Handicrafts and Souvenirs
As well as traditonal Turkish handicrafts, which are part of Kütahya culture, there are also regional handicrafts. Kütahya is one of the most important centres of ceramic art in and in the world. Also is one of the few places where wooden spoon carving is still celebrated. Diamond embroidery and wickerwork still continue in Simav. Carpet and rug weaving, copper-smithing and wrought-iron forging are still among the handicrafts of the region. However they are not as widely practiced as in former times.
Tile Art, the symbol of Kütahya that became world renowned. As well as its artistic worth the industry pays the wages of local populace. The art of ceramics traces its origins to the Neolithic period and has taken influence from many cultures. Today it is one of the region’sbiggest exports and has a wide variety of colour and designs. It is still produced in about 500 workhops. Previously kneaded white clay from days before is the start of ceramic tile production before being formed into ‘biscuit’ shapes on the work counter. After being shaped on the wheel, in templates, moulds and presses, the biscuits are fired in the kiln. They are decorated with charcoal and rendered as vases, plates, bibelots and wall tiles. After being painted, they are fired again in the kiln before they reach us.
The heart feels, the mind thinks, the eye sees
And the hand does
The result: handicraft.
Thus our great Kütahya atisans
Create value in their ceramic works
And the work lives forever
Finds life in the hands of a man, is kneaded
Put on the wheel, and gains a shape.
The first porcelain factory in Kütahya was opened in 1974.Centurşes of skill are brought to life in the display.Today these porcelain works are sent to every part of and exported to many countries.
Carpet weaving is still an important form of income for villagers,produced manually on looms in local homes.The carpets of Simav,which are also known as Palace Carpets,were produced in the most illustrious period of Ottomans,and are mainly decorated with leaf cotton.Their surface and edges are decorated with motifs such as curled leaves,rosettes,grenadines,hyacinths and carnations Because the carpets of Simav are naturally-dyed,they are termed’’natural carpet with dye’’.Today hand-weaving is mainly done in Gediz and Şaphane.Here only fabric is produced.Nomad carpets,a local specialty,are weaved in Bayramşah Village in Aslanapa.
As it is one of the older handicrafts,embriodery gives a glimpse of the skills and tastes of local women.Nowadays we can find good examples of napkins,belts,scarf edges;money,tobacco and watch purses in the Kütahya Museum.
Embriodery has various names according to the tools and technique employed.Embriodery in Kütahya is a skill employed as needlework on the borders of scarves.
Diamond and Silver Embriodery
Another local handicraft is diamond embriodery.It has several sub-branches such as calibre work,enamel and polish work.In the Ottoman Period,the Small Market was the centre of dimaond embriodery.In Kütahya silver has been mined and treated for a very long time.For that reason,silver embriodery is a handicraft that has developed over time.
The skill that produced the Kütahya tiles that decorate mosques,churces,mansions,fountains and palaces all oevr the world,became a style in its own right with a particular palette,perspective and design which we also find in the arts on canvas.Thus Kütahya is a city rich in artists.Some that come immediately to mind are Ahmet Yakupoğlu,a miniaturist,painter and flute player who graduated from the Feyhaman Duran Workshop;and painters,Hüseyin Yüce,Abdullah Taktak amongst others.