A Woman's Touch
In the last 35 years, weaving has all but disappeared from Turkey. Until that point there were many, many weaving villages with old-style-shuttled looms in almost every home , and larger looms for commercial production in workshops outside the home.
As the art of weaving declined most of the home looms vanished, along with the role that women played in the culture of weaving. Women were not only the weavers for the home, but - more crucially - they were the teachers for the next generation: young women followed in their mothers' footsteps and young men grew up to be commercial weavers.
Today, if women are involved with the weaving, it is mainly with peripheral tasks such as threading the commercial looms, tying fringe and sewing.
Meet one of the few exceptions: Ayse Teze (Aunt Ayse). Asye Teze is one of the most experience weavers in her village and is one of the few women operating a large commercial-size old-style-shuttled loom. A tiny woman, Ayse Teze is formidable, knowledgable, and highly respected by the men in the workshop, who come to her with questions about their looms or weaving issues.
Ayse Teze is currently working on the blanket-size version of something we call 7 Wonders (you can read more about this design in our blog called "A Patriarch's Wish Fulfilled") and says she feels proud to be working on complex projects again. She sees that the art of weaving has lost so much over the last 10 years and wants to see it regain it's former place.
Ayse Teze wishes that more young men and women would get involved with weaving. "I don't understand why they spend their time on the computer and phones," she commented on Jennifer's last visit. "They should be doing something uselful with their time." We can only hope that Ayse Teze's vision and values will guide some of the younger generation to learn the art of weaving.