At the beginning I should say this, I took all these pictures from the television screen while I was watching it. Then I played with them on the Photoshop.
Craft and art! They are so precious for me… I am crazy with every work of this world… I don’t make any separation between today’s art or past times. Just makes me sad when I see some of traditional arts are going to be disappeared. In every culture, I am sure there are so many traditional art and craft. Some of them are being tried to keep alive and let them to go on in the next generations too. This is something like that what I am going to share with you. I am impressed so much when I watched it on television screen. It was one of my favurite television programs, TRT (Turkish Radio and Television) Documentary Channel and the name of the program is “Çağa Direnen Ustalar” (means “Masters Who Resist Time”).
“Alem”… The subject was the master of Alem….
Alem (End ornament), is a metal device made of generally metal on top of a minaret and symbolized the end of the minaret. But they can be on top of the dome of the mosques too. In Turkish art we can see this Alem in three groups, 1) minaret, 2) dome, 3) flag
Alem at the dome or minaret of mosques, made of stone or metal like crescent end ornament. The shape of Alem, from the top is sequentially named like that crescent, then little cube, and neck, pear, bracelet, big cube and bucket. Crescent’s axis vertical to the Kıblah (to the direction of Mecca). There are copper and golden gilts shapes too. Recent mosques of the Bosphorus we can see also octagonal stars in the mid of the crescents.
This is an Ottoman Alem, from 18th century in the museum of Turkish and Islamic Art.
A life in front of fire… His name İlham Zeyrek. He is maybe the last master today in Alem craft working.
“We make pans pots kettles basins whaever in the kitchen we use. But in time, they said tinning is expensive this that and coppery died. Because they don’t need them anymore… There are modern kitchen wares, things now. So, now, for almost 25 years I have been working just with Alem.
That’s how Alem mastership began and we are carrying on…
There is not a factory fort his.
This is a work what we make, melthing it over fire mashing it, and shaping it… etc.
Today’s people mind is “Do little work and earn a lot Money”….
They dont say let me earn by working and wipe the sweat of my brow….
I dont use copper thinner than one milimeter.
Used to say us please master please let us not run to the forbidden and never use copper thinner than one milimeter.
When I was a little boy, I couldn’t skip while an apprentice, It was not possible. But today…
If an apprentice comes along and asks you what you will pay him
For the week do you think he can be an apprentice… The last apprentice came to me in 1975… and then he left.
This is hand labour, entirely by hand you can see…
There are days when I stand there for 8 hours in front of fire…
And when they ask, who made this Alem, they will ask that master!
Is there something more beautiful than this… Craft and your name live together…. “
an article about him on the newspaper