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Passion For Creation: Fırat Neziroğlu

Creators of signature projects in culture, arts, gastronomy, and the service industry have something in common: They are all passionate about what they do and believe in “re-creation,”i.e. constant reinvention, in their professional journey. We asked world- renowned tapestry artist Fırat Neziroğlu, Ceyda and Beste Türkön who are the founders of design-oriented brand agency Quiet, hospitality manager of renowned brands M. Kaan Yıldırım and Tersane Istanbul CFO Saad Abed about the secrets to success and their thoughts on creation.

Tapestry artist Fırat Neziroğlu, who has made a global name for himself with his contemporary approach to the traditional weaving painting technique, says the innovation and continuity of his profession keep him ever young and dynamic.

How did you cross paths with art? How did your encounter with dancing evolve into art, especially weaving? I graduated from Dokuz Eylül University’s Department of Textile and Fashion Design. I received my master’s degree and proficiency in arts from the same faculty. Since a young age, I’ve been trained in music, notes, and solfege along with various instruments and dancing, which I believe have contributed to my artistic expression. All this training, including the academy, was thanks to my parents’ encouragement. In fact, I thought I would study dancing at the university. With my mother’s guidance, I prepared for the Faculty of Fine Arts exams and enrolled in the Department of Textile. For the first two years, I studied fashion design. I was supposed to design clothes but, deep down, I wanted to engage in art rather than design. Wandering around the halls of the school, I heard the sound of the weaving loom. I was quite impressed by how threads intervened within the heavy metal looms and how a fabric was made. It all came together on its own.

You’ve blended a traditional craft with modernity and carried it to new levels. Can you tell us about this story of rebirth?

Weaving is a language; it is read. The times when weavers transmitted their emotions and were heard have become obsolete with the introduction of technology into our lives. As someone who spent his youth dancing on stage, I know how strong the communication and connection between the audience and the interpreter is for the performance process. On the other hand, I’m well aware that my native language is the best way to express myself. Which language could I speak in the land of Çatalhöyük where the oldest fabric in the world is found, the Turkish Knot which is used in Pazırık as the world’s oldest carpet, and ground cloths known around the world as Kilim? Maybe my awareness of how the language of weaving evolves like the living languages we speak brought the tradition and the current times together. To give an example of the alphabet of weaving, if the weaver woman was happy with her marriage, she would weave the “tree of life” motif from among many. Through this, she would say, “I’ve arrived at this house with abundance, to carry on the lineage.” If she was unhappy, she would weave cockleburs as a pattern which is a type of plant with thorns. They would get stuck on the lower parts of the men’s trouser legs and needed cleaning before entering the house, which was a time-consuming and painful process. It’s that easy to interpret a weaver’s emotional troubles. However, weaving cockleburs in today’s cities of cement, asphalt, and mud would create a problem in communication. This is why I tap into the emotions of weavers in the past, and express them in today’s language. I weave Anatolian Kilims which brings us eye to eye. Back when I started weaving, I used classical techniques and methods. Weaving is a long process. While my friends were meeting up and having fun, I would work behind the loom for days and nights. In order to make some time for myself and my friends, I started skipping weaving certain parts. The desire to weave less as a response to this need of mine helped me develop a custom weaving technique. In time, I was discontent with the vertical threads called warps because they were left empty and competed with the patterns I was weaving. So, I started weaving on nylon threads to prevent empty warps from being seen. It was another necessity. When a pianist takes the stage, their assistant doesn’t play the instrument for them; we experience the emotions of the artist through the expression of their hands. That’s why I think it’s more valuable for artists to become craftspeople, not only in terms of kilim and carpets but generally in arts. As a result of this journey, I had a patented weaving technique that has been accepted in the world. There are master’s theses in Turkey and abroad about my method.

When you were a kid, did you always dream of working in a creative field, or did you have other dreams? If it was up to me, I would be a history teacher. I’ve always enjoyed learning the past and understanding what happened. Now, I love where I am in life and the person I’ve come to cultivate. I never dreamed the future would be like this. I’m very happy.

Which aspects of your job make you the happiest? I keep developing creative ideas in an endless field. I work with many people and various materials to realise these. This state of innovation and continuity always keeps me young and dynamic. Besides, I feel like I’m constantly on a playground regarding the creative process. Whenever I’m playing, I feel like I’m alone with my childhood. Playing is as pleasing to me as it is to everybody else.

What would you recommend to those who are at the beginning of their career, or considering a career change?

The biggest proof of our existence in the world is that we are unique. No matter their age, everyone who plans to plan and shape their life needs to engage in something that is unique to them or has never been seen before and which is not an interpretation of someone else’s technique or idea. Today, social media has brought it to a point where we see works that are just copies of one another and words that just repeat themselves. However, it is the emotions that make a work, or life, pretty. I’ve personally experienced how successful one can become when one focuses on emotions and stop thinking about the form.











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