Chapulling

The summer brought about troubled times in Turkey…and though I was in the country, my only interaction with the Gezi Park protests were through social media.  Village life was peaceful, serene, clear.  I had never felt so much clarity, even in the midst of Turkey’s turmoil.

I left Ibrahimpaşa in the early morning, and after a 5 hour bus ride found myself in Ankara.  I was stopping through on my travels north towards the Black Sea, and at last got a glimpse of chapulling.  It was short, emotional and invigorating.IMG_1829 IMG_1831 IMG_1839 IMG_1842 IMG_1845 IMG_1846 IMG_1852 IMG_1855 IMG_1862

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The Show: Part 2

My last night in Ibrahimpaşa was concluded with an open studio.  After spending most of the day cleaning and packing, my drawings were displayed and I laid out plenty of cookies and juice for my guests.  The show in Goreme had been successful and enjoyable, but I was looking forward to sharing my project with the town that had been my home for 6 weeks, and had given me so much inspiration.

At 4pm, I welcomed the women to my cave studio.  Ibrahimpaşa is a gender segregated community, and in order to respect this way of living, separate times were arranged for men and women to visit the space.  The girls arrived in one large group.  I had spent a lot of time in their homes, helping with food or drawing their portraits, and I was so happy to welcome them into my space and show how grateful I was to know them.  The room was filled with laughter and a sweet, gentle air as we passed drawings around and skyped with my parents in Wyoming (who wanted to see the show and meet my new friends.)  I kissed all the girls as they left, promising that they would be dearly missed.

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I called my family again on skype so that they could meet the men of the town.  My dad compared notes about gardening with the locals as I translated in Turkish, and I suddenly realized how surreal and wonderful the moment was.

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The open studio lingered on for several more hours while we drank çay, ate sweets and haggled about the price of drawings.  I wasn’t expecting to sell much of my work, as I had only sold one piece from the show in Goreme and I was happy just to display and talk about the drawings.  However, to my surprise, there were a few interested buyers.  Turkish culture is well known for haggling about the price of anything, pazarlik as they call it.  So, I found myself bargaining on the price of my drawings in a foreign language as eager eyes shot between myself and the buyer.  When at last the prices were settled, drawings were signed, hands were shook and a few small pieces given away as gifts.  I have found myself bargaining on many occasions in Turkey, but this was the first time I was on the side of selling.  At the end of the night I had pulled down 7 drawings from the wall, sad to see them go, but happy they would be staying in Kapadokya.

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By 9pm I realized that I hadn’t eaten dinner.  So, after the crowd departed, I headed to Kuş Mehmet’s shop for one last tost, sitting in the back as I always did, eating while drawing my last village portrait.

1014264_10151654178317416_2008515997_n 1016506_10151654173737416_859778316_n 189888_10151654174102416_1878289281_nThank you to Willemijn and Paul at Babayan Culture House, all of the Ibrahimpaşa villagers, and everyone I met in Kapadokya this summer…it has been an irreplaceable experience!

 

 

The Show: Part 1

In June, I made the first update on my blog in some time.  I had been keeping quiet for a few months while I basked in village life and worked on my residency project.  However, I connected to the blogging world once again to make an announcement about the concluding exhibition from my time at Babayan Culture House.

The show was set up in Göreme, a neighboring village of Ibrahimpaşa.  With help, I hung the 45 drawings and 3 paintings I had made over my 6 week residency period.  The venue was perfect:  a vaulted cave room at ‘Seten’ Cappadocia Cultural Center.

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I had spent the previous days handing out fliers, and spreading the word of my small exhibition to travel agencies, hotels, tourists and friends.  It is so nerve wracking to have a show of any kind anywhere…at least it is for me, and I was hoping to have at least a little bit of a crowd.  As it turns out, word of mouth pays off, and I was delighted to see a steady flow of people all night.

I talked with friends, discussed my project with foreigners and locals, and had the chance to speak with a few tourists from Istanbul and Ankara about the turmoil that had erupted in Turkey over the summer.  It was refreshing to hear accounts from people living in the heart of such a revolutionary moment, as I had been living in the peaceful eye of a hurricane for weeks.  “We are here, but our hearts are in Istanbul,” one woman said to me as we talked about the unrest emerging from the Gezi Park protests.  I was honored that they stepped into the show, shared their thoughts with me, and took the time to view my work.  I was also honored to have so many Ibrahimpaşa locals make a trip out of the village, to see the project they had so much influence in.  Of course, they came with a yogurt carton filled with freshly stuffed grape leaves (my favorite) and a box of cherry juice…it is not the custom to show up empty handed to anything.

Around 11pm, the room cleared out, and we were left to enjoy a glass of wine in the cool Cappadocian night.  I was filled with bliss and satisfaction.  How wonderful it is to see the conclusion of a project, and at the same time, how difficult to let it go.

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Babayanlılar: The People of Babayan

As a part of my project this summer, I conducted a series of individual portraits, and Ibrahimpaşa‘s residents served as my models.  I made as many portraits as I could, and sometimes could barely keep up with all the appointments I made.  I drew the villagers at work, in their homes, drinking çay in the kahve hane (coffee house) and taking lunch breaks in the town square.

Rather than bringing models into my studio, I wanted to see and interact with them in their own element, where they where comfortable, where they are themselves.

Thank you to all of my village models, for all that you have taught me…

"Kus Mehmet" Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

“Kus Mehmet” in his shop, Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

"Dukkan" Ink and Watercolor on Paper, 2013

“Dukkan” with Kus Mehmet behind the counter, Ink and Watercolor on Paper, 2013

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“Mustafa ve Linda” Ink and Watercolor on Paper, 2013

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“Eski Mustafa” Graphite on Paper, 2013

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“Merve” Ink and Watercolor on Paper, 2013

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“serefe” Graphite on Paper, 2013

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“Recep” Ink on Paper, 2013

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“Ismet 1” Graphite on Paper, 2013

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“Ibrahim ve Mustafa” in the kahve hane, Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

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“Ismet 2” Graphite on Paper, 2013

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“Kadir” the kahveci, Graphite on Paper, 2013

Interior

Works of the inside, or from the inside looking out…

All drawn on location in Ibrahimpaşa, as part of my BHC project.

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“Kahve Hane” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

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“Interior” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

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“Saadet” Graphite on Paper, 2013

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“Kizlar” Ink and Watercolor on Paper, 2013

 

Gece Çizimler/Night Drawings

Ibrahimpaşa is stunning at night; when everyone retires into their homes, the streets are quiet, and dim lamps reflect yellow and orange hues against stone houses tumbling down the hill.

The last time I did a night drawing was in Istanbul 2 years ago, with fellow sketcher Nicole.  We sat awkwardly at a tippy table in Fener, using çay as medium while street cats walked across our drawing paper and the light rapidly faded.  I remember how uncomfortable the situation was, but also how all of these challenges brought about unexpected energy to our drawings.  For me, another layer of difficulty brings another layer of exhilaration, and I find that my work often benefits from a bit of chaos.

One way to add a great deal of chaos to the drawing process, is to work at night.  Finding a good light source, sitting in the cold, trying to capture the infinite lights and darks that appear within shadows, being able to see the colors you are using….all difficulties in the night sketching process.

In the early Kapadokyan summer, I sat under a dim street lamp with frozen fingers. Drawing shapes that had become so familiar to me during the day, and so mysterious at night.

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“Gece Çizim/Night Drawing 1” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

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“Gece Çizim/Night Drawing 2” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

 

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“Gece Çizim/Night Drawing 3” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013