Baskets in every size: But make sure they’re all-natural
The same baskets which make village life so much easier are the preference of city dwellers these days too, but to help support a healthier life. Baskets hold laundry, vegetables or newspapers — just to name a few of their functions — and due to their popularity, the formerly nearly extinct craft of basket-making is once again thriving.
In the village, the basket occupies a special and indispensible place in peoples’ lives. But in cities, too, these days, they are increasingly popular, because of the natural materials from which they are crafted. People now far prefer to place their things — no matter what they are — in baskets made from straw, wicker or chestnut wood, rather than baskets or holders made from plastic. You can find baskets made from natural materials in all shapes and sizes these days, meant for holding laundry, potatoes and onions, bread, newspapers — you name it. You can find special baskets made for people gathering vegetables from their gardens, or for bringing these fruits of the earth to others as gifts. You can find baskets decorated with ribbons, bows and materials in different, attractive colors. You find any size you need.
Some baskets boast specially sewn linings, meant to ensure that whatever you place in the basket doesn’t get caught on the sides. With all this different craftwork and mastery involved, baskets can easily range in price from TL 1 to TL 100. Baskets made from reed or wicker are lighter, and are perfect for holding smaller things. Baskets made from willow and stronger reed are larger, and are generally made for carrying or even storing heavier items.
Around the Ankara Castle, there are many little stores selling baskets made from natural materials. One such store is owned by Sadettin Gökmen, who has been involved in the world of basketry since he was just a young boy. He began working as an apprentice with his father, who was a carpenter, but later found his true calling in baskets. Gökmen is very pleased to see the growing interest in recent years in baskets made from natural materials.
Of course, in the world of baskets in Turkey, there are those made in Turkey, and those imported from other countries. Turkish-made baskets generally come from Çanakkale, Samsun and Aydın, and are made by master basket-makers there, explains Gökmen. He says the ones that are imported generally come from the Far East, and he notes with regret that the locally made baskets have much less variety than those which come in from the Far East, where basket making is truly a very developed craft.
Baskets: An important piece of a girl’s dowry
A vast majority of the customers when it comes to these special baskets are women. In fact, while we’re talking to Gökmen, a mother and two daughters come into his shop to look at the baskets. From their conversation, it is clear that the older daughter is newly married, and is here to fulfill a few small needs for her new home. They ask about laundry baskets. First they look at the larger baskets, but then pass up on this option when they decide the weave is too weak. They decide to buy a large yellow double-woven laundry basket. Then they decide they want the brown fabric on the top of the laundry basket replaced with a blue fabric.
As this is happening, they glance at some of the other baskets being sold, and the married daughter decides she wants a smaller basket in which to place her detergent, though her mother warns her to get only what she really needs, and nothing more. The fact is that the baskets that line the shelves here are so attractive, it’s hard not to want them all! In the end, the older daughter announces that she will buy everything she wants and needs right there and then, since she is “there anyway.” She reaches out and takes a bread basket from one of the shelves. The mother and two daughters take out their money for the by now three baskets they have chosen, and leave the shop.