Songül ARAL ✿ Nourishing the tree of memory

Songül ARAL is a Garland Perennial who draws on a deep well of memory to find the words that nourish her beloved Turkish crafts.

✿ What do you look for in a topic to write a story?

Empathy, emotion, reality, experience… it is a pleasure that cannot be bought when the real stories we hear from the narrator are transformed into a common value and when we meet with the readers through the writers. In order to write a craft, it is necessary to master its knowledge, that is, its technique. Concentrating on details adds value and ensures visibility.

It is a different matter to make a craft than to describe it by writing. I write to increase its recognition and to introduce it with stories, that is, to meet in Garland stories.

In Garland’s stories, it is very valuable and important in terms of bringing knowledge of crafts to wider audiences, and it is an enjoyable scientific resource for readers whose academic writing patterns are boring.

✿ Which authors inspired you?

If you want the name of a Turkish author, I recommend Yaşar KEMAL’s books.

I always love to read the authors of the books that tell us how to save the world from racism, to look with common eyes without alienating peoples, and to tell us that share the values of all cultures in the best way.

I nurture both my books and reading as a separate branch of art in my soul.

✿ Tell us where you are?

I live in Malatya, in Eastern Turkey, where I was born in 1971. I have childhood memories of our villages with their enchanted colourful landscapes including fertile lands, trees, animals and productive people. They are like canvases hanging on the walls of my mind in a large exhibition space.

This is a growing process that carries the sap from my roots to the smallest shoots on the highest branches, in a line nourished by my memories…

I witnessed the sacks that my grandmother wove on the floor loom. She also wove carpets on a vertical loom, sitting in her local clothes resembling a big decorated doll. This is why I am in love with our Anatolian hand-woven carpets and kilims.

The formation of deep stories is the gift of meeting with nature and childhood. The next processes are like traffic lights laid on the road.

✿ What’s been your educational path?

I studied at three different universities in Turkey. I have worked as an academician at the Faculty of Vocational Education, Faculty of Art and Design, Faculty of Architecture and Design, and Faculties of Fine Arts and Design.

With the onset of the pandemic process, I continue to work in the Department of Traditional Turkish Handicrafts and Graphic Design at İnönü University in the city where I was born.

I wrote my master’s and doctoral theses on the analysis of ethnographic jewellery in museums in two different cities. In this process, I watched all the production stages from the master in a jewellery workshop in Konya. I experimented in my design classes by combining metal jewellery and weaving techniques.

Much of my artistic and academic work has focused on traditional folk crafts. As the year’s pass, I continue to re-learn theory and practice with my students. In my last studies, I used the portable materials I produced in my home and workshop as a loom in my secluded corner where I rested during my lessons. I focused on making it portable, as in the case of “Tepeliks”, the first story I sent Garland.

Pine water jug: Imbibing the Taurus mountains - Songül ARAL writes about the traditional pine jug that captures the bracing air of the Taurus mountains. 
Şevket the puppeteer finds freedom in a prison cell - On a spring day in Ankara, Songül ARAL discovers a mysterious man who materialises tales of Anatolia to unlock children's imaginations. 
Abdullah’s lullaby of lost looms - Songül ARAL finds a way to connect with childhood objects through miniature looms made by a retired mechanic and his memories.
A head start for heritage: The Kastamonu hat museum 🇹🇷 - Songül ARAL visits Turkey's only hat museum and witnesses a unique historical revival (English and Turkish)
The Fidan doll: A bridge between Turkey and Japan - Songül ARAL finds a village woman who made a traditional doll after her children left home. But how did it find its way east to Japan and start an export business?
“We are a country whose lungs are on fire” ✿ Mourning the lost trees of Turkey - Songul ARAL looks for hope after the devastation to her beloved olive groves in Turkey, caused by the climate catastrophe of 2021.
Tepelikler: My Anatolian grandmother’s headdress - Songül Aral recreates the traditional Anatolian gold and silver headdress that connects with her ancestors. 


Songul ARAL is an esteemed Garland perennial.