Women produce famous Devrek walking sticks
ZONGULDAK - Anatolia News Agency
Devrek’s first female walking stick maker Mürvet Okur has been doing this business for some 30 years in the famous Baston Bazaar. She says that she is proud the number of female masters is increasing everyday. AA photoThe number of female walking stick masters increases every day in the Baston Bazaar in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak’s Devrek district, which is well-known for its walking sticks.
Devrek walking sticks, the production of which began in 1892 at the time of the Ottoman reign as a craft product and still survives thanks to lots of skillful masters, turn into a work of art in the hands of female masters.
Devrek’s famous walking sticks are made of cranberry and walnut tree and colored with nitric acid.
Many women attend walking stick courses opened in collaboration with the district governor’s office and the Public Education Center Directorate and become masters of this art.
Female masters file cranberry sticks and clean them with emery. They create designs that feature things like snakes and plants, showcasing all their all skills.
Devrek’s first walking stick master, Mürvet Okur, 61, said she had decided to work after she divorced her husband. She began working as an apprentice with the walking stick master Münteka Çelebi and his son when she was 35. She said she opened her own store in 1989 with the support of the district governor’s office.
‘Odd in the past’
“We produced and sold walking sticks with my children. When I first started doing this business, some people found the idea of a female walking stick master to be odd, but I raised my two children thanks to this business. Women’s hand skills are not worse than men’s. The art reflected in walking sticks are the dreams of people. Masters know which figures are suitable for a type of wood. I have so far produced hundreds of walking sticks. I have also worked on the walking sticks that were sent to state presidents in the past years. One of the walking sticks that I produced was gifted to Turkey’s seventh president of Turkey, Kenan Evren.”
She said she was proud the number of female walking masters increased in the Baston Bazaar. “There are also women who help their husbands in the bazaar. People used to be surprised when they saw women in the past, but as our number increased they got used to it.”
Devrek’s first female walking stick teacher Ayşegül Yurttadur holds courses on how to make walking sticks. She said women tried hard to learn their family business of walking stick production in recent years.
“I have taught making walking sticks to some 50 women in these courses. But most of them could not have used it as a business. Now there are five women actively producing walking sticks. Because generally walking stick makers teach this business to their close relatives and they work together,” Yurttadur said.
She said she had worked for the Public Education Center for nearly five years where she taught men and women. “I also sell the walking sticks I produce in the store that I opened six months ago,” she said.