Thursday, 07 December 2023

Coppersmithing in Konya

Copper is the primary raw material in coppersmithing. It is a type of handicraft that includes production of items such as jugs, ewers, cauldrons, bowls, pans, and other kitchen and domestic goods. In recent years, the skill of coppersmithing, which used to exist at the workshops in the inn near the Eski Buğday Pazarı (Old Wheat Market) and the Kapu Mosque in Konya, has been attempting to exist in the Bakırcılar Sanayi (Coppersmiths Industry) opposite the New Bus Station. Because of the distance from the city and since some craftsmen quit their jobs, only one craftsman works actively in the workshop that has been relocated to Gevraki Inn today. While these workshops used to make cooking items in the Toros Inn near the Eski Garaj (Old Bus Station) they now solely make candy and Turkish delight cauldrons. Craftsmen who make samovars, mosque finials, and fireplace covers on commission stated the copper plates come from Gaziantep and Manisa-Kula. The forging procedure transforms plates into container form. Copper vessels created in Konya nowadays include the basin, cooking cauldrons used in Konya's traditional wedding pilafs, and candy cauldrons used to boil traditional Konya candies, as well as the basin, pitcher (glass), jug, and trays. While joining techniques including as clamps, welding, and rivets were used on these vessels, no decoration is seen in contemporary specimens.

Istanbul and Mevlana Streets in Konya's downtown are home to stores that do not produce but just sell copper pots.

Forging, casting, turning, and polishing processes are used in construction. Copper, which is available in sheets now, is formed by hand forging. The parts (handle, grip, or nozzles) of the containers with the desired form are attached by joining techniques such as rivets, clamps, and welding. Soldering technique is also applied in repairs.

Decoration Techniques: Different decorative styles are applied on copper vessels in the Konya museum and private collections. The most widely used decoration technique is engraving. It is the name of the pattern making technique to engrave the surface of the metal with pointed steel pens. Furthermore, relief, marquetry, niello, filigree, openwork, coating, and gilding are decorative techniques observed in metal item ornamentation.

Kemal Arslan, one of the last representative in Konya of the coppersmithing craft, which is known to have lasted for hundreds of years in Anatolia and lost its popularity with the spread of iron and steel after the 1970s, is struggling to keep his profession alive.

Kemal Arslan, who has been continuing coppersmithing, which is one of the professions that are about to disappear today, with various techniques for 45 years in his workshop in Coppersmiths Industry, Konya, started his profession at a young age.

Arslan, who is the last representative of the profession he started as an apprentice in the city today, does not want his profession, where he raised his 3 children and made a living, to disappear into the dusty pages of history.