Creative artist travels to Turkey to learn new skills
Barbara is a super talented felt maker who hosts stunning workshops for all skills levels, making a huge variety of felt items. You won’t be surprised to learn that she, like so many other makers, artists and designers Barbara is always looking to extend her skills and learn something new to bring back to her clients.
This passion took her to Turkey recently to work with a world renowned felt maker Mehmet Girgic. Read her story below – you will be blown away!
Barbara is off to Bali soon to teach and we can’t wait to share her next chapter with you. In the meantime, head over to her website to find out more about upcoming UK workshops including a few places left on March 23rd.
As an accomplished feltmaker I had always had a disire to make my very own rug. So when I heard about a felt rug making course in Turkey I was really interested to learn more. At the same time I discovered that there was developmental funding available for artist so I quickly got in to doing some serious research. I wanted to make sure that my application was strong so as I didn’t miss this opportunity so my research included a visit to the vaults iat the back of the V&A in London where I was shown 10 very special pieces of felt. I felt so privaleged to see pieces from 1100 BC. Hense to say my research paid off and my application was successful.
A month later I was travelling to Konya in Turkey to attend the 5-day felt rug making course called the Osaman technique . This is a traditional Turkish rug making methods – a technique that have been passed down for generations.
The course was run by Mehmet Girgic, a master felt-maker who learnt his skills from his father. Mehmet is internationally known for his felt rug making business and travels worldwide teaching his craft. He owns a large shop and showroom on the high street in Konya.
Diary Of A Rugmaker
After being met at Konya airport by Mehmet at 10 pm Sunday evening we ate a light supper with two other students all sitting on huge woolly cushions we made a start on choosing a design for the following morning, we lost track of time whilst chatting and had been put to work on learning how to rub and roll our outlines for our rug design until 2.am!
The street view- Mehemet’s shop is situated is in this busy bustling atmosphere street full of charm with so many interesting shops, kilim woven rugs hanging everywhere you looked and antique shops galore to rummage through. I loved it and just had to have a little barter for some lovely trinkets, well! It would be rude not too..
A very sleepy eyed Barbara was woken at 7.am, showered and breakfast we walked to Mehmets shop at 8 am. Here I am sitting on my paper design, covered with a clear plastic taped to the floor and I am laying down the outline to my design.
Day 3 am. Felting with a candle at the side as there were many power cuts. There was a little light, but the flash on the camera lit up the image. At this point in time, the realisation hit home that I was working against the clock and there was no time for slacking!
Day 3 pm At the wool Bazaar. We chose our fleece which would be our background for the rug, it was an experience to see how the men worked in fluff filed garages!
Here Mehmet is dying the fleece a beautiful gold colour with natural items, leaves, twigs, pomogranates etc…. This will be used for the backing of the rug.
Day 5 – The fulling process of rubbing, stretching, stomping, rubbing, stomping etc took a full day.
After a total of 65 hours the rug is finally finished!!
Now what an amazing achievement that I will never forget and the rug hangs proudly on the living room wall.