Buying a Turkish Carpet

As I mentioned in my last post, we did a tour of a carpet weaving company.  And while the sights of Cappadocia were amazing and interesting, this was educational on a different level – about something we didn’t even know we wanted to learn about!

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But learn we did!  When we entered the Bazaar, we were welcomed by the manager / owner who took us on the tour.  In the entry area were several looms with a variety of rugs being made by women of different skill levels.  Many of the women who make the carpets actually work from their homes as it’s not a trade that requires one to be in the office and instructors will go to their homes to work with them on improving their skills.  But while we were there, there were a few master weavers working on their looms in the front room.   And when I say master weaver, I mean their fingers were flying at a rapid fire pace through the loom – it was fascinating to watch.  Only in my wildest dreams could I weave like that!  My camera was on the wrong setting so the pictures aren’t as sharp or in the right color tone as I would like 😦

One of the highly skilled weavers - it was amazing to watch her!

One of the highly skilled weavers – it was amazing to watch her!

Another highly skilled weaver

Another highly skilled weaver

A partially finished carpet

A partially finished carpet

You can see all the various color threads that are being used to make the carpet.

You can see all the various color threads that are being used to make the carpet.

We learned here about the differences in time it takes to make a carpet, the knots (the number of knots is important!) per square inch/cm, the type of knots (single or double), the quality of the wool, cotton or silk that is used and so much more.  I never thought I wanted to learn about the carpet trade, but I have to say, it was interesting and a skill that would be incredibly difficult to perfect!

Our guide explained in detail how intricate these carpets are, how they are made, the approximate time it takes to make each type of carpet, how to make the silk that is used in the silk carpets and how this is becoming a dying trade – something that Bazaar 54 is trying to change.  This is a school – sort of – a place for the women to train and improve their skills.  For skills determines your pay grade when it comes to making carpets.  They actually receive certifications based on their skill level and their pay reflects that.  A top weaver can make upwards of 3600 Turkish Lira per month (about 1200 euros) but few make it to this level.

But it also gives women the opportunity to work in a fair-trade business where they are not only taught the skills needed to weave beautiful carpets, but they are paid a fair sum of money, set by the government based on their skill levels.  It also ensures that the trade is passed down from generation to generation, hopefully saving a dying industry.

We got to see the silk worms and how the silk is extracted from the casing which was really interesting to see!

Silk worms are first soaked in water and then he takes this brush to swirl them around

Silk worms are first soaked in water and then he takes this brush to swirl them around

The brush grabs the silk strands (hard to see as they are very thin)

The brush grabs the silk strands (hard to see as they are very thin)

The strands are then fed through a machine (behind him)

The strands are then fed through a machine (behind him)

The machine that weaves the strands together

The machine that weaves the strands together

Silk worm pods

Silk worm pods

The semi final product (some will be dyed different colors)

The semi final product (some will be dyed different colors)

We then walked through the showroom, learned all about the different styles of carpet – not just from different eras, but different regions of the country.  We learned how to tell the different qualities of the carpet (he said though to buy what you love, just to understand the differences so you don’t overpay) and that a good carpet will last you a hundred years!

We ended up in a final showroom where there were rolls upon rolls of carpet.  We should have seen this coming and I think in the back of our minds, we did.  This was where you make a purchase.  We had no plans to buy a Turkish carpet.  None. They told us there was no pressure to do so and they were incredibly gracious.  But we got caught up in it all.  They served us tea, asked us all about the colors we like and the styles.  They put roll after roll after roll of carpet down on the floor for us to inspect, compare and contrast.  We kept narrowing it down and were really got into it.

In the end, we bought a carpet, but not just any carpet.  A Hereke carpet.  That’s essentially the best you can buy.  But we didn’t buy it because it’s the best – we just loved it!  We looked at other carpets and the blues were nice, but not quite like this one.  We kept going back to it over and over again.  Even though we knew it was more than we wanted to spend, we couldn’t help going back to it, no matter how many carpets we looked at and we just knew, this was the one for us.  We decided not only is it an investment, but it would be nice to own something that screamed “I am an adult” rather than our IKEA collection 😉  We’re 40 – it would be nice if our house reflected our “maturity”.  However, now, we need to buy a new coffee table because the IKEA table would be an insult to put on this carpet!  The good news is it will take 4-6 weeks for the carpet to arrive so we’ve got some time to find that coffee table!

Our new Hereke carpet

Our new Hereke carpet

Again, camera on the wrong setting, but the carpet is turquoise blue

Again, camera on the wrong setting, but the carpet is turquoise blue

Once the carpet arrives, I’ll have to post a before and after entry that shows our “beautiful” IKEA carpet and coffee table with the new and improved look!

Knuffels en kussen,

Julie

9 thoughts on “Buying a Turkish Carpet

    • They are doing everything – we don’t have to deal with customs at all and they covered the shipping costs too. They should for how expensive it is! And you are right, it is a piece of art – there was really no comparison with the other ones. And the colors… just LOVED the colors! I can’t wait to take a GOOD photo of it when it gets here!

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  1. The stitching is beyond amazing! The details! Watching the women with their fingers just literally flying over the loom was ridiculous – the talent is out of this world! We didn’t go barefoot on it, but we did kneel on it and sit on it and felt the luxury! Now, to find a coffee table that’s not overly formal but nicer than our cheap ikea one – it deserves nicer than ikea! I know he said that stains come out easily, but I’m terrified of two young boys and this carpet – they may never be allowed to sit on the sofa and watch tv again once it arrives!

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  2. Pingback: Something Old is New Again | The Expat Chronicles

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