So, WHAT'S Katie up to???

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kapadokyan Tourist.....

This 9-minute video gives a very good overview of Cappadocia (Kapadokya), where I have been workig the last couple of months. It's in Turkish, with English subtitles. The translation is a bit odd, but quite typically Turkish. Hope you enjoy it!

I tried to load the video directly onto my blog, but have finally given up, after several hours of monkeying around.......

All for today

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Vacation with André

After a 5 hour bus ride from Avanos to Mersin, and another 1.5 hours on the local bus, we arrived at Mesut Pansiyon, at Akkum Plaj. A lovely little spot at a tiny little sandy beach, just around the corner from the large tourist beach. At this time of year, though, all the beaches are pretty empty. The northern sun-seeking tourists have not yet arrived, and the Turkish tourists have all gone back to work after their summer holidays.

We FINALLY got warm! Our long hot day of walking the coast was nicely capped off by a tea at one of the many beach-side bars in the town.

The little town of Akkum boasts 3 castle-style fortresses, two of which are built right out on the water in the bay.

After our single day in the heat, the thunderstorms moved in, as they did all over Turkey. So we headed inland next morning to the hotsprings restort town of Kozakli. The town is tiny. Farming is definitely the major occupation in this flat, dryish region. Lots of wheat fields to supply the many flour mills down on the coast.

There are at least a dozen 3, 4, & 5 star hotels outside the town servicing the many visitors to the mineral hotsprings (which also supply heat for vegetable greenhouses nearby). Most of our hotel guests were Turkish, and, to my surprise, most women were in conservative Muslim dress. This made sense, however, when I learned that the owner of our particular hotel is a conservative Muslim man who lives in Mecca. So conservative folks seeking a place they'll feel comfortable are inclined to choose this hotel. I did feel a little out of place in my (even by western standards) unusual attire. I felt a little like the mealtime entertainment.

Luxuriously appointed, we actually found the service in our 5 star hotel to be only average. Although breakfast, dinner, and pool use are covered in the overnight fee, we were disappointed to discover extra charges for things like the tea and water that usually accompany any Turkish meal. The rooms were very luxe, but our jaccuzi tub, though very fancy, didn't even have one of those little bars of soap with it! Over the years, though, I've discovered that the Turkish view of 'service' is not the same as the North American view.

And speaking of views, although the lands around Kozakli are very flat, and (to one from the Coast of BC) pretty uninspiring, the sunset view from our 5th floor room was superb.

Three days of lounging, swimming, eating, and soaking our aches away in the mineral springs proved to be just what we needed. And we returned the 80 kilometres to Avanos in a tiny local bus.

The day after we returned to Cappadocia was André's 54th birthday. So, of course, we had to celebrate. What better start to the day than a hotair balloon ride at dawn over the stunning Cappadocian countryside?

Sunrise was less than impressive, and it rained a little. But that did nothing to dampen either our spirits or the breathtaking experience. The soft, quiet wash of the breeze is broken only by the periodic whoosh of the hot gas flame. Our 2 hour flight was controlled by our expert pilot as we soared close to the treetops and dipped deep into the colourful valleys of this amazing landscape.

And, at the end of the trip, a champagne & cherry juice spritzer, chocolate cake, and a toast to the Birthday Boy!

A little Turkish dancing in the studio,

And, of course, the cake -- a delicious hazelnut torte decorated with caramel sauce. After the one special piece was cut for André, the cake was devoured 'a la Turque', which simply means that everyone grabs a fork and digs in. We managed to destroy this work of art in very short order. & there is something very friendly and warm about everyone eating from the same plate. I think kids at home would LOVE this way of eating birthday cake! And cleanup is a breeze, since the whole table is covered with newspaper beforehand. One simply rolls up the remnants of the meal in the paper and makes it disappear! In this case, there were not many remnants; and the newspaper went straight into the woodstove. I think I like this style of housecleaning!

All for today. Back to a little clay work this afternoon. So, who knows what pix will show up here in the nst few days?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Opening Reception

Yes, it was quite a night! About 40 people attended the Opening Reception -- not bad for an unknown foreign artist.....

Above, Istasyon Sanat Galerie owner Emel Düzenli with one of her hard-working art student helpers.

A proud moment for both Katie and Avanos artist Erdogan Güleç, who was largely responsible for this whole affair in the first place.

Gibsons ceramic artist Pat Forst came all the way from Canada with her husband Bill! Actually, they are on tour throughout Europe this year. But it sounds impressive, doesn't it? And it was really a treat to have them there. Bill kindly wrote an article/review of the show, which, together with a photo, was published in the October 8, 2010 edition of the Coast Reporter (purveyor of all that is newsworthy to Sunshine Coast residents......) Many thanks to them for their support.

A happy group, including a couple of new Istanbul friends, as well as my long-suffering and very supportive husband, André, Bill Forst, and Seda Üngün, an Istanbul art teacher for whom I'll be doing a clay workshop before I return to Canada.

The party spilled outside into the warm autumn evening on this tiny little pedestrian-friendly sidestreet off Istanbul's prestigious Istiklal Caddesi, where Turkish & foreign shoppers browse the designer shops and boutiques. In this photo, to Katie's right, are Turkish pop icon Edip Akbayram and his wife, Ayten. They are avid supporters of the arts, and have become friends over the ten years I've been working in Avanos, where they have a summer home in a beautifully restored ancient stone house.

Live music was a pleasant surprise, and a welcome addition to the festivities.

Talking to the local press.... "Why do you do what you do?" .... hmmm .... "Because I can't help myself?"

The artist with the exhibition's title piece, "Sevgiler". You can see I was having a LOT of fun!

Everyone's favourite piece, the large "Avanos" tryptic. And this started out as a figurative show..... Maybe Paula o'Brien is right: maybe abstracts and landscapes really are more popular than figurative work.

A celebratory dinner in the nearby seaside town of Tuzla, with the most fabulous array of food, much of which came from the adjoining family garden.

So, yes, I would say "a good time was had by all", and the event was a success. Sales? Well, we have still about 3 weeks until closing, and I really have no idea what's sold. I'm almost afraid to ask................

Stay tuned in a few days for a few pics of my seaside & spa holiday with André -- well deserved by both of us!

All for today.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Preview, final part

Today's photos are the last of the Exhibition preview, which of course is no longer a preview, since the opening was last Friday evening. However, time & circumstances being what they have been, I'm only just getting to it today.

The above panel, "Sari Uçurtma", or "The Yellow Kite", began as "Kite Girl" -- a photograph which my husband André sent me while he was working in Peru. Peru, Turkey, Canada -- anywhere children play -- their unbridled love of life shines through.

"Küçük Mavi Cami", "Little Blue Mosque", perhaps as opposed to the BIG 'Blue Mosque' -- the famous one in Istanbul. However, in Turkish, the Blue Mosque is referred to as "Sultanahmet", since that is the name of the Sultan by whom it was commissioned several hundered years ago. This little gem just popped up out of my head one day.....

"Öpücük", "The Kiss", is a little less successful than I had hoped, although it works as a piece on its own. The intent was to convey the sensual softness of the woman's skin by the softness of the man's kiss upon it. It hasn't quite arrived at that point yet. This piece must "stew" a bit more in my mind before its next iteration.

"Mektup", "The Letter", whatever its message, is not a cause for celebration. Could it be a 'dear jane'? Perhaps a loved one has died? Or maybe a difficult decision looms.......

The "Avanos #2" tryptic is so much more stunning than this photo conveys. By far the favourite of exhibition goers so far, completing it has sown a seed for further landscape abstracts.

So ends the 'preview' of the "Sevgiler" exhibition. I am happy with the work. I learned much about my materials, my methods, and about myself. Merely having completed such a body of work in the short space 0f 6 weeks, far from home, in a very different work environment, with vastly different materials and available services, and myriad glitches appearing every day, I feel an incredible sense of accomplishment and pride. That the pieces are satisfying as well is a great bonus that makes me smile!!

Stay tuned for photos of the Opening Reception. It may be a day or two. André and I are off for a few days' holiday on the Mediterranean coast to the south.

All for today.