Graphic designer Alex Bettler was at Caravansarai last week to taste the bread of Istanbul (hopefully not too much of the bland white fluffy kind) and to make some of his own. We were hosting the Turkey edition of his international Bread Workshop. He was interested in the way that the simit could act as a means of communication, like a newspaper, when it is distributed through the street carts.

After a short introduction of his past works and some history behind his fascination with bread, we got started. The production space was a flurry of flour, oil, milk, sesame seeds, baking powder and eggs as the 25 or so workshop participants mixed together their dough. He brought two recipes to choose from, simit and an Irish Soda bread. While the dough was resting, he encouraged the participants to go out into the neighborhood, to research and brainstorm the way that their bread could communicate their message.

Back in the production space, the dough was rolled, shaped, smashed and otherwise formed into all sorts of shapes – small cubes to imitate sugar cubes placed aside tea glasses, hands, strips, infinity symbols, even a giant Nokia mobile phone. We paraded through the streets with our trays of dough, to the neighboring Pide Restaurant, whose stone oven was still hot from lunch. Though I doubt that any ‘new forms of communication with the inhabitants of Perşembe Pazarı’ were invented through the bread, the neighborhood did enjoy the results of our labors. You can imagine how much bread 25 people can make.

The workshop was organised by TRUK, ( TR – UK), a new organisation organising talks, events and other activities among designers in Turkey and the UK.

More about the Alex Bettler Bread Workshop
Alex Bettler’s website