Art of felt master aims to open his art to world
İZMİR - Agance France-Presse
In his atelier at the Tire Artisans’ Bazaar, Arif Cön produces a lot of different items, and especially works on combining felt with leather, silk and copper. AA photosA master of felt, Arif Cön, who designs various products from scarves to door mats, from bags to slippers, believes that felt will play a leading role in the world of fashion in the near future.
The profession of felt, which has almost died in Anatolia, is being revived thanks to the initiative of young generation masters who are taking over the job from their fathers. One of these people, Cön, 40, who works in İzmir’s Tire district, is modernizing felt by using his handicraft skill. He produces various products made of felt and is hopeful about the future of the art.
Cön has felt atelier at the Tire Artisans’ Bazaar, but he says that the felt job has lost its popularity as textile materials and machine-made rugs have become widespread. He and the other young generation masters are trying to turn this tide.
He produces a lot of different items, and especially works on combining felt with leather, silk and copper. “I’ve even merged felt with the art of marbling - which is one of the traditional Turkish arts - and painted clothes, as well as tulle, lace and Tokat yazma [a Turkish traditional scarf],” Cön said.
“With these techniques we produce rugs, diwans, silk felt scarves, door mats, waistcoats, Ottoman caftans, slippers, bags, jewelries and accessories. We continue developing these products. None of my products is for display on the wall but for use in life.”
Difficult to find apprentices
Cön said that although felt had significant value in a traditional handicrafts, their biggest problem was in finding apprentices to learn the art. “Felt art receives interest only from academics, not from those who want to work on it as a profession,” he said.
“Under the leadership of academics, who came to Turkey and took training from me, felt profession schools have been opened in Ireland and England. Nobody should be surprised in the near future if they see the tags of expensive brands on coats and bags made of felt. Felt products will be imported to the world. Thankfully, those who passed by here will know the homeland of felt. Felt is on the way to becoming a leader in world fashion, so Turkey should have a say in it.”