My love affair with Kabak Lamps
Fri 31st Jul 2015
I had the pleasure last month of visiting my great friend at her house up in the mountains near Bodrum, Turkey. Whilst we chatted and caught up, she told me of a small village close by which produces some of the most exquisite gourd lights, or 'Kabak Lambasi' as they are known locally.
We pottered along late one afternoon, wandering down a dusty side street until we arrived at a small entrance. My word, it was like Aladdin’s Cave and the Tardis rolled into one. Larger on the inside than I first thought and chock-full of the most beautiful Kabak lamps in all shapes, sizes and colours.
I call them Cinderella lights – by day they look slightly drab and dowdy; but at night with the flick of a switch their true beauty is reveled
Kabak lamps are made by hollowing out and gently sun-drying vegetable squashs or gourds. Once the Turkish sun has baked the exterior of the gourd into a hard carapace the men start the design process. They create intricate patterns using small tools to poke through the skin of the gourd – rather like an elaborate dot-to-dot – and then insert a tiny coloured glass bead. Each design is bespoke and dependent on the shape of the gourd.
When turned on the lamps emit a soft, warm glow that creates a very soothing quality of light. As a decorative feature they work brilliantly. The mixture of shadow and light they create on walls or ceilings is magical. I love being able to create warm washes of light within rooms, I feel it makes for a more intimate space.
I was thinking that these would work so well as a table lamp in a family room, as a decorative feature in a bedroom or, for the smaller sizes, as a child’s night light.
You can get them re-wired to take a UK three pin plug. Or simply attach to an adapter.
These lamps really resonated with me. I think it’s the beautiful combination of man and nature which results in something unique being created; it’s watching them have a deep understanding of their craft and it’s the rawness of the finished result . Just glorious.
If your interest has been piqued, and you're not planning on visiting Turkey anytime soon, then have a look on www.etsy.com for 'gourd lamps'. Or try www.sukabakbodrum.com. I have not purchased from either of these sites so you would need to ask all pertinent questions before placing an order.
Happy shopping and 'tesekkur ederim' (thank you) for reading.