UMUT DEMİRGÜÇ THURMAN
MFA in Metalsmithing and Jewelry - University of North Texas, USA
BFA in Textile and Fashion Design - Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Istanbul, Turkey
There are many different influences in my work. The materials I choose are a major inspiration for me. I use precious metals, enamels, and Thurmanite® (a composite material made of layers of paper bonded together with eco-resin, created by James Thurman). The other source of influence is my culture and heritage. I was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, which is considered Old World. It is possible to see the remains of many different cultures and civilizations in Istanbul. I chose to use Ottoman Empire textile motifs in my work because of my background in Textile and Fashion Design. The motifs that I most often use in my artwork are derived from natural plant forms through stylized drawing of the bird’s eye view of a flower. I believe, when plainness and symmetry of the motif combines with textured and colored metal, it creates objects that connect history to modern day.
My other influence is pocket watches and little containers. I chose to make lockets because they allow me to combine simple geometrical shapes and pierced traditional motifs. Lockets have been a favorite kind of jewelry for all times. People use them as containers for their loved ones’ pictures and carry them on their body. Most people believe that lockets are secret keepers. Similarly, my lockets keep my cultural history and my personality as their secrets. I use the pierced motif in different ways; either on the surface of the lid or inside the locket. In my work, visual aspects are as important as the concept. For this reason, besides being conceptually strong, I make my lockets well crafted. In this way, I hope to invoke the viewers’ sense of surprise and curiosity in terms of the design and the technique.
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