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Leaving Istanbul...sad to leave.

It was time to leave Istanbul and make my way back to London. My lovely Taxi Driver played some ‘leaving’ music (Jazz) as we drove to the airport. I was overwhelmed with emotion thinking of the beautiful people and places I had come to know…and the patterns. The patterns can not be separated from the people or the place…

Arda and I at the Blue Mosque

Didem at my Birthday Dinner...

Fishermen and Businessmen on the Bosphorous

Istanbul recycling: Beautiful deconstruction. They keep and reuse everything!

Action on Istanbul Streets

Looking Up in Tunel

Ikat Kaftans within the Grand Bazaar

Trips to the Spice Market

Hagia Sophia

Rear View to Istanbul...

…I will return!

My Beautiful Turkish Family…including Mushi Mushi (far right)

While in Istanbul I met some amazing people. We spent such wonderful nights together; cooking; watching Istanbul Soap Opera’s; discussing patterns, language and life!

The accomplished Cuneyt cooks up a storm…
While the girls relax…The Gorgeous Didem and Arda
Cuneyt in deep after-dinner conversation…
… as pregnant Mushi Mushi observes from a safe distance

Cuneyt is an amazing conversationalist and extremely educated in language and culture. We had intense discussions about many things including similarities between Japanese and Turkish language. Didem works as a fashion designer (spunky stuff) and Arda in Marketing and Media.

Such beautiful, passionate and inspiring people that made me feel so welcome!

 

Treasures within a discreet shop front

My Mum has taught me many things. To work hard at the things I love; to look deeper beyond surface; and to value all of the beautiful things in the world; from people to nature and their celebration in ceramics, glassware, jewellery and prints. During my daily walks in Istanbul I came across a little shop that had many beautiful treasures. They reminded me of my Mum and the curios that surrounded me during my childhood.

These photos are for you Mum to inspire you today! Thank you!

Thimbles, pen nibs, eyeglasses, clock faces, shell Cameos…
More spectacles, brooches, pins, amber beads…
Stamps for printing fabric…
Stamps for pressing metal…
Vintage italian glass micro-mosaic brooches…
Cufflinks, snuff boxes, glass eyes for dollies…
Istanbul Modern Entry (Yes that is a Cruise Liner in the left of the photo). Unfortunately no photos were allowed to be taken inside The Istanbul Modern.

I visited The Istanbul Modern on several occasions to enjoy their extensive collection and see the Istanbul Biennial. The Istanbul Modern, through its collection, exhibition and discussion of work via extensive public programmes, shares Turkey’s Cultural Identity (both contemporary and historical) within the context of International art, design architecture, new media and film. I saw artworks (installations, sculpture and moving image) by artists including Inci Eviner, Kuzgun Acar, Osman Dinc, Olufur Eliasson, and Canan Dagdelen.

Olufur Eliasson’s work was meditative as it enabled me to feel the space with the transformation of light radiating through his geometric form and the void of space, to cast shadows on the surrounding walls.

Inci Eviner’s work was really interesting in the context of my research, as it questioned attitudes about traditional representations (especially those used in Ottoman tiles). She aimed to make evident the motif and pattern’s role to relay political meaning. She replaced elements within traditional European wallpapers with personal ideograms and symbols found within traditional patterns; also incorporating the moving image into the compositions.

The Blue Mosque Interior
Iznik Tiling within the Blue Mosque

The interior of The Blue Mosque and The Rustem Pasha Mosque incorporate Iznik tiling, in the form of complete areas, as top borders and within corners, as well as around window frames and entrances. Their pattern and surface are used to transform these interiors into a path to the divine. They fill the space with subtly reflected light and colour. The tiles themselves have no material value (clay and glaze). Through the time and care of the maker they are invested with symbolic meaning and value. They are hand painted with the exact pattern transferred using a pin-stencil technique to ensure the patterns continue across tiles once installed.

Iznik Tiling within the Blue Mosque: Patterns incorporating various leaves and petals as well as tulips and carnations

Iznik tiles sit within two main types: those inspired by animals (Rumi) and those inspired by plants (Haiti). Rumi are very stylized. The motifs mean courage, faithfulness and abundance. Haiti are inspired by flowers and plants of the place including tulips, carnations, jacinth flowers, pomegranates, scarlet pimpernels and stylized roads of reeds. They are symbolized in part or whole including:

Petals only of a variety of flowers

Penc: A stylized top view of a flower. Their names stem from the number of petals.

Haiti: The stylized anatomic lines in transverse section of flowers (carnations, tulips).

Semi-stylized flowers importantly not losing the character of the original flower.

There are also Cloud, Cinemani, Muhani and The Life Tree motifs used in Iznik Tiling. Clouds bring forth rain and abundance and so are important in their symbolic meaning. They occur as rain clouds, or the stylized line of a cloud and include Free Cloud, Tepelik Cloud types and Cloud in the Circle. Each has a different role within the composition either filling space, particular position (top/bottom), as exit points for the design or joining elements together (pedicles of bouquets).

Iznik Tiling Within Aya Sofya including The Life Tree (R)
Iznik Tiling within The Blue Mosque with Cinemani featuring as well as tulips, leaves and jacinth

Cinemani are made up of two undulating lines and three spheres (one at the top and two at the bottom). It represents the pelt of the striped tiger and spotted leopard. These motifs acquired great associations symbolizing power, strength and sovereignty.

This style of tiling was based in Iznik because it was close to Istanbul, on the Silk Road and had an abundance of hornbeam (used as combustible material for firing) and the raw materials for tile and ceramic. It declined in the 17th Century when the trading route changed its path, coupled with Iznik Tile Masters (originally from Tabriz) being exiled to Rhodes. Their knowledge was passed from Father to Son so the knowledge left with them.

Collated from information from The Blue Mosque, V&A Museum and  The Islamic and Turkish Works Museum.

Carpet within The Blue Mosque, Istanbul, featuring blue tulips ready to blossom (central)
Silk Lattice Design with gold tulips and pomegranate superimposed with red and blue rosebuds; Turkey probably Bursa 1550 – 1600 The V&A Collection

The symbolic importance of the Tulip to the Ottoman Empire is seen within the use of the motif throughout their textiles, ceramics, tile work and rugs in a myriad of patterns formations and variations in the tulip forms. Within the Sufi language the Tulip and its parts have different meanings.

– The colors symbolise God.

– Tulips have a black/dark interior. The structure (from dark interior to colourful exterior) symbolises ‘the tolerant, respectful Dervish who overcame interior evil to become bright’.

– Tulips have six petals symbolizing the Six Articles of Faith. Often within the patterns, though, they are shown with three or four petals as they are drawn from a side view.

– The petals and their configuration in the patterns mean different things. When facing upwards, for example, they represent the Dervish opening arms to the sky praying.

Detail of Embroidered Princes Kaftan: Meandering Vine with Tulips (from side with three petals) 1590 – 1600 The V&A Collection
Tiles with repeat pattern, Turkey probably Iznik, About 1580 The V&A Collection. Tulips drawn from side view with four petals