Interdisciplinary. Community. Advocacy. Humor.
This past week Umut just received a few samples of the new designs that we created with the women of the Ömerli ÇATOM. For these initial designs, we focused on how to best make use of their experience and talent with fiber-based techniques. We also wanted to try to make their work appeal to a larger contemporary global audience but keep their own voice at the same time.
One unique element that will be included in many of the new designs is Şahmaran, a mythic figure from folklore stories of the region. Şahmaran is a symbol of good luck and protection who is often depicted as a half woman/half serpent wearing a lot of jewelry. Stories about her focus on her wisdom and compassion.
We thought that Şahmaran was a perfect symbol for the Ömerli ÇATOM and have begun to explore different ways to incorporate her into their work. Our first approach was to translate the popular folk art paintings into a small charm. A former student of mine, Heather McGuire, who is an amazing wax worker, made the first original in wax. We then worked with another UNT Metalsmithing alumna, Kristin Freeman, to make molds of the original and cast multiples in pewter to use as charms in other pieces. These necklaces are the first two designs in the new Şahmaran line.
Umut will be returning to Mardin on October 22 to discuss the progress on new designs. She will also be bringing them more materials to work with. So far, we are very happy with the progress, especially how quickly they can produce entirely new designs. Umut is hoping to return from Mardin with an inventory of their newest work, both to share here on crafthaus and to sell at our upcoming studio sale in Istanbul.