Turkish Carpet Making – A Dying Art?

By: Jessica Spann and Jami Sall



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Turkey is known for having the most delightful carpets. Their uniqueness in pattern design, bright colors and intricate details attracts attention from all around the world – I’m pretty obsessed myself. You can spot them in households, magazines and even wedding decor.

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Besides being so lovely to look at, they have so much history and are made from hand. We had the unique pleasure of meeting one of these carpet makers over tea. This talented lady has made more carpets in her lifetime than she can count – starting at the age of 13! So grab a cup of tea and follow along as Emine shares with us a piece she is currently working on, the details that go into making a carpet, and her thoughts on the future of carpet weaving.

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It was one hot and sunny day after touring the many sites to see in Istanbul. I walked by a store just outside the distinguished Blue Mosque and couldn’t help but be drawn to the colorful Turkish carpets on display. A lovely woman sitting in front of the store working diligently on a carpet caught my attention next.

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She was deep in her work before noticing me, then turned around with a big inviting smile. She motioned for us to have a seat next to her so she could teach us how to take a thread and weave a double-knot into the carpet. Let me tell you, it’s harder than it looks!

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Later while having tea together she shared how her love for making carpets started about 35 years ago when she was a young teenager growing up in a village outside of Yalova, Turkey. She took a carpet weaving course and basically started teaching others within a few months! She’s still helping others learn the skill of carpet weaving. She taught a fellow coworker recently, who is now working on his first carpet.

We asked her what has changed since she started weaving carpets and what she predicts the future holds for handmade carpets.

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SOOC: Would you like to teach more people the skill of carpet weaving?
Emine: Yes, I would love to teach others, but the younger generation isn’t interested in learning how to make carpets. It used to be a common job years ago, but now we live in a world were everything is already made. The value in handmade things isn’t the same.

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She also went on to say she predicts real handmade carpets will become fewer and fewer. So you’d better get your handmade carpet soon!

She got emotional towards the end and was so happy to share her passion with us! What a joy it was to hear her story! I don’t know about you, but I sure have a new appreciation for handmade carpets. Now, deciding which one to bring home, that’s a real challenge!