The Utah branch of Pacifica Institute, a Turkish humanities outreach program, hosted a festival of Turkish culture at the end of April to introduce American schoolkids to traditions and history from Turkey.  Traditional dances and songs were performed, everyone was introduced to Turkish food, and there were a number of cultural presentations.

A foreign exchange student, a young lady from the capital city of Ankara, spoke about her country and the role it’s played as the crossroads of the Middle East.  Ankara was founded over 3,000 years ago, millenia before the area of my own home town was even discovered.  Hulya, one of the Pacifica volunteers, gave a demonstration of the ancient art of ebru.  After Islam brought the Qur’an to Turkey in the 7th century, ebrupaper marbling – became used as decorative backgrounds and endpapers for copies of the Scripture.  This demand channeled ebru into heights of artistic innovation and originality.  Hulya showed how powdered seaweed and horsehair/rosewood brushes were used to make marbled designs.  All of us took turns “helping,” and still the papers turned out looking very cool.

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