February 28, 2018
This time the object was going to be a brooch, that will be handed from a very sensitive artist woman to a man with strong mathematical intellect. It had to include qualities from both, had to be poetic and utilitarian in a way to reflect the way the couple complete each other. This duality is in Neferka’s core too, I always try to bring sophisticated geometry and a unique story together.
During our conversation in which we started to get to know each other, Neslihan had mentioned that she was interested in constellations. There are many tools used for navigation by sailors, often I find myself inspired from. Astrolabe is perhaps the most mesmerizing one that was invented to calculate celestial events and prayer times by muslim sailors of the Mediterranean. I took a short trip to a great source of inspiration for me, the Adler Planetarium where anyone can see amazing examples of astrolabes from different cultures, made of different materials. Astrolabe is an extraordinary product of the Golden Age of Middle East and Mediterranean. It combines the sophisticated geometry knowledge of Earth’s rotation, with our relationship to celestial bodies, and the eternal search for an order in the universe, which I believe is coming from a divine intuition. It felt perfect as an object of inspiration for this couple
I got a cardboard astrolabe kit, and spent time understanding the system it works. Poetry, often is referred as the purest form of art. I wanted to make the object that way, so I had to distill it to its most basic elements. Astrolabe though, has quite complex mechanism. The simplified version I designed had two parts, a frame that has marks of time, and a plate that has time of days with celestial bodies embossed on them. By rotating the celestial plate and matching the day marks on it with the time marks on the frame, you can see the star formation for any night. With more complex versions it is possible to calculate eclipses and other important events too.
I kept Pisces and Cancer constellations, which are Neslihan & Ömür’s zodiac signs, and Ursa Minor (Little Dipper), the constellation that includes Polaris, which is always observed at north, and is a symbol of finding way. I also added a minimally stylized version of Neslihan and Ömür’s initials on the back of the object. I worked on the composition, in a way that the shapes would emphasize the union of two. I 3D printed a high definition prototype and experienced the object in my hands. I was satisfied by the temptation of the mystery object had given me.
A striking visual artist Sal Dominguez, who works with bronze very often for his personal work and for West Supply in Chicago, offered me help. I decided to split the frame into two, and add a buffer plastic part to prevent friction. He did not only work on the assembly of the object, but also offered to apply a finishing which I choose from various alternatives. We realized the ultra fine details of this object would best be revealed best by a high contrast, dark patina. It reduced the shininess of the object and gave it an elegant, and a more masculine look. What I find also really interesting about bronze it that it will tarnish over time. A bronze surface will carry traces from every single touch. It somehow lives together with the couple now. Each time it is handled, the object will gain one more fingerprint, embodying a continuous transformation.
I prepared a package for them with instructions on how their astrolabe I provided materials to take care of the piece. This was quite a challenging and enjoyable piece. I am very glad that I was able to go deep in different challenges. I hope to continue to tell stories in the most unique way I can for a long, long time. I once again thank to Neslihan for giving me the chance to take part in crafting their story with Ömür, and Sal for offering his fantastic skills. I am looking for listening to more stories and turning them into objects.