News Flash from the Sun Bow Front:
Dear friends and family,
Just returned from a whirlwind tour of Turkey and Russia. In Turkey I found too many great textiles, and Russia was interesting for what I did not find.
Firstly, the Bazaar in Istanbul is still empty of foreign buyers, and although one would expect prices to be down and availability to be up, I still found more, better, and less costly interesting rugs in Konya and Alanya.
Visited my oldest and dearest Turkish friend, Cemal Palamatsu, in Alanya, and found some fabulous Konya Mountain large carpets, which were superbly well priced. Seems he is selling them in large groups to the builders of the many new 5 star hotels going up along the coast. I was offered my pick at the same price - I found 23 that needed to come to America. Wait until you see just how wonderful they are!
Konya was even more of the same: great rugs, and prices that were too low to resist.
So, of course, we bought too much.
We found many examples of textiles that we had thought gone forever, and snapped up the best of them!
Russia, however, was interesting in yet another way: I gave a small talk to the Weavers' Society at the Ethnographic Museum in St. Petersburg, and got to see some of their collections - great horse covers from Siberia, more felts and yurt pieces than you can shake a stick at, an extensive collection of Ukrainian kilims, and a group of Turkoman carpets that were collected in the field (1902). The latter group was fascinating in that their condition was like new, and they were all over 100 years old. WOW!
Also visited the Pavilions of the Republics in Moscow, and had tea and talk with some Dagistanis who had nothing to sell that was more interesting than the pieces we already have at home. They did however, promise to send me pictures of rare and exotic bags and other tribal weavings. As they say in that part of the world: Inshallah!
A note on the LUX sleeper car train between St Petersburg and Moscow: The R/T fare was only $80 - and that's only 2 passengers in a private room (rather than 10 in economy - or 4 in first class). And they also served tea.
Russia was not expensive when one lived and traveled "on the local economy," and terribly expensive if one traveled in the same manner as if one was in Western Europe.
Also visited the Nicholas Roerich Museum in Moscow, and was very impressed by their collections, and their presentation. Their gift shop had beautiful prints and books for almost no money. In other words they were still focused on the local economy, rather than on the tourist business.
This trip was pleasantly surprising to me. I had expected to find less to purchase, and if my finds were even slightly interesting, I anticipated paying more money. I am very happy to report that this was not the case. Alanya and Konya had much to offer, and their prices were as good or even better than my last trip in May.
So, please do come and visit us. The tea is hot, the stories are fun, and our selection of great textiles overflowith.
Looking forwards to seeing you soon -
Saul and the Sun Bow Crew