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The Art of Weaving: A Time-Honored World Treasure - P1/2    
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Greetings, friendly viewers, and welcome to A Journey through Aesthetics Realms on Supreme Master Television. Today, in the first of our two-part series on the art of weaving, we will visit several countries to learn more about their wonderful cloth making traditions.

Whether it is creating cotton fabric or bamboo baskets, the art of weaving is an ancient practice of interlacing one-dimensional threads into two-dimensional objects. The oldest woven artifacts have been dated back to around 5000 BCE, and were excavated from archeological sites in Egypt, Switzerland, and Peru. In fact, cloth-making techniques and tools existed in many early civilizations around the globe.

Weaving is not only carried out to produce clothing and household items, but also practiced in many cultures as a way to record mythical tales and historical events. In addition, it has been widely employed as a form of craft that expresses the aesthetic values of the weavers through their choices of colors, patterns, motifs, and designs.

Although the modern textile industry has been transformed with the invention of highly automated machinery and synthetic threads, handmade products with natural materials are still preferred by many. Let’s now go to the Golden Hands Festival in Istanbul, Turkey to find out about their traditional cloth weaving.

Hallo. Welcome. We are coming from Moda Yeşiyurt. We participated in the Golden Hands Festival in İstanbul. We are very happy to present our work here. Right now, on our handloom is the weaving we have been making; it is natural, 100% cotton, 100% handmade, from beginning to end. Right now, there are so many synthetic products in the market, and the things that are retro and cotton are in demand.

Whether it is the popular scarves or decorative house items, the motifs and colors of Turkish woven textiles carry profound cultural meanings.

Tulip is an example which dates back to the Ottoman Empire. It is an example which is used as a motif. In particular, I like this color, red, the color of our Turkish flag. This is the rose pattern that represents love. Because we are Muslims, in our religion, rose is the kind of flower that our Prophet loves most. On our fabric, we work on the signatures of the sultans.

This is the signature of Mahmut II. It is used as a seal, and it is very popular. And also, everything that is natural gives human beings much calmer, much nicer feelings. We like to work with pastel colors, to gain people’s admiration. It is necessary to reach the souls. It is necessary to understand people’s feelings.

Weaving techniques can be adjusted to satisfy a variety of needs and create more comfortable clothing.

When you weave the fabric densely, then the fabric becomes coarser. In order to give it a softer and silky look, we weave more sparsely. In any case, after it is washed, it becomes more vibrant and denser.

We are from the Aegean Region. We are from Muğla. Our yarns are first quality Aegean cotton. When we are wearing this, we feel very light, very comfortable, because this is completely pure cotton. There is no other ingredient in it. I mean it makes you feel fresh. It also lets the wind through; you know the fabric is not dense.

The creation of comfortable clothing involves weaving on the loom. Despite slight regional differences, the method of fabric production is similar across cultures. Please follow our camera to the HASDER Folk Arts Institute, a non-profit organization in Cyprus, to find out more.

Hallo and welcome! My name is Yıldız Acaröz. I have been working at HASDER since 2002. Here, we are doing weaving works. We have students, we are giving courses. Our goal is to revive the past, to promote and cherish the old products in Cyprus. The tool you see here is our weaving loom. We are wrapping the threads we use on the loom, winding it around a spinning wheel.

Let me show our spinning wheel, it is in the back. We wrap the bobbins around it. We assemble them on our shuttle and weave them here. On this bench, we can do, for example, chest covers, trestle covers, curtains, and various products. On the other bench, we produce products in the weaving style we call “peşkir.” They are thinner.

We are warping the main threads. The hardest part is preparing this warp and assembling it on the benches. This consumes a lot of time and effort. After that comes the easiest part: weaving. Here, depending on which hand we have the shuttle in, we press with the foot on the opposite side. On our other stand, the shuttle and the foot work in the same way.

The stand where Karpaz weaving is produced works differently. Hands and feet work reversely. Here we hold the shuttle with the right hand and press with the left foot. Here we can create different motifs by inserting stripes in the pattern. First of all, we start weaving on our shuttle loom, then switch our foot below.

Also, we call the mechanism here “comb;” we press our comb. With the help of this comb, we press our yarns. Again, the same way. We switch our foot. We beat our comb. Just like this. We can make it in any size we want. We cannot do its width sixe 5 but we can do its length as much as we want. It depends on the product you want to make.

Weaving brings a great sense of fulfillment to those engaged in the craft. We are both producing things and continue to give our courses. It is very enjoyable. I used to hear from my mother that my grandmother was doing such things in the past but I had never seen. I love what I do.

For many cultures, weaving is a family tradition that is passed from mother to daughter. The link to future generations creates an invisible tie that connects people with their heritage. Let’s now have a welcome glimpse into Tais, an ethnic fabric of East Timor.

The Tais is part of the cultural heritage for East Timor because it used to be worn as a cloth, back in our ancestor's times. The Tais is worn at births, deaths, marriages, and for various traditional ceremonies, according to each district's customs. It varies from one district to another, slightly. Schools nowadays, there are machines, manually, but to me personally, nothing can replace the back strap, our tradition.

Traditional Tais weaving is a long process initially involving preparing and coloring the thread with vegetable dyes.

With the commercial thread, you know the color you want and then you pick the color you want. Whereas with this, it is a long process. They have to pick the cotton, they have to dry it, they have to protect the seeds, clean it and beat it up to fluff it and then spin it, then put it into color. I value the cotton one more.

Because of the process and because of the motifs that the women keep using. I was lucky enough that I grew up close to my grandmother and my mother. That’s how I learned a little bit about dyes because in my days, there was nothing documented. If you have somebody in your family that weaves, then you grow up knowing about dyes, but if you don’t, then you grow up without knowing anything about dyes.

During the years that I lived overseas, I was lucky my sister stayed here. So she used to send us Tais, and my two sons grew up knowing a little bit about Tais because I was able to show them the pieces that I had. And as they grew a bit older, I made shirts, which they wear proudly, of Tais.

Once a year, we still have a cultural party like every other nationality. So Tais has been something very important in my family life as well. We always love it, and of course my eldest son as an artist, because the father is from Oecusse, of course he has always been interested in Oecusse patterns because of the variety.

Ms. Napoleao encourages the traditional weaving industry to return to its time-honored roots.

I'd like to see every weaver growing their own cotton. That's the work that our economic development program is doing. My colleagues are doing that. Talking to the weavers in the districts, in some district encourage them to grow their own cotton using the natural dyes, to bring back what we almost lost. Document it for the future generation, because otherwise we lose our cultural heritage. And this is part of it, it is important because your culture is your roots, you know where you came from, what you are.

We thank Ms. Ayşen Karancan, Ms. Zeynep Karancan, Ms. Yilda Acaröz, and Ms. Ofelia Nevez Napoleao for generously sharing your fascinating knowledge. The traditional weaving of various cultures is a precious asset our ancestors have gifted to us. It records their way of life and carries their love of beauty. May this exquisite art form continue to flourish, enriching a peaceful world for eons to come.

Gracious viewers, thank you for joining us today on A Journey through Aesthetic Realms on Supreme Master Television. Please tune in tomorrow for part 2 of our 2-part program on the timeless weaving traditions. Coming up next is

Vegetarianism: The Noble Way of Living, after Noteworthy News. May you be evermore blessed with inner tranquility and joy.
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