Our Crafts Club’s first Outing

Our new local Crafts Club had its first outing.  We were sadly depleted by illness so there were only four of us – enough to fit comfortably into one car.  Ashley did not come as the rest of us were all female.  The primary purpose of our trip was to visit Priene Halı-Kilim Atölyesi.  This is a women’s co-operative where they make carpets, traditionally, by hand.  Each knot is made separately and, at the end of a row, the hand spun thread is snipped to an even length.  They make up the designs of students at the New York University of Fine Arts.  This is part of the students’ learning.  These designs are not very traditional (we were amused by one of a pair of very pink feet on a beach – the ladies in the co-operative were speculating whether the feet belonged to a man or a woman).  Other carpets are more traditional in design or of designs evolved by the women of the co-operative themselves.   They also weave kilims out of recycled clothing.  Also for sale were some very charming hand-made dolls of ladies in traditional dress (some of them carrying babies in traditional dress) along with a number of knitted items.  The beaded socks were particularly popular with our party.  I bought some socks with swans on and one of the recycled kilims which will make an excellent alternative tablecloth for the back terrace.

We drank tea and chatted.  Well, mostly I listened.  I understood most of what was being said and finally got the courage to explain that, whilst I understood most of the conversation, I don’t have the confidence to say much in Turkish…

After the visit we went to Gelebeç.  This is one of the places on the Aegean that was hit hard by the exchange of populations.  There are old Greek stone houses in various states of disrepair.  Quite a few have been very tastefully (and probably expensively) restored.  We saw numberplates from Istanbul and Ankara and, when I googled to learn more about the place I turned up the old monastery which is being advertised as a holiday let.  This village is very near to Priene and we saw some interesting material in some of the newer stone walls…

There is a fairly famous ruined church dedicated to St. Nicholas.  It was built in the 19th Century upon the ruins of an older building (the area has suffered a number of earthquakes).  All the icons have gone and it is covered in graffiti.  It’s a bit tumbledown but the basic structure remains visible (I particularly liked the clock tower).  There are bones in the ossuary.  The surrounding scenery is fantastic but the weather was squally and the light was poor so I didn’t get any good photographs.

After a stop for lunch we headed for home.  We explored around the new ethnographic museum in Söke but it appeared to be a shoppers paradise rather than anything more ethnographical.  We could be wrong, in which case we shall, no doubt, return.  We just didn’t fancy hanging out in the mall at that point in time.

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2 responses to “Our Crafts Club’s first Outing

  1. Looks like a wonderful excursion. I really like the fact that recycled clothing kilims are becoming very popular here – more work for the weavers. Amazing how this country recycles everything! Looking forward to reading more about your Craft Club. Where to next?

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