Sunday, December 19, 2010

Shane's Studio

A posting by Julia in honor of Shane’s fortieth birthday today.

We talked about what Shane would most like to do on this momentous occasion. A cruise to the Black Sea? A night in near-by Bursa at a mineral hot springs hotel? A day revisiting all his favorite Istanbul sites, like the Hagia Sophia, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, and Rustem Pasa Mosque? But an ordinary day, working in his studio in the Balat neighborhood, trounced all other plans. 

We will go out tonight to our favorite mehane/meze restaurant with friends. But today, at long last, we are posting some pictures of his studio. He has been working on a large-scale sculpture in plaster over steel since we got here. He plans to cut the finished work up and ship it home to cast in bronze. Here are photos of the work-in-progress. 

When we were sorting through these photos, we could hear seagulls outside our windows. Shane told me that the gulls that ride the air currents up  and down our hill are an influence for this piece, as are the arabesque motifs in the tiles of the Rustem Pasa Mosque. More on Shane’s favorite mosque, Rustem Pasa, in a future post.

Happy Birthday, Shane.

This is how the studio looked when Shane moved in

Shane and our friend Sarah in the cleaned-up studio. He painted, got the missing windows replaced, scrubbed the stone floor, installed a wood stove for heat, put up halogen lights, and gathered tools and materials before he began sculpting. The rolling platform in the middle of the room is the base for the sculpture below.

An early photo of the sculpture. He drilled holes in the platform and inserted metal rods to create the armature for the piece.

Looking in from the street. Many of our neighbors spent a lot of time doing just that for the first couple weeks. After watching him fix up the space, it probably seemed mysterious that this American, who had real construction skills, was now engaged in such a crazy-looking activity. We know very little Turkish, but Shane answered puzzled inquires with "Sonra - inşallah - güzel" which means "Later - hopefully (Allah willing) - beautiful"

A studio visit from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts students.

Wood stove and tool area in the back 

Shane set up a plank so he could get a higher view

View from the plank

Building up the form. He uses burlap, plaster, wire fencing, steel rods and aluminum wire.

Shane got himself some coveralls from the fishermen's supply area.

Translating the Islamic arabesque into three-dimensions 

Applying more plaster-soaked burlap. 

Latest photo of the work-in-progress.

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