PhotoPOSTcard: The Colors of the Silk Road in Istanbul’s Bazaars

Colorful pillows and fabrics in the Istanbul Spice Bazaar #istanbul #bazaar #spicebazaar

Last Updated on 10/17/20 by quiltripping

Istanbul’s bazaars are a riot of colors, flavors and fragrances. They will completely engulf all your senses. Narrow covered passageways are lined with small store fronts that sell a rainbow of spices, a kaleidoscope of colorful Arabic lamps, scarves in every conceivable color, tiles and pottery with the traditional blue and red tulip designs, a multitude of patterned pillows, fabrics and carpets, and much, much more. The walls reverberate with the noise of local and tourist shoppers haggling to get the best prices. Shopkeepers are relentless in their calls to get passerby’s attentions. It’s busy. It’s noisy. It’s chaotic. And it’s one of the quintessential Istanbul experiences, even if your senses can only take it for a short time.

I saw a quilt based on a similar photo a few years ago. It was called “Silk Road Sampler” by Melissa Sobotka, and it won many awards in all the quilt shows where it was displayed. The first time I saw the quilt, I was completely in awe.  It was so effective at capturing the deep rich colors of the Middle East and at evoking the magical atmosphere of the location. The image of that quilt always remained with me. I knew that if I ever had the opportunity to visit the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, I would search out that display. And I did.

Even without the quilt as inspiration this display in Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar would have caught my eye. As a quilter I am invariable drawn to all things that are fabric, colorful and tactile. I had to resit the impulse to buy yet another pillow cover.

“Silk Road Sampler” won one of the top prizes at the 2017 Spring AQS Paducah Quilt Show. I had my first quilt in that show also, but no honors for me other than that of participating. The story about my Pilgrimage to Paducah was also my site’s first blog post. Life is full of little interconnected moments.

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