Born in the small village of Niğde in Turkey, Mustafa began at an early age to learn the carpet business from his father Şakir Açikel. From the age of seven when the family moved to Ankara, he went and helped his father in the small family shop, watching how his father bought carpets and met customers. Moving to Ankara provided better education for the entire family of five brothers and two sisters.
When he was eight years old, Şakir gave Mustafa a small table overflowing with handmade angora socks and gloves for ladies. On the busy street in front of the store it was Mustafa’s job to sell the socks everyday during the summer and after school in the winter. He would sometimes make about 100 or 200 lira (15 TO 30 DOLLARS) in a day. This money was then given to an older brother who would invest it in more carpets and kilims for the family business.
The family moved to Bodrum in 1972 – it was then a simple fishing village perched on the edge of the Aegean, just north of the Mediterranean. At that time Bodrum had a population of just 3,000 and yet to be popular with tourists. Today the village is the St Tropez of Turkey, with visitors swelling the numbers to more than a million in high season. Throughout his teenage years Mustafa continued to learn and work in the family’s carpet shop in Bodrum every summer. Winters were spent in Ankara at school; during high school and further education he concentrated on languages and business. In addition to his native Turkish he also speaks English and Italian, with some knowledge of French and German too.
Education completed Mustafa had to fulfil his military service commitment in Turkey – as required of all Turkish males – and he was stationed in Eastern Turkey. With relief he returned to Bodrum after two years, to work full time in the family carpet business. He believes that he is still learning after twenty years in the business.
He travels extensively every year to select the finest carpets and kilims from all corners of Turkey. Different regions are known for their own colours and typical designs of the area. Qualities of all levels can be found and Mustafa endeavours to find only the best. Touching and looking at many thousands of carpets and kilims, working with craftsmen and talking to both dealers and private buyers all over the world have all contributed to the expert knowledge he brings to the business today. He is proud of the fact that no delivery has gone astray after he has ensured a pain free journey for each purchase to its new owner.
Over the years many well known faces have visited the family shop with many subsequently becoming friends. The owner of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegün, has brought many of his guests to the shop including Bette Midler and David Rockefeller. Other personalities include HH Sadruddin Aga Khan, Haser Sabah Al Sabah of Kuwait, Emmett Eiland and Miss and Bill Levit of USA and the Italian industrialist Gazoni. In addition to his busy working life Mustafa finds time to actively be involved in Bodrum’s Chamber of Commerce, promoting and developing the ever changing life of the multi-faceted town.
Mustafa believes that we are all transitory visitors in this world – everything belongs to everyone. We must share and bring good life, good quality, good service and good business to everyone. He considers that his own carpet business is both a hobby and a means of supporting his family.
When you see rugs with a pile it is a carpet which has been made with a series of knots on the warp; a kilim is a woven material with a warp and a weft. There are two types of knots – a single knot typifies a Persian carpet whereas Turkish carpets are made with a double knot and are thus more durable. The best quality carpets are those which are made with hand spun wool and natural dyes. Designs found in rugs and carpets are unique to each carpet producing area within Turkey and it is the colour and design of a particular carpet which will appeal to you, whether it is a medallion design from Uşak or Kayseri or a intricate floral design from Hereke, the typical prayer mat design of Milas or the geometric designs of Konya. All carpets reflect the traditional skills of the Turkish artisans learnt through the centuries, and a small piece of Turkish artistry for you to enjoy forever.
The most famous and finest silk carpets are produced in the small town of HEREKE, 60 km east of Istanbul. The first looms were installed there upon the orders of the Sultan, in order to produce carpets for the palace, the nobility and other important people. Naturalistic floral decoration is typical of the pure silk Hereke carpets.Plum blossoms, tulips, carnations, roses and other flowers create an atmosphere of spring. They are made in various sizes and an increase in demand has forced the production of these special carpets in places other than Hereke.
Different colors, especially pastels, are the characteristics of these high pile carpets which have a much looser knot than carpets from other regions.
The town of Kayseri, the capital of Cappadoccia situated in central Anatolia, is one of the most famous carpet manufacturing centers of Turkey. Kayseri is the only centre where carpets of all sizes are made. Fine knotting and close pile make every detail of the design clearly visible. Kayseri and Hereke are world centers for the best quality natural silk carpets. These are made with natural silk produced in Bursa, and are very bright in color and extremely decorative.
The Milas carpet with its varied colors and compositions has an important place in West Anatolian carpet production. Milas carpets are made in pale delicate tones produced with vegetable dyes. The dominant colors are yellow, the color of tobacco, dark and light brown and reddish blue.
The pure wool of Yağçi Bedir produced in the mountain villages of the Aegean region are some of the best quality of their kind. The dominant colors of these very soft carpets are blue and red. The deep blue of the Aegean gives the basic color. They are patterned with geometric forms, stylised birds and numerous stars of Solomon, and framed in a border of five or seven bands.
Pure wook and vegetable dyes are used. Adorned with stylised floral patterns and geometric designs, these carpets are world famous. Produced in villages, they reflect local color and the use of high quality materials. Dominant colors are navy blue, red and brown.
The word kilim simply means a flatwoven rug, or rug without a knotted pile. Until recently the kilim in general has been considered the poor relation of the Oriental knotted carpet, but there has been a recent explosion of interest in this native art which probably developed from the nomadic nature of the people of Anatolia.
The Tree of Life composition is most common in kilims from this region of North West Turkey. A floral border with animal and leaf motifs is typical, and red and blue colors predominate.
Bergama and Balikesir
Antique and old kilims from western Anatolia are recognised by the interlocking patterned grid of blue on a red ground. Modern Balikesir rugs are varied in design, often featuring a plain ground decorated with medallions.
Very simple compositions with little patterning make these kilims easy to distinguish from the usual highly patterned Anatolian varieties. The colour of the background is usually tomato red or black.
Small scale busy patterns in bright colours which are often woven in two halves and joined together.
The kilims of Mut are often found with dark warps of goat hair or sheep’s wool. Mirror images of brightly coloured medallions with a contrasting crenellated band of dark wool, are set against a red background.
Kilims from this area are often from villages surrounding the main city. Made entirely of wool, using slitweave techniques, these large kilims are made up from two or even three pieces sewn together, with a white or cream background and a series of medallions down the centre. Konya is also a centre for modern production of good quality.
These kılııms have large repetıtive designs. Cruciform and small medallion patterns make up two or three borders. The mihrab on prayer kilims is well proportioned and pointed. Rugs are woven in bright light colours – blues, greens and reds. Obruk also produces the decorative cicims.
Loosely woven in slitweave with contour bands reinforcing the structure, these kilims from Central Anatolia are usually red and black in color, fading to softer pinky browns and greys.
These kilims are woven by the Kurds and Turks of the Kurdish districts in two matched halves. The intricate patterned rugs have central medallions with contrasting cotton areas. Band kilims from Malatya are woven in separate halves, each one complete in itself. These are then joined and the resulting rugs are some of the longest to be found anywhere. They are dark red and blue in color with striking bands of white patterning.
These are very finely woven easily recognised by compartmentalised patterns within patterns. Woven in slotweave technique, loosely outşined with weft wrapping, they are rich and varied in color and design.
Invariably prayer rugs these kilims are woven in soft muted colors with a strong mihrab design, and borders full of highly decorative flower designs.
To the east of Erzurum, these kilims are floral with strident color.
Prayer kilims with distinctive floral designsf of lifelike carnations and leaves. Very often their date of composition is woven into the design. Yellow and ochre in color.
Typical of most Kurdish work, these kilims are usually prayer rugs, or composed of long strips sewn together. They have dark woollen warps and strong, dark patterns.
Woven in two strips, kilims from around Lake Van are well made from good, hard-wearing wool. They resemble kilims woven by other Kurdish groups in the Caucasus and north-west Persia, being finely patterned with dark background colour.