Community. Engagement. Advocacy. Humor.
It is thrilling to be involved in a project like this where lives are being significantly improved through craft. We hope that you see the value and potential of this project like we do!
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There has been a pause in our blogging on the Women’s Cooperative but we are happy to report that the women in Mardin are doing well: They are currently preparing work for the big sale in Istanbul coming up in the next month that we wrote about earlier. We are happy with the progress this project has made over the course of the last year, thrilled to have met the women’s cooperative and grateful for having been able to share this unique experience with you all. We believe that there is tremendous potential in combining traditional Turkish handcrafts with contemporary design approaches and we sincerely hope that our cooperation has helped the Mardin community a little on their way to becoming more successful in selling their craft work. We have learned a great deal from the experience.The women in Mardin are now moving…Continue
As you may remember, we talked about women's life in Mardin before and did some interviews with ÇATOM teachers. Here is the rest of the interview we did with them:MÜJDE KAYA (The crochet teacher):1. How did you become involved in the ÇATOM?I went to ÇATOM for five years as a student. Then, I was excited about the idea of teaching the crafts I know to other people. So, I decided to work here as a teacher. I am teaching crocheting.2. How would you describe life for women in Ömerli?Social life in this town is very limited. There is not much to do, so women spend their time at home raising kids and doing house works. They don’t do much for themselves.3. What is your educational background?I graduated from high school.4. What are your goals (for work with ÇATOM, yourself, etc.)?I want to continue working in ÇATOM in a bigger…Continue
As we all know, James created a material called “Thurmanite”, layered paper and resin, and recently got a trademark for it. It is possible to create wonderful jewelry with it because it is light, colorful, and playful. Working with Thurmanite is easy and fun. It can be cut with jeweler’s saw blade, can be shaped with files, and can even sanded and polished. Now, James is incorporating new designs with Thurmanite for ÇATOM. I translated the current Thurmanite information card into Turkish so we can enclose it with any pieces that include Thurmanite sold in Turkey. ÇATOM made great necklaces and bracelets using Thurmanite and everyone love them.…Continue
Happy Holidays from Istanbul! This past weekend, Umut and I hosted a very successful two day Studio Sale at our apartment/studio. Not only did many friends and family come to do a little holiday shopping, we met several new people that are either from Mardin (the town where the ÇATOM is) or are working on other projects there. We hope that new aspects related to our work with the ÇATOM will evolve from these connections.In addition to selling the work from the ÇATOM at the Studio Sale, we have sent many pieces to a shop in Istanbul that has been a long time supporter. We have also been researching the best online sales venues for their work. Although Etsy policies prohibit us selling the ÇATOM’s work on their behalf (since we aren’t directly involved in the making of the work), we could sell work that…Continue
Merhaba from Turkey! Over the winter break, I will be here in Istanbul with Umut. As always, we have a lot that we want to do while we are together for next few weeks. For this Blog, we will focus on news related to our work with the ÇATOM. On Sunday, 16 December, while I was teaching the second day of my workshop at The Glass Furnace, http://www.camocagi.org/en/, the school was also hosting a Open House that included a holiday sale. Umut staffed our table where we were selling our own artworks as well as the work the ÇATOM. It was a great opportunity to share this project with many more people.In addition to the sale at The Glass Furnace, Umut and I will be hosting a Studio Sale at our Istanbul apartment this coming weekend. We will have many of the…Continue
This week, we wanted to continue investigate the women's life in Mardin. So, James and I prepared some questions and asked to the ÇATOM teachers. Every week, we will talk about one teacher's responds, here is Hülya Akgül, who is the coordinator and teacher of Ömerli - ÇATOM:1. How did you become involved in the ÇATOM?Working with ÇATOM was my dream because it had a very nice atmosphere; looks like home and cozy, so I thought working in a place like that would fit me well. I chose Ömerli because I wanted to help women in my own town. Now, I coordinate Ömerli-ÇATOM and help women become stronger and independent.2. How would you describe life for women in Ömerli?In Ömerli, women always stay at home because there are no places to get socialize. Also, there are no jobs for women to work. So life in Ömerli is difficult for women. ÇATOM is a great place for women because they both socialize and make money thru their hand crafts.3. What is your educational background?I graduated from Anadolu…Continue