Turkish copper: dying art decorates the world
ŞANLIURFA – Anatolia News Agency
Coppersmiths in Şanlıurfa produce objects to be used as accessories. Their prices range from 5 to 500 liras according to size and quality. AA photoDecorative wares created by coppersmiths in the eastern province of Şanlıurfa are drawing great interest not only in Turkey but overseas as well, however, artisans are finding it difficult to find apprentices for the trade.
The copper objects, which once upon a time were among the basic needs of a house, are not frequently used as kitchen tools but evaluated today mostly as accessories in homes and businesses.
As demand for copper kitchen tools decreased in recent years, most coppersmiths in Şanlıurfa began producing objects to be used as accessories. Ranging anywhere from 5 to 500 Turkish Liras in price according to size and quality, they’ve been a great attraction for visitors of the city.
The family of one of the coppersmiths in the city, Müslüm Çalışır, said that their family has been in the business for four generations using copper to produce kitchen tools in the past. According to Çalışır, they began producing accessories after demand for kitchen wares decreased.
“As well as Turkey, we also send these products to foreign countries. Among them are wall clocks, trays and coffee cup sets. Recently, a customer from Diyarbakır asked us to [replicate the image] of U.S. President Barack Obama on copper. We made it here and sent it to Diyarbakır and then the copper object went to the U.S. We can do everything as long as we receive demand. We sell lots of products to Turkish and foreign tourists visiting Şanlıurfa,” Çalışır said.
İbrahim Aslan, another coppersmith in the city who has been in the business for eight years, said tourists mostly visit the city’s Hüsniye Bazaar, where many coppersmiths sell their products, echoing Çalışır’s statements on foreign requests.
“We also receive demand from abroad. Some people want the image of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on copper and some want Obama. We have been selling products to the U.S., Germany and even China,” he said.
Coppersmiths and Whitesmiths Chamber Chairman Mehmt Demirözü said he has been working with copper for 50 years and that the organization wants to organize classes in collaboration with the Governor’s Office to train apprentices. However, applications were insufficient and they have been unable to open classes.
“Universities should fill this gap,” he said.