Sunday, 12 December 2010

it's been a long time..

it's been a long time since my last post to this blog..
During this period, a few changes happened in my life which kept me away from ceramics.. to summarize in a nutshell: I quit my job and came to Italy.
I am in Rome right now.. I came here 2 weeks ago and will stay till the end of January... At the beginning, I was hoping to keep making ceramics but then, I decided to be observer rather than maker here.. So, even though I have found a small studio very near to where I stay, I will not make ceramics for two months..
I will use this period to recharge..
Last two weeks, I have seen some extraordinary examples of architecture either from the past, or today.. I have seen 3 of my favourite architects’ works in a week.. It is just amazing..
I have been in MAXXI, Museum of Modern Art designed by Zaha Hadid.. Auditorium Parco della Musica designed by Renzo Piano..

Museo dell’Ara Pacis designed by Richard Meier..

And I have seen a very impressive exhibition “trentannidisegno” : design works of Antonio Romana and his office “Inarea” .. They have such a creativity that puts a smile on your face.. It is just impossible not to adore the wit and creativity of these people...

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

from the archive: Workshop at La Meridiana, Italy

In 2006, I have joined a workshop in La Meridiana.. to Smoke Firing workhop with Luca Tripaldi.
I was a bit nervous before the travel, since it was my first workshop abroad, I wasn't quite sure if my knowledge on clay will be good enough and at what level the other participants will be.. also i wasn't sure if i can manage to find my way to school, considering the fact that i didn't know even a word in Italian..(actually, i started learning Italian right after I got back, so you see those workshops has very different influences on you!!).. First I needed to fly to Rome, then took a train from the airport to Roma Termini, took another train to Florence and changed to last train to Siena and got off at the station of Certaldo..I know it doesn't sound very easy but actually it was a pretty smooth journey and I arrived in Certaldo one Sunday Evening at the end of July 2006.
They picked up us - me and another participant from US - and after 10 minutes journey, we arrived at La Meridiana..

It is in a beautiful 15th century building.. There is a big studio with a high ceiling, in which lessons take place and a small gallery where you may see some very nice works from different ceramic artists, including Pietro Maddalena's- the owner of the school... The school is surrounded by a big garden.. we have eaten our lunches and have our coffee breaks in that beautiful garden... there is also a wood firing kiln which was under-construction when I was there..
After we have met with Luca briefly, they took us to where we were going to stay.. "i giuggioli"

It is a restored farmhouse, just about 10 minutes by walk away from school.. I stayed there with other 7 participants, we had wonderful dinners on the terrace overlooking famous Tuscan view..

During the workshop, Luca taught us 3 different techniques of smoke firing that you can get very different results with.. He is very good, genial and considerate teacher... Also as a ceramic artist, he creates delicate, fine pieces.. you can see them here.

After this workshop, I tried these techniques at home a couple of times with very good results.. Nowadays, I am not using them very often, but i always use some throwing tips that Luca has given.. I also have met with very nice people there.. Maria Grazia Staffieri is one of them and she is using smoke firing techniques perfectly..
If you ever want to take a week off and spend time with clay, while having your holiday in Tuscany, with beautiful people and gorgeous food, I highly recommend this school...

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

"turtle" bottles

I was hoping to finalize the project till the end of september but I realized that, as of this weekend, just one out of third is completed.. Therefore, a bit of disprited, I went into my studio yesterday.. and instead of trying something new, I decided to use some of my former knowledge on surface design which mostly I have learnt in workshops..

In those workshops, not only I learned a lot from the "clay" people that I met, but also I learned more about myself.. In a completely new environment with new people, you have a condensed period of time in which you need to learn and try. This makes you focus more, consider from a different angle, try new ways and push your limits.. I joined 3 workshops so far, in Italy, England and Hungary and each&every one of them has a remarkable impact on my works.. As I have said, not just the topic that I have been taught, but I think whole experience makes the difference. I will write in detail my workshop experiences later, in case some of you might be interested joining one of them...

This weekend, mostly I used techniques that I learnt in Peter Beard's workshop 2 years ago.. we had made tens of test tiles when I was there, but for the first time, I applied them on an actual piece..

I am quite happy with these funny little ones, they are about 15 cm high.. and looking like turtles... don't you agree?

Saturday, 21 August 2010

art deco bottle

Last saturday I have completed the bottle I started.. But, I couldn't find time to install the image, because right after it is finished, I set off for Paris, actually for Disneyland!!! we were back on thursday but I am still trying to recover since these 4 days were truly exhausting but full of fun... therefore, with a bit of delay, here it is: No28. Art deco porcelain bottle...

Monday, 9 August 2010

too hot to work

We waited for the summer so long.. and it arrived.. what an arrival!!! for the last few weeks, we are dealing with extremely hot weather here in Istanbul.. unbearable.. it is impossible to do anything.. Every single move should be avoided unless it is utmost necessary! that's why I have dedicated my last weekends not on working clay but leisure.. near to the pool!!!
But yesterday I decided to go back to work even though the temperature was 37°C with 90% humidity.. I summoned up my courage and entered my studio! I kept working with porcelain or I should say I tried to.. I only threw 3 parts of one bottle in whole Sunday.. I threw one part - got out of the studio urgently - looked for somewhere less suffocating - drank something cold as much as possible - rested a bit- went back to studio.. within this cycle, I managed to throw the parts but not to combine them and complete the whole piece..
if I could gain my strength again, I will be back to studio, high possibly on Thursday evening and complete what I started...
so, be continued.

Monday, 19 July 2010

porcelain, at last

I always wanted to work with porcelain.. but I could never dare.. because it is always said that this clay is very difficult to work with, very capricious.. especially when it comes to throwing.. but its pure colour, fine and translucent nature make this material impossible to resist. I admire porcelain pieces which look very fragile, but in fact very strong.
..and last weekend my father brought a piece of porcelain clay from his friend's workshop for me to try..
I have thrown this one ... Here is #27, my little plain porcelain bottle.
it has a buttery texture, a pleasure to touch and definitely a pleasure to throw.. has a deep, warm colour.. candy for the eye.. even only for these reasons, surely it worths to give it a try..
I still have almost 4 kilos left and can keep trying a bit more.. so happy!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

1 out of 4 is completed

I have reached the 26th. Here are the latest bottles...on which I will try some surface decoration after the bisque firing.

But #16 is cracked... so from now on, there will be 99 bottles in 100 bottles project!

Monday, 12 July 2010

sketchbook: Castel Sant'Angelo

"...Through my work which is inspired by architecture, I want to grab viewer’s attention with familiarity; to make them contemplate and be surprised by new perspectives on each move and change of light with details. My sculptural forms are also influenced by past even though they refer to future.
...I want them to be intellectually stimulating, to reflect complexity not the chaos, not to be “read” easily. My aim is to create forms which are strong and dynamic but quiet and tranquil; detailed and complex but has its own rhythm and order. .."

This is a part of my artist statement... when I see Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, I thought "this is exactly what I mean". With its pure form, dramatic details and textures created in years, it is most dignified, strong and intriguing building I have ever seen..

I hope one day, I can achieve to make one piece, either as ceramist or an architect, close in complexity, dignity and excellence to this amazing building..

Monday, 28 June 2010


2 slab built and 1 thrown bottles with thrown spouts: this is all I could do last weekend.. I applied red iron oxide on one of them which looks a bit messy at the moment.
I started this project mainly because I want to streghten my skills on surface design.. I thought making dozens of bottles with different surfaces would help.. but I realized that it is again turning into something about form... I found myself searching for different forms and challenging myself on construction methods!

I need to refocus, get back to do some more research and start sketching...

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

keep on working

It is not easy being a weekend ceramist.. there is always a lot to do in two days.. Last weekend, I had a long list: Do some shopping, tidy up the house, meet with friends, do some more shopping for father's day, visit family and keep working on bottles project!
Besides, the weather was incredibly hot and my studio was like "hamam"..
Nevertheless, even under these hard conditions, I worked till 10:30 pm on sunday night and finished these 6 bottles!!
Their spouts are thrown and bodies are slab built.. slabs have been textured first, then the bottles are constructed with these heavily textured slabs when they were pretty wet...

Monday, 14 June 2010

100 bottles project

this time, I have thrown different spouts and bodies without measuring or even thinking about how they will look like when finished...
then, like a puzzle, I brought them together and made these ones..
they are smaller than the first two bottles.. around 15-20 cm height.. and right after I finished them, I realized that they look gorgeous when they are all together.. so, wouldn't be great if they were, for instance, 100 in total? ..each one is different than the other in some way?
I am still not certain if I could make it (since I am only potter/ceramic artist on weekends and it could take ages) or if it is a good idea (could be not as interesting as it sounds), but I will give it a try..
From now on, this is "100 bottles project".. if I could cope with..

Monday, 7 June 2010

work in progress - thrown & altered #2

I started to work on another thrown & altered project this weekend..
This time, I threw 3 different part seperately and assembled when they are in leather hard stage.. I should admit that I find all these experiments quite entertaining...there is no tension or worry, since I am not after a finished piece.. I accept whatever the outcome..

I applied yellow and black slips which is coloured with stains..
Here is my second test piece...

is it getting better or worse?

work in progress - thrown & altered #1 - slips and oxides are applied

I applied red iron oxide and yellow slip coloured with stain.
this bottle has been formed and decorated when it was pretty wet.. not even leather hard..

Friday, 28 May 2010

work in progress - thrown & altered #1

I'm a bit tired of same techniques and similar surface finishes..I should try something new..
In the last few weeks, I have read some articles and watched videos on ceramics art daily website.. from Robin Hopper, Lana Wilson , Mitch Lions , etc.

Here is my test piece to try what I have learnt.. "extended and altered form" with some "decorating techniques".. it is not the end of the story, I will also try oxides and slips on it..but a promising start: different spout, textured surface, oval shape.. but yes, it is another bottle!

Friday, 14 May 2010


I could never be a person who could choose one path to follow... and always interested in many things at the same time. I used to admire people who specialize on one subject and be an expert on it. But now I think differently.. this enriches my life...

It is same about my ceramic works.. I cannot choose one technique, one surface design, one colour.. It changes constantly... I usually use slab building technique while constructing my sculptures. However, I love throwing, although I can hardly say that I am good at it... I still struggle.. But strange thing is whenever I sit in front of a throwing wheel with a lump of clay without any idea what I am going to make, it ends up as a bottle!

Monday, 10 May 2010

spring cleaning

To make a proper start, I cleaned up my studio last weekend.. I am exhausted but so proud of myself.. it took whole weekend to do it.. without looking for shortcuts, I cleaned every single corner (actually there is only 4 corner, it is pretty small ! ), throw away all unnecessary things I collected in years in case I will need one day.. which never happened. Even I got rid of some of my old pieces that I do not want to see anymore..
My studio is my dad’s former storage where he used to keep all his gardening tools, pots, barbeque, etc... it is located in the garden of my parents’ summer house.. almost 10 years ago, I transformed it into a studio and I am working in it since then..
Here is my little studio... all cleaned & refreshed... and ready to work..

Sunday, 2 May 2010

raku in Degirmendere

we were in Degirmendere for a Raku workshop yesterday... the school was ready for the day with all the students...
weather was amazing, people were great...
after a long break, it was such a beautiful day full of ceramics....
we were even in the news in "Degirmendere Haber" the local newspaper.. Images in this post have been taken from this site...

Thursday, 25 March 2010

sketchbook: inspired by architecture

My inspiration comes from manmade things: everyday objects, some scenes from movies, other people's works: pots, sculptures.. but mostly architecture, in all styles, from all ages, with different functions.. Castles, houses, skyscrapers, bridges, towers.. It could be a building or a whole city.

Since my education is about creating forms up to a point, I feel confident about form. But I cannot say the same about surface... Now, this is what I should focus on..

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Saturday, 13 March 2010


I'm an architect who loves clay
..who loves working with clay
functional or non-functional pieces
..who loves reading about clay
lots of amazing books, websites, blogs out there
...looking, touching, talking about clay
museums, art galleries, shops and friends!

writing about clay??
We'll see...