Evil Eye Bead
Throughout the history, people have benefitted from the objects they thought are charmed to get rid of their fears, distress and negative energy. Also in monotheistic religions, holy symbols and signs are believed to keep the negative energy away from people. The most known one among these symbols in most of the cultures is “eye”.
Glass beads were first designed by the Egyptian craftsmen who were visiting İzmir at the Arab Inn in Kemeraltı. Turkish people contributed to the development of this art with the techniques they acquired from these craftsmen. In time, following the production of colorful glasses, “eyes” were started to be placed on the beads.
3,000-year-old Mediterranean glass art have underwent very few changes. Today, the eye beads which are believed to protect people from evil eyes are produced in Görece Neighborhood in Menderes and Kurudere village in Kemalpaşa.
The researches reveal that the first pots which were made in Anatolia around 7.000 BC were made with wrapping method then cooked in direct fire and also that İzmir and the surrounding area (Urla, Bayraklı, Foça, Sisami Island) was an important pottery center.
The main reason pottery is very developed in the region is that the soil is very rich in terms of argil. Another reason is the necessity of cups to store the wine and the olive oil produced in the region.
Menemen is one of the regions that pottery is very advanced. So much so that the amphoras of the ancient times are now called “Menemen Pot”. Cups, pots, glasses and pitchers as well as souvenirs are produced in the region. Although the production technique and utilization area have changed in time, pottery is as valuable as it was in old times.
One of the oldest Turkish handcrafts, felting was developed in Tire. Today, felt making with traditional methods still continues in the town and stuff that is used often in daily life such as scarves, slippers, accessories, jackets and bags are made out of these felts.
Tire felts have different types such as white felt, “tuzuk”, milk felt, horse, camel felt, “kepenek”, shoe and cushion. On these felts, both traditional and modern embroideries are used.
Drawing interest of both domestic and foreign tourists, felts are also utilized academically. In this context, felt master Arif Cön from Tire represented Tire handicrafts by exhibiting his products he made out of felt in Topkapı Palace in 2003.
People of the Boynuyoğun village started rush weaving in the 14th century, weaving the rushes they gathered from the Belevi Lake and the art gained attention especially in the period when agriculture was largely practiced. The local people used rush mats at the lowlands and highlands to sit on or for shade.
Although today the production decreased because of the lack of utilization areas, rush products are still sold in the markets of Tire.
Carpets, Rugs and Weavings
Aliağa Helvacı Rug
The Helvacı Rug is a traditional handcraft with an at least 500 year old history which belongs to Aliağa region. It is an important type among Anatolia rugs.
The Helvacı rug on which all of the weaving techniques and patters specific to the region and Helvacı can be observed is made with a special weaving technique called “atkı yüzlü seyrek motifli cicim”. The fact that the wefts and warps that construct the base are usually ropes with the same thickness and color while the ropes that make the patterns are thicker gives the patterns an embossed look. The rugs and prayers rugs made by the İzmir-Helvacı yuruks are the best examples of this technique. Mostly the technique is used for saddlebags, sacks and pouches which need to be thicker.
The Helvacı culture is kept alive thanks to the weaving courses of the Public Education Center at the Halvacı district of Aliağa.
Bergama Carpets, Rugs and Weavings
Bergama weavings are among the most advanced handcrafts of the Bergama district. Woolen products such as carpets, rugs, saddlebags, pouches and prayer rugs are woven at village counters with madders. The world-famous Bergama carpets also have ethnographic value.
West Anatolia Bergama Carpets are divided into 2 eras, 18 main topics and 4 regions according to their colors, patterns, shape and the weaving style. These are
Kozak Region (Gubaş, Kılaz, Karaçeli, Yağcıbedir, Tahtacılar),
Yuntdağı Region (Derici, Yüncü, Sarıkeçili, Maldan, Gaylan),
Yağcıbedir Region (Kocaoba, Yağcıbedir, Mazılı, Çağlan, Yenice, Samanlık, İslamlar, Kızılçukur, Demirciler, Kıroba, Çakırlar, Yanıgüde),
Karadağ Region (Hardal, Kaan, Muslu, Çepni, Yağcıbedir).
The Pergamon Carpets also draw attention with their stories, especially the one of Yağcı Bedir (Yaycı Bedir) Tribe which weaves the carpets called “Female Bergama”. According to the story, while the Yağcı Bedir Tribe was staying at Bergama Küçükkaya, the son of the tribe and the pretty girl of the nomads fall in love. The father of the tribe asks for permisson for his son to marry the girl but her father does not give his blessings. This situation turns into a bloody fight. The son dies while men of two sides fight and the tribe gets divided into two.
After that the boy’s side migrates and establishes three villages at the Sındırgı region. The girl on the other side locks herself into the house and starts weaving carpets. She reflects all of her pain and emotions on her works: Red represents separation, black represents sorrow, white represents hope, four spots represent the family members that precluded her love, The Star of Suleyman represents the son of the tribe, the shapes represent heartbreak and the transition from red to pink represent the desire to get married. The carpets with these patterns and design are called “Female Pergamon”.
Dikili Yağcıbedir Rugs and Carpets
Yağcıbedir rugs and carpets are woven in hand by the local women in the Kocaoba, Mazılı, Yenice, Samanlık and Çağlan districts of Dikili.
Tire Beledi Weavings
Tire, which was famous with its berry gardens and sericulture, was one of the weaving centers of the Ottoman Era. The “beledi weaving” which was discovered in 1500s was used for clothing items of Ottoman and members of European royalty as well as curtains and bedspreads.
The most important features of the beledi weavings are the fact that both sides of it are usable and that numerous patterns can be created by stretching it out. The patterns are called “bademli, kelebek, hebib döşeği, evsat, altıparmak, düzbaskı, serpet”. They also vary according to their weaving style.
Today, beledi is kept alive by its last representative, Craftsman Saim as well as the people attending vocational education courses organized by the Tire Municipality.
Quilt achieved to survive a lot longer than the other handicraft products due to its being used in almost every house. Quilt making is kept alive in the quilt makers’ street in Tire. Here, the craftsmen produce authentic quilts by handling traditional motives on colorful fabrics. Although fabricated ones have gained more popularity, handmade quilts still attract attention.
Taking a long time to make, saddles are still being made by the crafters in Tire, İzmir.
Leather, felt or beaded saddles for horses, donkeys and camels are made in small shops in the town and adorn the showcases until the day they meet their owners.
The point lace products which are known as “Turkish lacework” are made of cotton or synthetic ropes. The most important factor that differentiates point lace from the other weaving styles is that the products are used as ornaments. Point lace products are used as clothing accessories both by women and men.
Generally clove, rose and tulip motives are used on the point lace products which are a part of the Tire culture.
Different styles are applied for the making of point lace in order to create motives. In Ödemiş, point laces are stitched together to create larger covers. The ropes used in point lace making are specially prepared by the point lace makers in the town.
The products of the wood engraving art, which includes geometrical and flower patterns, adorn the doors, windows, cabinet doors, cases, ceilings and mirrors.
Wood engraving, which has an important place among the Turkish handicraft, is still practiced in Tire.
The art of making hunting equipment such as harnesses called “Kösele”, belts, gun cases, bullet cases and bags is called “saraçlık” (leather crafting) and the people who practice it are called “leather crafters”.
This art is a very important one among ancient Turkish arts due to the importance attached to horses. Today, this art is kept alive in Tire, İzmir. Craftsmen from Tire have also produced for livestock and pets.
One of the oldest instruments of Turkish folk music, Kabak Kemane, is only produced today by İrfan Alkur in Tire. Alkur now uses lathes and drills for production of this violin-like instrument which he used to make using a pocket knife.
A calabash on which lamb skin or kid leather stretched and a handle made of harwood are the main elements of a “Kabak Kemane”. The distinctive feature of the ones made in Tire is the fact that they have three strings. Fiddles are generally made from horse tail or a type of nylon thread.
“Kabak Kemane” is purchased both by music lovers and people who want to take home an authentic gift.
One of the hand crafts that draw interest due to its craftsmanship is mineral art. In Tire, you can come across doorknobs, oil lamps, plates, pitchers, horseshoes and many other mineral products that have geometrical shapes and different designs.
One of the handcrafts in Tire that are about to become extinct is horseshoeing. Horseshoe makers are now having a hard time since horses are not used as a means of transportation.
Tinning is practiced to renew copper material and to prevent copper cups to cause poisoning.
In this process, which requires lots of experience, first the copper cups are cleaned with hydrochloric acid and sand. Later they are processed with Sal ammoniac and melted tin on charcoal. Finally they are cleaned with cotton pads and end up looking brand new.
Tinsmith is kept alive in Tire using old methods. One of the most important factors that cause tinsmith to continue is that copper boilers are still being used today for cooking.
Hooded boots are identified with the “Efe” culture in the Republic Period. It is known that Yörük Ali Efe, Gökçen Efe and Demirci Mehmet Efe who are known for their heroism during the Turkish War of Independence wore hooded boots.
Today hooded boots are used by folk dance teams and cameleers and they are made by only one craftsman in Tire. The making of hooded boots requires craftsmanship.
It is reported that brocaded velvet sabots were first made by the craftsmen of Tire. The sabots which are must-haves of dowry chests, which are one of the top choices of the tourists for souvenirs and which adorn the oriental corners have become one of the symbols of Tire.
The sabots used to be wedding gifts for young girls and are now used in the balconies of houses and baths and are worn while performing an ablution in mosques. Sabots with less embroidery were gifted to the girls of marrying age while the ones with more embroidery were deemed worthy for new brides.
In Tire, poplar trees are used to make sabots since they’re easier to cave and do not get damaged when they get wet. This is what makes them different from the ones made in Europe. Covered with red, purple and green velvets; adorned with glittery ropes, wires and paillettes, Tire sabots are kept alive by Craftsman Cemil.
Today, “urgan” ropes, which have various uses such as tying, threading, wrapping and baling, are produced in Tire. Tire ropes are famous in every part of Anatolia for they are strong and white. It’s rumored that Sultan Fatih Sultan Mehmet used Tire ropes to pull his ships towards Haliç while conquering İstanbul.
The craftsmen first beat the flax then comb it. They make thin ropes called “sle” from combed flex. The “sle”s are turned into blocks then blocks into thick ropes called “urgan”.
The Art of Marbling is On the List of Cultural Heritages
Known today as an art of theraphy, both gives pleasure to the artist and also requires lots of patience. The art is defined as a traditional “art of decoration” where designes are formed on water using a special kind of paint. The paints used for the art of marbling are produced with natural methods. The tragacanth, which allows the water to intensify, is one of these natural materials.
You can find the examples of marbling art at the stores of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Alsancak and Adnan Menderes Airport.
- Traditional Handicraft and Stores Directorate
Cumhuriyet Bulvarı No:87 Alsancak-İzmir
+90 232 483 07 89
- İzmir Adnan Menderes Handicraft and Book Store
Adnan Menderes Airport, İzmir
+90 232 274 11 84