Alison had suggested to Eljay that we have a show of our work at the Tuesday Gokcebel Market; that wasn’t a go but the man who runs the village store and tea house agreed to let us have an exhibition under the pergola in the teahouse, located just outside the store at the top of the village a few steps from the Stone House. Everyone was pretty excited about it and Eljay went around the neighbourhood drumming up an audience for us.
At the appointed time, 11 am on Saturday morning, we grabbed our oil, acrylic, and water colour paintings, collages, and drawings, as well as easels and boards to display them on, and headed up the road in an art convoy. We arranged the easels and boards around the periphery of the space and sat down with a cup of cay to wait for the art-loving hoards we were sure were just about to descend on us.
Our first visitors were an archeologist and his wife who were very pleased that we were bringing culture to the small village; he and Eljay arranged to meet later on to discuss collaboration possibilities.
Everyone was very enthusiastic but the most engaged visitors were a group of young boys who spent quite a long time looking intently at everything and pointing out details of the paintings to one another. They were especially interested in the things they recognised – views of the mosque, mostly – and the Ebru paper marbling.
One young boy was very taken with Su’s Ebru work and she kindly gave him a small piece.
Lidia and I gave the store proprietor our oil paintings as a thank you for letting us show in his space. He seemed pleased and told Eljay that he was going to put them up on his wall.
For our last afternoon and evening together, Eljay had arranged for us to go to a carpet village in the hills not too far from Hikmet’s place so we all piled into a dolmus hired by the carpet man after taking the show down. Our driver, an experienced dolmus dude, drove very quickly down the highway, too quickly for my liking (but then I am a bit paranoid), particulariy considering that as we went along a storm gathered and it started to rain buckets.Our man zoomed through huge puddles, throwing up gallons of water from the wheels as he sped along. Needless to say we made good time to the village, arriving in one piece as the rain subsided.
We were met at the end of the line by Hyati, the village mayor, carpet purveyor, and money man, a very lively gentleman who showed us around the town. First we had a look at the wares for sale in the local store, all a bit dusty, then he took us up onto the roof to appreciate the view out over the valley. After Hikmet accidentally hosed him down with water he explained that next year, this rooftop area will be a restaurant and bar where he intends to hold dancing contests for women – he invited us all to come back and give it a whirl.
This village seemed much wealthier than Hikmet’s; each home had a tractor and several farm animals, either in a separate out building or in the basement of the main house. There were also quite a few abandoned old stone houses, some very old, in amongst the newer ones.
This cocky fellow walked busily back and forth crowing as we inspected his pen.
Hyati explained how the villagers dyed the carpet wool with various vegetables, each giving the wool its characteristic colour.
We had a look inside one of the village houses where a young teenage girl was more interested in the game show on TV than in the visitors to her home. I wondered how many people Hyati had brought trudging through this house over the years.
We passed the teahouse full of men all staring at us and entered the mosque after donning head scarves; inside Hyati explained how the mosque functioned and gave both Su and I the Imam’s gear to wear.
I thought it was a pretty good look, especially the fancy hat.
When our village walkabout was complete, we walked to Hyati’s home and sat ourselves down in the large chill out area where his wife had prepared dinner for us. She looked none too thrilled to be hosting this group and Lidia inquired as to whether we could invite her to join us. However, that was a definite no go.
When our dinner was concluded, we were ushered into the carpet showroom and the dance began. While Hyati described each carpet, his helpers, including Osman, the carpet co-op director, and our bus driver, brought out the merchandise one piece by one piece.
As the carpet pile got bigger, and the booze was flowing, our group got more and more excited. Su broke the ice with the first buy and then it was off to the races.
Carpets were flying and a buying frenzy ensued, with almost all of our group emerging with a treasured purchase. Liz was hesitating, wondering about the size, and the men tried to encourage her by wrapping her up in the prospective carpet but unfortunately it ended up being too big for her space. Great fun was had by all!