Sunday, December 16, 2012

25 Days of Ornaments: Hagia Sophia in cross-stitch

I usually post my ornaments in the evening, but last night, we were watching CNN and the coverage of the elementary school shooting in Connecticut. It just seemed wrong to blithely post about ornaments as we were watching the initial reports on TV. There really aren't any words for what happened yesterday, so I won't even try.

I don't think that posting an ornament today makes anything better, or is really any different than posting an ornament yesterday, but I refuse to let the crazy win. So with that in mind, I'll share an ornament-in-progress: my Hagia Sophia in cross-stitch.

I wanted to create some ornaments that would remind me of Istanbul, since this is hopefully our last Christmas in Turkey, and I thought both the Hagia Sophia and Galata Tower would be the most recognizable icons that were also suitable for Christmas ornaments. So far, I've only gotten around to the Hagia Sophia. :)  My cross-stitch design is a vision of the church as it was in the Byzantine era; today it has minarets from when it was converted into a mosque in 1453, immediately after the Ottomans conquered Constantinople. I used a mosaic that I found online as the source of my design; so far I haven't been able to find any real information on this mosaic, but I seem to remember it's on a poster inside the Hagia Sophia (now a museum), so I'm going to search through my old photos and see what I can find, and then I'll update.

Update (1-29-13): I found the photograph I was looking for -- my memory is still half-decent, as there was a billboard up talking about the Hagia Sophia's history that featured the mosaic image of the church. However, I still haven't been able to figure out the real source. The best I could come up with is that it might be a National Geographic Collection image of an artist's map depicting the Mediterranean region under Justinian I. But the background differs from that of the original image I found, so I don't know. Here's my billboard photo:

I haven't decided yet how to finish my ornament, so for the moment, it's still sitting in the embroidery hoop. I could go old school and give it a fabric backing, but that seems so Christmas 2011. Does anyone have any suggestions?

To be honest, I'm a little nervous about putting any images up, as I recently heard an awful story about copyright infringement here in Istanbul. (From what I saw at the newspaper, intellectual property barely exists as a concept here.) A woman I am acquainted with is a painter, and she had put some of her images up on her website and on Etsy; she later found out that multiple shopkeepers here in Istanbul stole the images and produced touristic items (tiles and whatnot) that they were selling in Sultanahmet, Istanbul's main historic area. Some of the tiles even had an "artisan's" stamp on the back. When she confronted one of the guys, he told her she was an idiot for putting them online in the first place -- he felt their mere presence online gave him the right to take and use them as he pleased. The whole story makes me ill. I know this isn't just happening in Turkey -- there was a big kerfuffle last year concerning Urban Outfitters and an Etsy necklace -- but as I said above, there seems to be less respect (or perhaps knowledge) of intellectual property rights here. Now, I don't think I've put up an image today that can be adequately converted into anything, but still, it makes me wary. And with that, I'm signing off from the least cheerful Christmas post ever. :)

(Did the smiley face help?)

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