Tokat style hand print art

Turkish artists aim to revive its 700 years old Tokat style hand print art

Group of artists from Western Turkey’s Izmir province seek to revive the 700-year-old Ottoman printmaking tradition, Tokat style printmaking, also called calico printing, is a hand print art in which patterns are imprinted on textile fabrics, usually of cotton or calico material.

It’s named for its birthplace, the Tokat province of mid northern Turkey. Calico printing is an ancient art that originated in India and Turkey.

The bright patterned fabrics were imported by European countries until the late 17th century, when the techniques of production were imitated there as well.

The Turkish artists are trying to keep the art alive, giving courses to young artists and exhibiting prints throughout Turkey.

Artist, Emel Ardahanlı regularly shares her knowledge at exhibitions, festivals and symposiums across Turkey to promote and educate about the Tokat method of printmaking.

Ardahanlı has trained twenty students and is now crafting the art at workshops in Çeşme, a seaside town in Izmir province. This means that new masters will grow up and this art will not die.

Ardahanlı emphasizes the continued use of traditional methods, specifically in the production of all patterns, cloths, molds and dyes.

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Renato Gerletti