Calligrapher

Carpet Rug Repairer

142In the Cebeci Inn, Tevfik and Nizam brothers restore the useless and damaged copper iten1S at homes. Master Rıza creates wonderful objects out of nautical materials. Although the new teclmology had stolen his occupation, Kenan usta stili contıibute to the market by dying old leather bags and jackets. And d1e carpet repairers bring d1e tom, weaıied; useless n.ıgs back to life and to the economy again. Suleyman and Hasan have been fıiends for almost ten years. Süleyman Bulut, who was bom in 1964, is from Sivas. He has been working as a carpet repairer for twenty years. Hasan Karael was born in 1973 in Malatya. He has been working in this business for fifteen years. TI1ey mosdy repair rugs rad1er d1an carpets. TI1ey have repaired thousands of rugs so far.

They do not only work on d1e rugs from d1e tradesmen, but the ones from the foreigners as well. They also accept requests from households. Süleyman Bulut: “Once, a trader brought us business from abroacl. We repaired d1is Frencl1 Goblen rug. We had agreed on 8000 dollars. W e worked on it for eleven months. To match the colors, we got fue wool clyed in Usak. W e put a lot of effoıt in it. Then, d1e trader daimeel d1at he had a share since he was d1e one who borugbt d1e job to us and took $2000 for himself. We have such situations now anel fuen.”

Hasan Karael: “For example, I once accepted to repair a rug that I thought needed a week of labor. However, when the ıug was washed, some other repairs were needed to be done. Therefore, it took me three weeks to repair the rug. However, I did not object to our dea! for I believe you have to keep your promise in business.” In their 9-squaremeters store, they usually worked together. When I visited them one day, I saw a stranger on the counter repairing an old n.ıg. His name was Ali Zarei. He deseribed himself as a Persian Turk. “I came to help” he said. He was a friend of them of eleven years. He was helping them as he was veıy good at repairing rugs. They are working from 8:30am until 7pm. But they are complaining about the lack of the business !ike anyone else. Süleyman Bulut: “We do not have any savings. We barely make our living here” Hasan Karael: “The business is decreasing” Süleyman Bulut: “After 1996, the business became very slow. Between 1990-1996 we usually were repairing Ca u casian carpets. There was a huge demand for that work” Hasan Karael: “For the last two years, despite the significant decrease, Caı.ıcasian carpet could stili be found. But for the last two years, Anarolian ca.ıpets cam e out.” During this conversation they constantly kept their hands busy with work. It was clear that they were used to working more than talking” “We choose different types of wool depending on the carpet. For the root coloring we use steaming method. If we don’t have any left, we dye it ourselves”

I knew the difficulty of achieving the right color. If a chef cannot balance the proportions of the ingredients in the dish, it would taste hoıTible. A repairer also must arrange the colors and balance the mixtures well. Many people live their lives without recognizing different tones of colors. In reality, all the colors, blue, red or green have different types and tones. Hasan Karael: “We use different mixtures for the color. We do not use root colorings anymore, instead we mostly use chemicals.” As the quality of old colorings was mentioned, Iranian Turk Ali began to speak. As you listen to him, you truely feellike he is an expert in his job. “People do not know tl1e coloring much here. There a.ı·e same, but not many. In the old times, animal urine was also used. As you know, urine is a kind of an acid. Colored wool which was washed with the urine would not fade.” Hasan Karael: “Vinegar is used as well. It fıxes the color in addition to giving the wool a shine” They also explained how they pıice the cost of the carpets. Süleyman Bulut: The cost of the work is being calculated by the time must be spent. We also add our daily wage on it. Hasan Karael: “The tradesmen already know this so the price is certain.” Süleyman Bulut: “We have repaired thousands of carpets until now. Many of tl1e valuable carpets in people’s houses cany our craftsmanship. Many damaged carpets, which could be trashed, revived with our endeavors. Our labor saved many of the tradesmen money.”

Ali Zarei: “I come to help from time to time. I had a schoolmate in Tabriz. They were well-known carpet sellers. With his guidance, I began to work on this field. Fifteen years had passed since then. I know carpet repairing from A toZ. I know colorings, I know the wool types, I know the loops.” Hasan Karael: “No one follows old manners anymore. In the old times if we lost money on a job, the customer would pay the loss” Ali Zarei: “Why there is not a union for carpet repairers? You work and go out of pocket. This is not fair” Süleyman Bulut: “Please write this down. Freelance repairers don’t have any social security” Ali Zarei: “You see a sixty year old repairer and he has no savings. Here, the repairers are not appreciated. In Iran we have a union through which repairers can pursue their ıights and solve their problems” Süleyman Bulut: “We can not find any solutions to our problems in here. TI1ere is no guarantee for tomoıTow. TI1at’s all we know. W e don’t know any other job. If we get sick tomonow, there is no way of suıviving.” Ali Zarei: “In Iran carpets seliers suppoıt the repairers. Seliers would thirık about repairers’ households and health as well. But here, they are not appreciated.” Süleyman Bulut: “Nowadays, for the last three years, people go overseas to buy merchandise and find carpets to repair.

143We make the repairs for them but they are the ones who make the money.” Hasan Karael: “Reparation is expensive there. Craftwork is valued. The person gets a job woıth $5CXXl, but gives us $500. Theı-e is no business, so we have to accept the job whether smail or big. I have been married for five years, I have no kids. I am anxious about having kids for we have no guarantee.” Ali Zarei: “Poverty a·eates eveıy kind of problems in a country; there would be quanel eveıyday ina house with no children.” Süleyman Bulut: “How would it not be?! Having or not having a child is both difficult. I have two kids; I cannot provicle enough for them. Most of the people, who regarcl themselves as carpet sellers, have staıted to do this business later in their lives. So they do not know about carpets. TI1ey have become carpet seliers because they had enough money. It is no wonder that they cannot appreciate our work.” During all these conversation, they did not take a break from doing their work. Repairing a rug is much more difficult than making a new one. Sometimes, it requires a long time of heavy work to conceal a tiny hole. Everyday, Süleyman and Hasan face with this difficulty in the Cebeci Inn. The result of their la bor is so good that no one can teli where the defect was in the beginning. This becomes their sole consolation.

Süleyman Bulut ve Hasan Karael

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