My Class at the Glass Furnace, Istanbul Turkey…

This past September I had the pleasure of teaching at the Glass Furnace in Istanbul Turkey…this is my 7th trip to Turkey in as many years & 5th time teaching at the Glass Furnace & I just love it there…There is nothing like living glass for days at a time in a place that is built as a tribute to all glass arts, from melting to blowing to cold working & kiln casting, the Glass Furnace has it all. I had a great time this year as always…this time the class was for one week, I had a colorful group of great people, some who had torch experience & some with no torch experience all……Below you will find photos and stories of my trip this time around…

The lovely beads of Ayla….I loves me some Ayla…
Due to traffic on a good day the trip from the school which is in the suburbs of Istanbul in to the city can take about one and a half hours…just like any other city of 15 to 22 million people…

along the way you get to see all these lovely scenes that make up Istanbul, from the green country side, to the lovely homes by the sea like any other large metropolitan Mediterranean city…
when ever we drive over this bridge I wonder about all the people who live in these awesome neighborhoods, about their life & adventures living in this lovely setting…
I was going in to town to see my friends Gunay on the left & Gozde on the right, we went shopping (for silver of course) & had dinner at the most yummy Hamdi Reasturant in Sultanahment near the Silver shops & then Gunay took me to her favorite coffee hang out by the sea by Dolmabahce Palace, which is one of my all time favorite areas of Istanbul…sorry no photos of the cafe, there were at least 80 to 100 full tables, it is set out side right on the sea, I mean where we sat, the water could splash on my legs if there was any wind in the air…the air was lovely just like the night, crisp & bright, we sat there enjoying tea & looking at the colorfully lit up bridge over the Bosphorus sea
I always marvel at how the whole of Istanbul is the coming together of the old and the new…the soul of this city will never lose its history, 
because the Turkish people are so in love with life, they are a very well educated people who appropriate the history of their country, its art forms from glass to ceramics to fiber & so many other mediums…They also know that life changes & grows and no where else I have been in the world have I seen the mix of the old & the new so well…
yes even in Turkey large sporting arenas are sponsored by large cell phone companies…we are all alike…
Istanbul is always busy & full of tourists…

Although certain members of the political scene in Turkey are trying to bring back the middle ages when women had little or no rights at all, it is quite obvious that short of a blood bath, such as the one in Iran 33 years ago, Turkey hopefully will never lose its spirit & soul of loving life & being so good at bringing the past & the present together in such a harmonious way…
your everyday Turkish person in Istanbul will think nothing of going to work in their high rises, living in their yummy home along the sea,  catch the boat or train or both to go to the Bazaar or visit a Masque, grab a fast meal & pick up their morning coffee from Starbucks while chatting away or texting on the latest smart phone, pretty much what the rest of the people do living anywhere in the modern industrial world…
this is my favorite road in Istanbul…

the coolest thing about Turkey & the Turkish people is that they have all of this & several thousand years of awesome history from the early Christians to the Ottomans, by which  to live with their everyday life…

ok enough deep thoughts about Turkey, lets move on to the lovely crazy people who took my class this time around…
from the left Rankoussi (he told me to call him that, but I kept saying Mr. Rankoussi) then me, then Betul, our in house Dentist & glass bead maker, then Nejla, then my lovely Ayla & of course Gozde the best roommate, glass class assistant & friend anyone can ask for…oh the guy taking the picture is Emre the 6th and the ever elusive students who is also the new Educational director of the Glass Furnace, the guy is very talented and in the middle of getting his PHD, yes I said PHD in Glass…he was rather surprised to find out that soft glass was very hard to work with…lol

everyone hard at work…
and there is Emre at the end over there by himself, cursing the glass & wondering why it will not do what he wants it to do…sadly I do not have any photos of his beads as he missed graduation day, but I have to say that his beads were looking pretty yummy by the end…considering the small amount of time he was in class…
the water is so welcoming after the long day of melting glass…
anyone for a game of one on one….the large green chunks of glass are made here at the glass furnace & are used both for landscape art & as supplies for cold work artists like the amazing Vladimir Kline who teach here…
at least one day of week of your class you get to eat outside by the river, but then you can eat here any day of the week, just bring your tray…
everyone loves food, tea & a chat under the trees for a lazy lunch….
& then back to work we go….I love this school & the wonderful people who run it…Thanks so much for inviting me to teach at your school, this trip has become my very own favorite vacation every year, where else can a lover of glass get treated so nice & get to melt glass every day…?
The day after class is over all students set up an exhibit for Graduation & get a certificate & gift for completing the course…
 Nejla’s Beads…
 Betul’s Beads…
 Ayla’s Beads…
 Gozde’s Beads…
Rankoussi’s Beads…
 and here are some of the beads I made in class…
and here is the whole gang of 7, we had a great time…thanks everyone…
Much love to my friend & honorary daughter, Gozde who is one of the best kiln casting & ceramic artists around, she was the best friend, assistant & roommate ever… 
 much love and many thanks to my friend Yilmaz Bay, second from the left, the owner & founder of the Glass Furnace…he is the best lover of glass I know…his daughter the very cool Elif, whom I dont seem to have a photo with is now in charge of all education at the school & is an amazing person…
The Glass Furnace is a very diverse place, they have students & instructors from all over the world who’s flag they display with pride, whenever I visit they fly two flags in my honor, the one on the right is the Iranian flag where I was born, the one on the right is of course the American Flag, because I love America & I am an American…
And this you should know…
When I was booking my trip to Turkey this year, I was told by many including the US state department to avoid traveling to Turkey that it may be unsafe, I am not really sure of why they said Turkey would be unsafe…Right here in America, on the 5th of October I was scared to go out of my house, since 20 minutes from my home here in California,an angry man went to work & shot 7 of his co workers & a women in the street that would not give him his car, he killed 3 people & yesterday morning the police killed him…There are unsafe situations anywhere you go…I have never felt anything but safe & happy when I have been in Turkey…hope to see more of you at the Glass Furnace in the following years…
Life is Good….
Jelveh
Peace
more photos of my trip below…

every one’s favorite hang out at the school…

 Shopping at the spice Bazaar…

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