Day 7

June 30, 2003
Just past 11:00

This morning we went to Hatice’s for breakfast and read email from Barbara with some questions for Crazy Ali. She’s very interested in the building. The weavers were also ready to warp the loom today, we needed to go to Urgup, and Hatice wanted us to see the beautiful pension where her friend Betice works.

So after a perfect rooftop breakfast, the day was consumed with little bits of things: house museum questions and logistics, interspersed with long sessions of video recording as the weavers wound and tied the warp for the big loom.

The pension where Betice works is beautifully renovated. I was reminded of the pousadas in Portugal - antiques with comfort, artifacts to live with. The courtyard was full of blooming plants, and I took many pictures of the jar-and-blossom variety. I also grabbed as many textile details as I could; the antique kilims and hangings were just too tempting.

Then to Barbara’s to watch and tape the first stage of the warping. The warp is wound on two pipes which stick up from the ground. One weaver sits behind each pipe, knotting a thread around each successive warp loop, while a walker paces back and forth, looping the continuous warp around and around and around, down to one end, bend and cast the loop, back to the other end, bend and cast the loop. I should count the fringe on one of the bigger kilims to see how many loops, but I’m sleepy and fading fast.

That stage of the warping documented, we met with Ali, and then Jen and Ellen went to measure rooms and make a more detailed sketch map for Barbara, while I went with Hatice to her house and wrote a very long email to Barbara with answers to her questions. Ali said he’d come by Barbara’s house in the late evening, after he’d spoken with the house’s owner in Germany.

We also rode the bus to Urgup again, this time with 27 people aboard. (Bear in mind that the minibus is built to seat 14 or 15, and that it was a hot day…) I don’t know if I can count it as a record, though, because six of the riders were under the age of nine and on laps and in arms. Last time it was all adults, and both Sultan and Jen sat on laps.

Ellen and Jen changed money in Urgup, Hatice asked some questions at the bank about commissions on large transfers of funds, and Ellen bought herself a doll with a spindle, and then we went back to Ortahisar for more video of the loom warping process. The weavers transferred the loops to two long pipes, bound one of the pipes to a beam, and then rolled the beam so that the warp wound onto it smoothly. The beam was carried into the weavers’ room, and lifted into place at the top of the frame. Enough warp was unrolled so that the lower pipe could be notched into place at the bottom of the frame, where it was lashed to a lower beam, and then everything was tightened with the s-shaped loom wrench. Then a narrow broomstick-like pole was slid between alternating strands, and a long thread wound in and out to tie off… the front threads? the back? I have to look at the video again to see which it was, but at any rate, they created a shed, and then replaced the narrow pole with a fatter beam, so the alternate threads would be easier to pick up. Hatice and Lutfiye and Hatice’s daughter-in-law and a granddaughter were all there today. In a lull in my taping, toward the end, the two weavers asked me something. “What are they saying,” I asked Sultan. “They want you to sing them a song.” “Oh… um… What song would they like?” “The bride’s song.” I was relieved, and said I had to study the videotape, but that next time when I came to Ortahisar I would know how to sing it for them.

After a rest and some dinner at the park restaurant, we went to Hatice’s house again. She and I worked on video, and more orientation to the Mac operating system, and we reviewed how to burn either video or picture files to a CD. I wish we’d had more time, but she is really a fast learner, so I’m confident that if she gets stuck she’ll be able to troubleshoot or I’ll be able to help her via email. The electricity kept cutting out, so we weren’t able to put another video online - but she was able to capture footage and begin a new series.

Back to Barbara’s house to pack. The electricity continued to go off at intervals. My USB bendable light for my laptop is amazingly bright. When the room plunged into darkness with Ellen and Jen half packed, my little light made it possible to see things from across the room.

Ali came by at 10:30. Still hadn’t spoken with the owner in Germany - couldn’t get through. Meanwhile this evening he’d heard some things which gave him pause. People have been telling him that the foundation isn’t strong. He feels he should get a structural engineer in there to look at the place. He knows some builders with a lot of experience with these houses, and he’s going to have one of them look at it. He’ll let the owner in Germany know that he’s going to do this, and the result. Ali said he would feel responsible for Barbara’s purchase, and didn’t want to advise her to buy a place that wasn’t sound. I figure that if the house is sound this buys some time, and if it isn’t, well, better not to find that out after buying it.

I’ll email this news to Barbara in the morning, before we leave.

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