Copper once used in kitchens, now as decor
KAHRAMANMARAŞ - Anatolia News Agency
Coppersmiths from the southern province of Kahramanmaraş are working to keep the age-old art of making copper products alive.
Once found in everyday household items like tea kettles, trays, coffee pots and frames, copper can now be found in other materials today, such as souvenirs and décor. With traces of the past, copper objects are still produced for customers who appreciate the older look.
Mustafa Tepebaşı has been a coppersmith for 36 years, working in a 50-square-meter space at the historical grand bazaar in Kahramanmaraş’s city center. He sells his copper works as souvenirs, mostly to tourists, in an effort to keep this business alive; he defines his copper objects as “pieces of art.”
Mustafa Tepebaşı produces and sells
copper objects in his small shop in the
Grand Bazaar. AA photo
Tepebaşı said he had been in the coppersmith business since he was a child, having served as the official master coppersmith of the Culture and Tourism Ministry. “[Eventually] this business lost its relevance. Once upon a time, it was one of the most important industries but people are no longer interested in it,” he said.
What was once an industry that produced everyday household items especially in kitchens, Tepebaşı said, is now more geared toward making decorative objects. He said he would continue his trade against all odds. “The copper business appears to be dying although it was very popular in the past.”
He said part of the change in the nature of the business is that some of the most necessary kitchen tools from the past are now simply accessories. “Previous generations used many of these objects but, thanks to technology, a lot of these tools have become obsolete. That along with the change in the way people live and cook has made the copper business less important. It is very hard to prevent it. Time is changing and we have to keep up with it and find a way to make money doing what we do. At least the copper business still exists and we can still produce copper objects as decorative products.”
He said the most popular copper products he made were kettles, much like the ones used in sultans’ palaces. “I make a mid-sized kettle in one week and sell it for 300 Turkish Liras.”
Tepebaşı said being a coppersmith required a great deal of craftsmanship and mastery of the art.
He said he had more than 90 copper products for sale in his shop but added that only copper platters were being used in restaurants.