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Natural stone blossoms with marbling art

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency | 1/24/2010 12:00:00 AM |

Saadet Erciyas, a female entrepreneur from İzmir, and her team are creating decorative products by using the marbling art on Turkish natural stone. As part of the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture events, she is preparing to display her products and sell them in museum stores. Her next goal is to market them around the world

A female entrepreneur from İzmir is the first to turn the marbling art, which is very important in traditional Turkish handicrafts, into a decorative product by applying it into Turkish natural stone and marble.

As part of the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture events, artisan Saadet Erciyas is preparing to display her products and sell them in museum stores. Her next goal is to market them around the world.

The idea is to “make natural stone dance with marbling,” Erciyas, the project manager for Aesthetic Marble, told the Anatolia news agency.

“Our marble and natural stone is an underground richness that draws much attention in the world. We have 40 percent of the world reserves,” she said. “In fairs I have visited abroad, I have seen artifacts made of natural stone. ‘Made in Italy’ was written on these products. I thought we could sell our own natural stone with a ‘Made in Turkey’ label.”

The Aesthetic Marble project developed out of this idea as a way to add value to Turkey’s marble and natural stone. Erciyas applies the art of marbling to these materials to turn them into decorative, or cultural objects.

“There is women’s labor in every stage of our work. This is an innovative product that creates value [with] women’s labor,” she said. “We make it in the traditional handicraft format using earth dye. The art of marbling has been applied to paper, cloth and felt for years. I am sure stone has been tried, too, but what we do is a first as a cultural product.”

According to Erciyas, the natural stones on which they work include travertine from the Aegean city of Denizli, marble from Afyon in western Turkey and limestone from the Mediterranean city of Antalya. “We bring stone together with marbling art and make decorative products for the house. We create frames, paintings, coat hangers and plaques,” she said. “We apply flower designs, which are traditional designs in marbling art, such as tulips, daisies, violets and roses to the stone. We also pay attention so that the colors do not hide the texture of the natural stone.”

[HH] One-of-a-kind works by women

Aesthetic Marble is working with five female marbling artists, Erciyas said. “Each product we produce is the only one. This is unique to marbling art,” she added. “You can get only one product from the marble tray at one time. No product is the same as another – you can find a similar one, but not the same. The fact that the products are unique makes you enjoy them more.”

The entrepreneur said she and her team have received orders from boutique hotels, stone houses and the construction sector during the fairs they have participated in. “We are working on them,” she said. “Our products will be used as decoration on walls of mosques, caravanserai or boutique hotels.”

Products produced under Erciyas’ leadership have been registered by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism as fine-arts products and have received permission to be sold in the ministry’s Revolving Capital Administration, or DÖSİM, stores. The Aesthetic Marble team has also begun working with institutes such as the İzmir Commodity Exchange, the Aegean Region Trade Chamber and the Konak Municipality.

“We prepare paintings and plaques for them,” Erciyas said. “They choose our works especially for their foreign guests.”

Support the project has received from the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges, or TOBB, and the Women Entrepreneurs Committee has allowed Erciyas and her team to participate in the International Marble Fair and the Travel Turkey Fair. These events paved the way for them, Erciyas said, advising other female entrepreneurs to also benefit from TOBB’s support.

[HH] First, Istanbul museums; next, the world

The Aesthetic Marble team is preparing to display and sell its products in museum stores as part of the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture activities. “We had talks with the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, the Sakıp Sabancı Museum and the Pera Museum,” Erciyas said. “We will sell our products in their stores.”

Next, the entrepreneur added, they hope to market their products to the world: “Higher added-value can be provided by labeling each stone with the phrase ‘Made in Turkey.’ Otherwise, our stones are imported in block groups and return to us after being processed with the label of various countries.”

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