Even in this most rural village in Cappadocia, plastic bags and bottles are a serious problem!
I am here as an artist in residence at Babayan Culture House in this spectacular landscape inhabited by people who have lived in labyrinthine caves carved from the volcanic rock for thousands of years. Women and men live mostly separately in Ibrahimpasa, except at home. The women stay covered with scarves and practical clothing that they can wear to work the fields and in their homes.
The women all crochet and stitch elaborate and beaded edging around the scarves they wear. Their skill is a status marker, while sales help out with finances. Their work is exquisitely detailed and fine.
I have introduced the project here, by sitting in my doorway in the late afternoon when the women have a chance to stroll a bit. They have been excited to see that I was doing something that they sort of recognized! Great fun trying to communicate and share. I brought a lot of large crochet hooks to give to interested women. Some have been totally amped, thinking of other things they could make with it. Sherife said, (in translation) "I am just flabbergasted"!. They only use their skills in very traditional proscribed ways, so this was really blowing her mind! We see only her hands below as she did not want her face to be photographed.
In the nearby larger town, Urgup, I was introduced to two women who might have more openness to the abstract ideas of the project. One, Sule, a jewelry artist, and the other, Guler Somturk, a fiber artist making wearables and painting. Both were very excited and interested
in possibly inviting other women for a gathering where I could teach the method and talk about the project. In this photo, I am demonstrating the project to Guler in her wonderful shop. Her daughter is standing.
I do have a hope that I might find someone who would like to coordinate a Turkish reef, but short of that, the opportunity to introduce the environmental ideas and images of our work, the way of using discarded plastic all are fantastic opportunities in and of themselves!
Yesterday, a group of women, mostly from one family in the village along with three of their boys were curious about the project. Here I am showing them and having a lot of fun trying to
compensate for having almost no language in common (other that needlework and our humanity)....but how much more is there, really?????! Extra big smile for me