 16th c the churches had their traditional art removed.   Frescoes, icons and other religious art was either plastered over or in the case of icons removed from the church sanctuaries.  This resulted in places of worship with

CARPETS, TEXTILES, TOURS AND SOCCER BALLS

TWO FACES IN VAN  – BEFORE THE EARTHQUAKE ack had a plan.  Jack, my husband, an inveterate people/project person, is my companion on our tours throughout Western and Eastern Turkey.  Jack loves people but he especially loves kids. The wheels were turning in Jack’s head when he visited with my niece’s husband Archie in North Vancouver. Archie, father of two, and coach of his eldest daughter’s soccer team was telling Jack about the season and about the replacement of the used practice balls with new balls for the next season.  The light went on for Jack.  In his mind’s eye he could see those kids throughout the East of Turkey without soccer balls, kicking a deflated plastic water bottle back and forth, and here was a net bag of used balls languishing in Archie’s garage.  So the small scale project, but meaningful to those involved (Jack included) began and continues.  Jack takes deflated soccer balls as well as pumps and needles that he purchases along in an extra bag to Eastern Turkey and when he

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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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BEAUTY IN TEXTILES IS TIMELESS
ST PETERSBURG AND THE PAZYRYK FELTS

am haunted by textile images  which float in my mind.  Men on horseback. Throned figures.  Phoenixes and Sphinxes. Last month in St Petersburg on a visit to the Hermitage I anticipated seeing the much published Pazyryk carpet – the earliest knotted example dating back to the 4th century BC.   What I didn’t anticipate was having my heart and soul invaded by the beauty of a monumental felt (4.5 m x 5 m) from the same archeological find.  I had seen images of this felt published in Hali – the quintessential publication for carpets, textiles and Islamic Art but

Art, Carpets, Food & Friendship in Cambrige, Mass.

step onto a Caucasian carpet as I put my foot into the hallway of a Greek Revival home around the corner from Inman Square in Cambridge, Mass. The tree-lined street is home to houses that date to the middle of the 19th century and I am at the historical heart of America. As a Canadian child I learned of Paul Revere’s famous ride, the Boston tea party and as always I am so engaged to be in a historical location that I have only encountered previously in books and images.