“How can a machine substitute the hands and skills of a woman? Half a century ago, many young women in Antep and Maras would do the embroidery on silk, pull threads from fabric, one by one, and then weave the motifs — again with silk thread.Handwork is something else,” said Baran, whose boutique in the Mediterranean resort town of Bodrum offers luxury clothing made of embroidery and lacework dug out from old chests.
In the 18th century, men’s waistcoats, gun covers and belts were also embellished with this type of embroidery.
In the Cukurova (Cilicia) region, wealthy men used to have it on their riding outfits, while those in Maras, Antep and Kilis wore it on their fezzes.
I know she spent fortunes to have master artisans embroider her cloths.
I occasionally accompanied her on visits to the homes of women who practiced the craft, and there I realized they used a great variety of tools, well beyond needles and threads.
My late mother, Ulviye, who came from the deep-rooted Aytemiz family in Maras, used to tell me how women embroidered velvet with gold threads in the years she was a student at the local girls’ vocational institute.
She had also learned the technique and embroidered a small tablecloth for her trousseau.
They used also cement paper and cardboard as well as tools such as spinning wheels and hammers.
The threads on the top side were not supposed to be seen from the bottom and vice versa,” Basaran told Al-Monitor.
I remember using my sirma pillow and a dress with a sirma collar until they frayed out.” An equally distinctive and aesthetic craft is the “Antep work” embroidery, which falls into the so-called white needlework category and bears the name of the city of Antep, which is now officially called Gaziantep.