On June 25 Elif, Mina, and I went to the American Consulate to deliver a couple of missing papers. That did not take much time at all. We took a taxi to Yenikoy and got on the motor boat to Beykoz. It was a nice ride and in about 15 minutes we went from Europe to Asia. Elif had found a glass workshop, Cam Ocagi Vakfi (The Glass Furnace Foundation) and I made sure they had walk-in visits. We had to take a taxi from the boat landing since there were a few bus services scheduled and return from the place would have been a problem. The taxi driver, a pleasant young man told us that he was from a village not too far from the Glass Furnace. The ride took about 30 minutes or so and we arrived at a very nice looking facility. Their education coordinator Emre Celikkol showed us around.
There were different facilities for different kinds of glass work, blown, cast , fusion, etc. We found out that they would have a demonstration of making cesm-i bulbul (the eye of the nightingale), the kind of glass work that has spiraling blue and white lines on it. It started with placing alternating blue and white glass rods in a special mold. The man who was preparing a small amount of glass blob at the end of the blow tube heated the glass once more and pressed it inside the mold. The hot glass slightly melted the glass rods around it and when he pulled it out it had the lines on it but far from the final shape it would take. Repeated heating, pressing, blowing, using specially shaped cups with handles, it started taking shape. Working in collaboration, the master and two apprentices made the glass piece larger and turned it into a sphere. Attaching a second blow tube at the other end they skillfully transferred the bowl from the old to the new tube, why I don’t know. More trips to the furnace, and opening the mouth the glass piece turned into a bowl. Then the master turned it upside down and a few rotations and swings later, a ruffled bowl about 10″ in diameter emerged. Quite a process, and very interesting indeed.
Emre told us school students come in groups and get a chance to make their own pieces. He found a way to let Mina into the workshop which was set up for this purpose and Mina created her fusion piece. They will put it in the furnace, properly cool it down, and mail it to Altunizade next week. After that we took the taxi which had been waiting for us and drove home. A nice outing!
I am leaving for London tomorrow and will continue writing after I return home. Stay tuned!