A couple of months ago, we visited Istanbul. We walked and we walked and we walked, and we could have walked for many more days before becoming tired of all the sights and sounds and smells of that city. It is a place of tales untold and told and yet to tell.
It is also a place of coffee houses and restaurants, where Turkish tea and coffee are a part of every interaction. Turkish coffee…. now, there’s a thing. We passed the Mehmet Efendi coffee shop near the spice market by the Bosphorus, where the coffee is so fresh that it hardly has time to see the air before it is bagged and in the customer’s hand. The queue was long but speedy and we went from 20th in the line to having ground coffee in hand in under 5 minutes.
Turkish coffee comes with rituals. The coffee is brewed a certain way and drunk from small cups with the grounds left in as a thick sludge at the bottom. These grounds can then be read like tealeaves, an art that is apparently as old as the tradition of coffee itself. There are apparently ‘coffee reading’ gatherings, where the art of reading is discussed and taught to those who have the ability.
I’m not really one for having my fortune read, but in Istanbul, when the offer was made, I accepted. I found it a strange experience and could not really say that I was completely convinced. I’m not sure whether my host and fortune-teller, an intelligent lady of a certain age, was either. However, it did make me think about drinking vessels in general, and how intimately they are connected with our lives and our history. If cups could talk, what stories they would have to tell. I’d like, I think, to move away from taking particular fairytales in favour of making vessels (and maybe other items with equal connections to history and stories) with their own ‘untold’ tales. These may connect with ‘real’ fairytales or they might not. After all, truth can seem more of a fantasy than fiction.
And so to my first ‘coffee cups’. Settle down and pour yourself a small brew…but only small, because this is only a small beginning.
My first looks like this:
My next, which comes with a little story:
This cup belongs to a girl with a very special voice whose bedroom was in a tower and who grew up in the woods with a strange love of Dr Who. The cup shows a dog barking at a bowl of porridge. I’m not sure why this is exactly, but I know that this image relates to the girl…. that’s her story to tell. With luck and a fair wind, she’ll be telling it to the world in time.