When I first saw the freeform crochet of Irregular Expressions, I was hooked, so to speak. It is an intriguing mix of traditional stitch, rich colours and lush, organic form that is folk craft with a large slice of edge.
But when I approached the family team that form Irregular Expressions for an interview, I knew I had found something extraordinarily beautiful.
Based in the picturesque town of Bolu in Turkey, Sebahat is the principal maker, and mother of Aysegul who runs the shop online, assisted by Aysegul’s brother. Sebahat is a retired teacher, who worked for many years at various secondary schools teaching art, craft and practical household economics. Travelling around regional Turkey allowed her great opportunities to collect ideas on traditional Turkish techniques and designs.
Improvising on these collected ideas, Sebahat has been using a combination of techniques over the past six and a half years to produce her accessories, incorporating beads, buttons and fabric in her crochet. She is always inspired by nature in its endless variety of forms and colours; flowers especially form a major part of her inspiration, which is why many of her creations are named after particular species.
The most special part of meeting Aysegul and Sebahat though was to view this video of them, made by the people at Etsy. It’s beautiful, and I encourage you to watch it.
Finally, when I asked Aysegul for her and her mother’s best pieces of advice, I got this response.
“When I read your question what immediately came to my mind was something I read ten years ago. I almost always recall this sentence when I am invited to somewhere new, or when someone suggests doing something unusual. I have said yes to many things I would have said no to otherwise just because I have remembered this quote:
“Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.”
-Chapter 31, Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
“When I asked your question to my mother, she instantly recalled her father’s words. It was when she was attending secondary school, and she was also helping the family with the housework. Her father saw her shearing a sheep, and perhaps he was also proud that she was attending the school and she also knew how to shear a sheep. He told her, “Learn anything that is good (useful, beneficial), put it in your pocket as if you never knew, you will (can) use it when the time comes.” He was saying that there may come a time when you need the skills you have learned.
“My mother often repeats his words to encourage me and my brother to keep learning new skills. And she is still following his words, she spends a lot of time online trying to learn new crocheting and knitting techniques.”
Perhaps these words are obvious for an ex school teacher, to never stop learning! But it is excellent advice.
I LOVE Aysegul’s quote; it is such a wonderful reminder that life is not straightforward and that it is important to accept and learn from what life throws at you.
You can find more of Sebahat’s wonderful accessories in their Etsy shop, IrregularExpressions.
Big thanks to Aysegul for all her help in putting this together.