Efforts to resurrect Bursa's traditional art of silk production

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-07-06 12:15:00 – Malaysia

Kazım Uzunöz, an educator and writer living in the western province of Bursa exerts great efforts to breathe fresh life into local sericulture and determinedly continues his traditional silk production using the old machinery gathered from Bursa's villages, challenging the Chinese silk. He sells products made traditional by silk weaving looms to keep silk weaving alive.


It has been three years since Uzunöz set off on this quest to produces yarn from local silk and then uses it to manufacture 100 percent local souvenirs for tourists. He is fighting a one-man battle to keep Bursa's sericulture alive. Bursa is, historically, a center of sericulture but today many textile manufacturers in the city import silk yarn from China.


The products are made completely using their own silk and using their own machinery. They make use local silk yarn. Of course there are many gaps in Bursa. There is only one man, Mehmet Ünal, who has started to process the cocoons to produce silk. Soon he will start on a batch for production. They are trying to complete the chain. They have come together to make up a team as thread producers, cocoon processors and weavers. They have also established an association for sericulture.


Their goal is to promote sericulture in Bursa and revive its historical significance, albeit in symbolic terms. In a few years, or perhaps sooner, they plan to increase local silk production for which they are building their system, said Uzunöz


Currently, most of the silk yarn comes from India and China which does not give the result as high-quality or durable as the fabric produced locally. They weave scarves and ties with Seljuk and Ottoman motifs which are offered as souvenirs to tourists. In Bursa, souvenirs are generally chosen from china objects, knives, etc. But Bursa's primary symbol is silk. People from abroad generally voice the expectation of buying something silken.


Uzunöz has been working on this project on a voluntary basis and personally trying to do his best to keep it alive. People from abroad like his scarves very much as they are unique.


Bursa's silk was historically regarded as the best quality silk and its woven fabrics were considered to be quite significant way back to 600-700 years ago. In the past, Ottoman Kaftans, shirts and talismanic shirts were hand woven and were very precious.


The purpose behind Uzunöz making use of very old machines to produce their own products and patterns is that this is something which cannot be done with new machinery. In new systems, patterns are electronically produced. However, in the old systems, patterns are drilled into cardboard to get the traditional pattern. All efforts are put to keep the Bursa's traditional art of silk production alive.

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