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The Production Process

Antep işi embroidery can be divided into groups, depending on the yarn number (fineness) of the drawn threads:
1- The yarn number of the cut threads is equal to the yarn number of the remaining threads (mercimek-lentil; filtre-filter)
2- The yarn number of the cut threads is less than the yarn number of the remaining threads (ciğerdeldi-beehive; cemaliyen)
3- The yarn number of the cut threads is greater than the yarn number of the remaining threads (örümcek-spider; kartopu- snowball)
4- Fantasy designs where the yarn numbers of cut and remaining threads vary with the desired design.

The two basic techniques used in Antep işi embroidery are called susma and ajur.
Susma involves the counting of threads and ajur produces holes in the fabric using a technique of cutting and drawing threads. Using the 7 basic motifs of Antep işi in various combinations, over 100 different designs can be produced. Designs use both natural and geometric motifs, and human and animal figures. Using a technique known as file, whereby large numbers of threads are drawn, classic designs such as marullu (lettuce), bebekli (baby), and karanfilli (carnation), as well as various modern motifs, are created.

The process of Antep işi embroidery begins with the fabric being stretched over a frame, and the threads being drawn according to the chosen design. By using a razor blade or scissors, some of the warp and the weft threads of the fabric are removed, leaving holes. The fabric is then stretched over a wooden embroidery frame, known as a gergef, and the cut edges are hemmed. According to the customer’s wishes, the motifs are then patiently stitched. Using the basic stitch techniques of Çitime, Çiti badem (almond), Mercimek (lentil), Ciğer deldi (beehive), Kartopu (snowball), Cemaliyan, and Örümcek (spider), classic design motifs of flowers, fruit, and people, or geometric designs are created. The 7 basic designs found in Antep işi can be combined to create more than 100 different motifs. Some fabrics are worked using a combination of several techniques, whereas others may use only the susma and mercimek (lentil) stitching technique.

Both hands are used for Antep işi needlework, with one hand working on top of the fabric and the other hand working underneath. The fabric must be stretched taut over the gergef (frame), the Antika stitching should be on the inner side, the direction of stitching should be diagonal (on the bias) and threads should be cut using blunt-nosed embroidery scissors. When the main stitching is complete, the piece is further embellished, according to the desired design, using various needlework techniques such as single stitch cornering, point lace stitching, or edging techniques such as fringing or macrame. Finally, the piece is carefully pressed.
Even though the stitching techniques used in Antep işi work are standardised, it is still possible to create a host of unique designs. The embroiderers who produce these unique designs do not display their work widely, in an attempt to protect their designs from being copied by other embroiderers. In this way, they ensure the admiration of the viewer and confirm themselves as skilled craftsmen.

The contents of this publication, which has been funded through the 2010 Economic Development Financial Support Programme of the Silk Road Development Agency, does not represent the views of the Silk Road Development Agency and/or the Ministry of Development. The Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce is the sole bearer of responsibility for the contents.