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[Folk Arts] [Plastic folk arts]


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Work obtained by grinding and pounding wool, hair or the cotton in humid environment and pressing the fibers of them is called felt. In felt making, sheep and lamb wool, camel hair or goat hair which can easily be matted as they are curly are used.

For making felt in the traditional way, first wool is doused and cleaned. After the wool is teased, it is damped and separated into tiny fibers with fluffer bow. A mat is laid on the floor and a thick felt cloth is laid on the mat. Wet wool is laid on this cloth and hot soapy water is scattered on it. After the empty ends of the felt cloth are bended over the wool laid, it is rolled with the mat. The two ends and the middle of the roll is tied tightly. A few people get on the roll and squeeze it with feet and this process of squeezing with feet goes on by dousing the roll periodically for pressing the wool tightly.

After the felt is separated from the mat, its edges are smoothed, thin places are fed with wool, and it is doused and rewrapped, rolled and squeezed. After this process is repeated three or four times, felt is obtained by felt firing operation in a hot and humid environment like Turkish bath. If color felt will be made, first patterns are drawn on felt cloth and then color wool is laid with respect to these patterns

Felt had become a part of the lives of the nomadic Turks living in Central Asia, especially for being protected from cold climate; felt was used as mats, saddles, tents and clothing. Many felt mats were found in old Turkish graves, called cairns. It is observed that some colorful felt mats were decorated by appliqué method

Turks brought felt making to Anatolia; felt making took its place among trade guild. After felt makers had worked in a workshop as apprentices and foremen, they could work on their own by opening their own workshops. The felt making center of Anatolian Seljuks was Konya. It is observed that separate sections called felt making, where felts are fired in water, existed in Konya Sahip Ata Mosque Complex and many other Turkish Baths beside Felt Makers Turkish Bath. Besides their tents and saddles made of felt, Seljuks used socks, boots, belts and bork as helmet made of felt in their clothing. Members of Mevlevi order established by Mevlana used to wear conical hats made of felt called sikke.

In Ottoman period, felt was utilized in the production of helmets called turban and fez. Also, janissaries used to wear helmets called uskuf or bork made of white felt. Konya was an important center of felt making in Ottoman period too; also Afyon, Istanbul, Edirne, Isparta, Usak, Manisa Turgutlu, Izmir Odemis, Tire, Bursa, Ankara, Kahramanmaras, Corum, Diyarbakir, Urfa and Mardin were other important production centers. Production is still performed with traditional methods in these centers. Felts with patterns, without patterns, with appliqué and embroidery are used as mat, prayer rug, doormat, door curtain, saddlebag, vest and helmet. The colors used on the felts other than the natural colors of white, brown and black of the felt are red, orange, blue and green. In decoration, geometric, herbal, figurative, abstract and stylized patterns are used.