Turkish-esque embroidery

Ever since I ran across this etsy shop by chance, I’ve been dying to learn more about Turkish embroidery. The work there is really beautiful (shockingly expensive, too). So I’ve been desperately ransacking the internet looking for information. I still haven’t found a good source of information on traditional stitches or colors (if you know of one, tell me!!!! I want to know!!!), but I kept running into mentions of ISMEK and tried investigating their website. ISMEK is an art and vocational center in Istanbul which provides classes on a lot of crafts, including embroidery. It also has a free downloads section that includes four incredibly stunning pattern books!

I was so excited about these gorgeous designs that I started on one this weekend (see the picture!). It’s not quite done yet, but will be soon. Isn’t it lovely? This one is from Desen Kitabi 4 (Pattern Book 4). You can find the other three lower on that page (Desen Kitabi 1, 2, and 3). If anyone reads Turkish, I really really want to know what the introduction says. I’m calling my work Turkish-esque embroidery since the colors and stitches are all my choice though the design is Turkish.

I tried to email ISMEK to thank them (somebody over there might speak English! and I included a Google Translate version in Turkish!) and see if they wanted to say anything more but all the emails bounced 😦 I put a message in their contact form, but no response. Oh well. I found their page for hand embroidery, but it had almost no additional information. Anybody have more information?!?! Anyway, ISMEK, I love you!!!!!

This entry was posted in Embroidery around the world, Free resources online, My work, patterns and designs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Turkish-esque embroidery

  1. Great discovery,Hannah…It has been added to my list of “to learn techniques”

  2. Elmsley Rose says:

    Those embroideries in the Etsy shop are just *beautiful*

    And the pattern books are stunning! I’ve had a bit of a look through, and saved all 4.

    I can see various patterns being used for general surface embroidery, gold work, gold and silk work, and silk ribbon embroidery (as well as with the Traditional Turkish stitches and colours). I even saw one that would work as a Jacobean piece!

    Would you mind if I did an expanded article on the Pattern Books? I would refer to this blog entry and you as my source, and give you the credit for finding them (of course!) but go on to say that I feel that they could be used in a variety of embroidery techniques.

    I’d add in how to navigate through to the PDFs. (Since not many of us read Turkish!)

    And use my zippy screen saver tool to display some of the different patterns….

    Or I can simply put a note in my blog saying ” Enbroudiery’s has done a marvellous post linking to some great patterns. Although originally Turkish I think that the books are really great resources for all different types of embroidery”

    I don’t mean to take credit from you for finding the resource. I want to make sure that you get FULL credit for finding them. But they are such a *great* resource, I’d like to spread the word as far and wide as possible! Most of the readers of my blog do historical silk and goldwork and I also do a bit of ribbon embroidery, so have a few readers that do that too – it’s really relevant to all of them.

    I love your blog, btw. Always something interesting…….you obviously work hard researching information to put in your entries.
    best regards
    (and you can answer to a_velvet_clawATyahooDOTcomDOTau).

  3. Carolyn says:

    Your Turkish-esque embroidery is lovely.
    What a great find!
    Thanks for sharing : )

  4. Mary Corbet says:

    Hi, Hannah!

    We must be floating around on the same wave length this week! This past weekend, I pre-published a post for this Friday, highlighting the same books. After spending quite a bit of time searching for examples of Turkish influence in Hungarian embroidery (to go along with the series of Hungarian designs I’m publishing these days), I came across the same site, and was absolutely twitterpated with the books! So that post will be up this Friday on Needle ‘n Thread. With Megan’s post on her site, I suppose it will be “Turkish Embroidery Week” all over the place! I’ll edit the article and link up to yours.

    As for the etsy shop – thanks for that. The embroidery is very pretty! I have to admit, though, I found them a bit pricey, too! It is so difficult to find the right balance in pricing handwork…

    I love the design you’re stitching – and it’s working up really fast! Nice color choices!


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  6. Marysia Paling says:

    Hi there,

    I found out about you today, as I follow Mary Corbett.

    I have lived in Turkey for the last 5 years, and my 15 year old daughter, due to attending school here for 4 years, is fluent in Turkish.

    If you want to send me the text you want translating, I will email it on to Charlotte ( she is currently back in the U.K. for her education) and she will do it for you. As the Turks would say, Problem Yok – No Problem.

    Just email me and I will do all I can to help you.

    Kindest regards,

    By the way, you are right they charge a fortune for their embroideries – beautiful though, but many are very overpriced!

  7. Liz Almond says:

    Translation into English from Turkish can be done through the free Google translator. I use it all the time and find it very accurate. I have been looking at Turkish embroidery with a view to using some of the elements in blackwork. Between you and Mary and the pattern books I have quite a few new thoughs.

    Thank you,

    • Hannah says:

      Yes, I used Google Translate to find the books. But it choked up when I asked it to work with the pdf files. And I couldn’t manage to extract the text, unfortunately. I appreciate the suggestion though!

  8. Pingback: Design decisions for the Turkishesque embroidery | enbrouderie

  9. katielynne says:

    I just drifted over to visit you via Mary Corbet’s website, and I’m so inspired to see your Turkish-esque work—lovely!! If Marysia’s Charlotte is able to translate the ISMEK introduction, would you be able to share it here on your blog? Just when I thought I could not entertain another realm of creativity, up rises another country’s scrumptious embroidery. Oh well, guess I’ll have to add another six hours to my day…I think I’m up to about a 300-hour day now! :o) Got to buy more coffee! Please, please post progress on this gorgeous work you’ve begun. The Turkish designs are so beautifully organic and inventive—’right up my alley’.
    —excited in astoria, oregon, k8ylynne ^..^

  10. Nadira says:

    Hi Hannah, I love you blog, and I have a question. How do you download the pattern books? I google translated it and clicked on the “click for more information and download” button but nothing ever popped up to for downloading. I am really excited to look at the books, please help, thanks.

  11. Pingback: Book Review: Turkish Embroidery | enbrouderie

  12. Canan says:

    I’ve just had a look at the intro of the forth book, first intro is from the head of municipality, and the second one is from the technical advisers. It’s generally about the history of Turkish emb. and the aim of the book. It’s not about the patterns, and no tech. info.
    I read this interview recently: http://trishburr.com/2011/08/31/tribute-to-turkish-embroidery/ You can find some links at the end, articles in Eng. .

  13. Hi,
    Found this link that calls it Ottoman Embroidery, with a brief history & some of the stitches used…hope this helps! 🙂

  14. Ruth in Istanbul says:

    ISMEK is the education service run by Istanbul Metropolitan Council. It runs thousands of courses in traditional Turkish/Ottoman arts, including dressmaking, embroidery, silver work, woodcarving, mother of pearl inlay, marbling, Islamic calligraphy, miniature painting, etc. The course are cheap and thousands of people take them every year. They are effectively like taking a university degree course in arts. There is an exhibition of work every June at the Feshane exhibition centre in Eyüp, Istanbul. I must respectfully diagree with Marysia. These hand works take many, many hours and are in fact sometimes worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars (some use real silver, for example) and the practitioners are highly skilled. It is unfortunate how often women’s work and skills is described as “overpriced”. When you find out how many hours and how much skills it takes, they are often sadly underpriced.

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