The Glass Furnace - Cam Ocagi

Nestling in the green fields of the Black Sea Region of Turkey, The Glass Furnace is an internationally recognised centre of glass excellence. Established in 2000 to provide a standard of glass education unsurpassed in Turkey, Yilmaz Yalcinkaya and his team of Masters more than deliver.

Evolving from pure education into a common meeting place for both local and internationally renowned artists, the school is now instrumental in the development of contemporary Turkish glass and fine arts.

Offering students the opportunity to experience glass and nature, courses are available in mosaics, glass blowing, fusing, kiln blasting and bead making.

Mosaic Course September 2008

The aim of this eight day course was to teach students to respond to the nature of mosaic materials. Every mosaic material can be used in a wealth of different ways for textural qualities and properties of colour, surface or reflectivity. Wonderful results can be produced from a limited palette by extending the ways the material itself is used. Students laid by the direct method, using glass manufactured at the glass furnace and each completed several panels.

The Invited Master for the 2008 course was Emma Biggs. Emma lives in London, where 20 years ago she established the UK's largest and most successful mosaic studio "Mosaic Workshop". Her company has executed mosaics for the Chapel of St Joseph and the Vaughan Chantry in London's Westminster Cathedral and she is also the Senior Tutor in Mosaic at West Dean College. She has written several books including The Encyclopedia of Mosaic Techniques.

Classes were held in the main building in a dedicated workshop and ran from 9.30am to 5.30pm each day. Personal supervision from the Master was an integral part of the course and the students were able to chose their own particular issues to tackle. I developed my ability to interpret the folds and lines, shadows and highlights of the human face and Emma provided much invaluable assistance and insight. I also learned the basic components of a successful design and picked up hints and tips from the other mosaic students and glass artists on site. The classes were interspersed with slide shows and lectures on both ancient and more modern mosaics, emphasising design and technique. This allowed us to explore the history of mosaic art in Turkey and the middle east which was especially useful during the visits to the mosaic in museums in Istanbul!

The Holiday

Attending the 2008 Mosaic Course wasn't all about WORK!! Alot of fun was had and friendships were made, with the Glass Furnace providing a beautiful base from which to sample the local culture. As the school was full, not only did I meet some truly talented mosaicists but glass blowers and bead makers, Masters and students and some wonderful Turkish people as well....