YALOVA – Anadolu Agency
The İbrahim Müteferrika Paper Museum, which was opened in 2013 in the northwestern Turkish province of Yalova, has received 252,000 visitors over the course of three years. Thanks to the museum and its atelier, various pieces of Ottoman paperwork has begun to be revived.
The papers produced in the museum and atelier particularly stir the interest of calligraphers, illuminators and marbling artists. The goal is to spread the use of local papers when producing artworks in Turkey.
Art historian Aytekin Vural, an official at the museum, said he had worked as a volunteer consultant for the development of the paper business and the establishment of many other ateliers.
“Our goal is the creation of Turkish Islamic art with papers produced with Kahramanmaraş cotton and Sinop linen rather than Indian, Chinese or Japanese papers,” Vural said.
“The museum has fallen short in meeting this goal so far. We need new people dealing with paper production. It is our biggest goal to produce Ottoman-style paper again with local materials. We want to make Yalova the center of traditional paper production just like it was 300 years ago. We have worked with very important people and reached this goal. We claim that we are producing hand-made papers that are of higher value than the ones produced abroad,” he added.
Watermarked papers in the museum draw particular interest from foreign visitors as the technique was only used in the Ottoman Empire, Vural stated.
Visitors to the museum have the chance to produce their own paper for free.
“As the museum completes its third year, 252,000 people have been recorded visiting so far. Including unrecorded visitors, we have a visitor number of 300,000 in three years. We worked on specific projects in 2016, not on visitors. So 52,000 people visited the museum last year and we believe we will see more people this year. But quality is more important than visitor numbers. People dealing with fine arts come here. We have visitors from Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Bursa as well as from Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Very important paper historians and artists have come from Britain and the U.S.,” Vural said.
Reservation for atelier
Vural said people come to learn how to make paper in the museum’s atelier but they need to make reservations for this.
“Sometimes we make reservation for future dates. For example, we get reservations for April from Turkey and abroad. Those who see the production process at first get excited. They think we produce paper with recycling method. They can see here how a plant turns into paper with all processes. It is very hard to produce paper and they can see it here. This creates environmental awareness for children,” he added.
The museum in Yalova can be visited every day of the week apart from Mondays.