My Travel Loot #3 | Visiting A Women’s Co-op Near Izmir, Turkey

Happy new year!  It’s been a little while since I’ve posted.  I thought I’d start the new year off right by getting a post out.  This time we visit a women’s co-op near Izmir, Turkey, one of dozens of co-ops in Turkey.

From my previous blog titled My Travel Loot #1| Project Ploughshare Women’s Pottery:

I love to travel and experience new places and cultures. Another thing I love to do is take home a piece of of that culture’s art. I don’t mean cheesy refrigerator magnets, or touristy souvenirs that are made in China, with the place’s name prominently displayed. If I were to show you my collection of travel artifacts, I would probably have to explain their origin to you.

When I can visit a program that helps disadvantaged people make a living by making that art, sign me up! I highly recommend that when you travel to other countries, that you check if there is a handicraft center that provides jobs to the disadvantaged. You just have to make sure the center has a good reputation and does not exploit it’s workers.

According to the Worldbank brief, Women’s Co-Operatives in Turkey: Success Stories (2018, link):

Women in Turkey have traditionally lagged in official participation in the country’s economy. According to TurkStats, the labour participation rate among women is only 31.5%

1-4: This particular co-op had several looms with women performing the painstaking task of translating printed artwork to woven form.

5: They also produce and spin their own silk here.

6-8: After touring the factory, you are served some Turkish coffee, and get the opportunity to view several different designs of Turkish rugs.

9: This is the small prayer rug I purchased featuring the tree of life. The tree of life originated in an ancient religion of central Turkey called Tengrism.[src]

A silk rug’s quality is measured in knots per inch. The art is fairly grainy in appearance. I have a much larger Persion style rug, with much finer detail.

10: This section of my Persian style rug is about the same size as the entire Turkish rug in the previous photo. You can see the greater detail afforded by the increased number of knots per inch.

Thanks for dropping by! I hope that you enjoyed my travel photos and commentary, and will return for more travel content in the future.

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