Monday, September 14, 2009

5 kilos of glass beads

Fortunately, the rain this time around was nothing in comparison to the previous storm. I still chose to keep indoors, nursing my cough and keeping dry. I've been using this shut-in period to get a lot of work done— I've started a series of large nudes in oils, began another "memory" painting, continued with my hairy drawings and done a lot of writing. Rainy days can be quite fruitful.

I had this crazy dream two nights ago— what I remember most vividly was this necklace I was making. I woke up with the unbearable desire to recreate the necklace in real life, and so today, I bravely navigated my way through the labyrinth behind the Spice Bazaar in Eminönü, armed with a smattering of Turkish and a large canvas bag. I wanted to take photos of the chaos to share with you here, but I didn't dare whip out my camera for fear of being regarded a tourist. Most items do not have price tags on them, and if the shop people catch a whiff of wide-eyed wonder, the item suddenly becomes "very special", "unique" and "top-quality"— which is not to say that it isn't, but it's a plain fact that locals get the better deal. Fortunately for me, I can fool most people into thinking I'm a Turk. That is, until they ask me something more complex than, "would you like anything else?"

I used the fact that I am getting over a cold to my advantage— I whispered, put my hand to my throat, and answered most questions with a smile and a sad little clearing of my throat. It was understood that I needed to rest my voice, and so I got away with using very few words. Hey, sometimes, you've got to do what you've got to do. So after about an hour and a half of weaving in and out of pushy, sweaty crowds and working very hard at concealing all traces of yabancı— Turkish for "foreigner", I triumphantly walked away with around 5 kilos of glass beads. I even managed to get the local deal!


As I was heading to the tramway, I was struck by the beauty of this old lady selling birdseed by the Yeni Camii— the enormous mosque in front of the Spice Bazaar. Far from the bead shops, I snapped a picture, then decided I'd rather sit myself on the stone wall and draw her instead. During the course of the sketch, I was photographed several times by both tourist and Turk— which I always find amusing— I can't help but wonder who in the world has been looking at those pictures of that funny-looking sketching girl in Istanbul.

I am collaborating with my sister Natasha on this bead project, and as it develops, I'll be sure to share it with you. We're pretty excited about it— it'll provide us with hours upon hours of good sisterly bonding! In the meantime, here are the rest of today's sketches— they document the stages of public transportation I take to get from my town to Eminönü.

5 comments:

Chris Menice said...

Awesome! You go, you productive wonder.

fredsscratchings said...

Yes, yes, yes! Go for it. Sounds like a wonderful journey. Nice drawings. You and your sister have fun with the beads.

szaza said...

Thank you Chris and Fred!

THE WORLD AS I SEE IT said...

beautiful drawings and beads. What are you going to make with all those beads?

szaza said...

Thank you, The World as I See it! I'll show you as soon as I can ;)