This week brought a couple surprises. One was from my students that brought a feast of Turkish food for class on Thursday! What a great way to start the day! Next week is midterm so it was a busy 6-hour class. I am very excited about the work they are making.
I had some new studio experiences working with glass. The Ceramics and Glass Departments at Anadolu University were merged over the summer. I am working closely with a number of glass faculty. It has been great learning more about this medium, so close to clay yet so different. Thanks to Esin, my research assistant for class, I had one of my 3D scanned and printed models sand casted. The extra glass from the process seems to add to the form so I will likely keep it on. Then, I worked with Ekrem Kula, internationally know glass artist, to begin work on some pate de verre glass. He taught me how to make a bee’s wax model from a plaster mold of my 3D model.
On Tuesday, Sinem my Turkish tutor, took me to the Aya Glass Studio at the Odunpazarı, in the old town of Eskisehir. I watch her talented boyfriend Murat blow a beautiful vase in a well-equipped studio in an historical building. He surprised me the next day with the vase as a gift.
I took the bus to Bursa this morning, then took a mini-bus to Iznik, the home of the famous tiles. After 4 hours of travel, I checked into an interesting hotel on the lake. The view included part of the Roman wall that circled the city. I headed to my main goal, the Iznik Museum, only to find the lovely building gutted and closed. That was not a surprise I wanted to have.
The only historic tile I saw on Iznik was on one of the historical mosque’s minarets and it was not original to the building. Although production here died centuries ago, there has been a revival of small potteries producing tourist ware. I found a couple unique things, but was largely disappointed. The hotel manager told me about a “professor” of ceramics so I went to that studio before heading back to my room. The work was very well done and spanned a number of styles from around Turkey and through history. While in the showroom, I noticed people in the studio adjacent and asked if I could come in. I was invited in and luckily there was a friend visiting that spoke very good English. I was even invited for tea (wonderfully typical) and had a chance to learn about the potter and his wife. I bought a traditional hand made tile and returned to my hotel satisfied that the bumpy bus ride here was worth it.
Tomorrow, I will be in Bursa for the day. It was on the Silk Road as I continue my travels on it. I’ll see what surprises that city might bring.
Disclaimer: This is not an official Department of State website, and the views and information presented are my own and do not represent the Fulbright Program or the Department of State.