Datça rediscovers production of silk
DATÇA -Once famous for its silk production, the Aegean city of Datça is taking a stab at returning to its silk making glory days.Four families are now producing silk in the city, and the first product of the season was released last weekend. Yaşar Aydoğan, who reinitiated silk production in Datça three years ago with his wife Müberra, said they received help from the city’s elders who were silk producers when they were young.
"Three more families joined us, and silk production in the region has revived," he said, adding the solidarity of people was significant.Aydoğan recalled that every house produced silk in the Eski (Old) Datça neighborhood 25 years ago, "because silk production was the only source of income at that time," he said. "Every bride’s dowry included silk, but the art has disappeared over time."
The only living reeling craftsperson in Datça, 68-year-old Ummuhan Tekcan, said she was happy to see silk production return. "Today, I remembered those days 25 years ago," she said while working. "Just like in those days, everybody joins hands and works on the others’ cocoons."
The production in Datça is done using the traditional method. According to this method, silk worms are cultivated and fed with mulberry leaves until they start to spin cocoons.
Once ready, the cocoons are put into a large boiler filled with water boiled using wood. This is done to soften the cocoons to permit the unwinding of the filament as one continuous thread.
Getting the raw silk
Then the strands are reeled. Reeling is the process of unwinding the silk filaments from the cocoon and combining them together to make a thread of raw silk. As the filament of the cocoon is too fine for commercial use, three to ten strands are usually reeled at a time to produce the desired diameter of raw silk which is known as reeled silk.
Then the silk filament is reeled into skeins. The skeins are washed and hung dry to clean the worms. After a few washes and dryings, the silk is ready to weave.