THE AYVALIK MOSAIC – Gaziantep

… and off went the marble from Ankara University to Gaziantep in the truck of the Zeugma Archeological Project.
(click on the pic and they open in a new link)
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Zeugma Archeological Project

Here I would like to extend my special  thanks to Prof Dr Kutalmis Görkay from Ankara University Archeological Faculty and director of the Zeugma Excavation Project for being my sponsor in my mosaic endeavor in the past year. Sponsor not in a monetary way. But he was always there with his knowledge, advice and ideas how this project could be put into practice in the context of Turkey, which I as a foreigner often would have misjudged. He kept my idealism going and not let it drown in practical problems.

Prof Görkay was the one who connected me with Nusret Özdemir, who comes from the village of Belkis, which was flooded due to building the Belkis dam on the Euphrates river. Up to the year  2000 together with many other villages the two archeological  sites of the ancient cities – Seleuceia (today Zeugma) and Apamea got flooded.

The fishes of my mosaic decorated once also the floor of a house in Zeugma owned by a wealthy Roman family. I can imagine the owner and their guests contemplating over which fish could have been the one that just came up from the fisherman from the river Euphrates and is now being prepared in the kitchen for a fine meal.

And I imagine the same conversation in our house when we sit with guests looking at those fishes again.

When the waters of the Euphrates almost reached the mosaics at the archeological site of Zeugma a rescue operation by more than 200 specialists lifted the mosaics and other archeological finds out of the grounds and brought them to the archeological museum in Gaziantep. Later in 2011 the Zeugma Mosaic Museum was opened with the mosaics beautifully presented.

Collecting marble for the Ayvalik Mosaic

…. it is overwhelming what support and interest I find in my quest to get THE MATERIAL..

First I have to thank my friend Kay, her daughters Nora and Phoebe and my splendid daughter Hillary for helping to roughly count the tesserae by color to get an idea how much STONE I need of each color.

For this I made a color scheme and then these darlings spent several hours of their precious holiday crouching over the full size print out which was spread on the floor in our holiday house….

The color scheme
The color scheme with 13 primary color,but each stone of one color comes in different shades

In mosaic restoration class which I attended last year at the Conservation- and Restoration school of Ankara University we learned to take an average weight for 1 tesserae, to get somewhat of an idea about how much of each color we would need. I took 4g per tesserae and it will be 56 kg for the total mosaic!

Then, one morning, I set off early to Balikesir, 100 km east of Ayvalik to 3 marble dealers. I was tipped off to one of  them by Evren Bey from Turanbekisoglu marble quarry  in Sivrihisar, which I visited on the way to Ayvalik with Hillary.

poor sick Hillary was dragged through the marble factory
poor sick Hillary was dragged around the marble factory by her crazy mum
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Turanbesikoglu Marble Dealer

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After getting carried away in the beautiful curves through the hills on the phantastic road between Edremit and Balikesir I went to Assos Marble, where I was met and led around their vast field of marble stock by Baris Bey a young man who speaks fluent English, further I went to Verona Marble which had just done a mosaic of the largest carpet in the world

There I was helped by Ali Isan Basöz, an extremely well English spoken sales man, who is part of the sales team that speaks Russian, German, French, Italian and English as foreign languages – impressive to find this in such a small town like Balikesir!

In both places I found most of the colors in marble and got them basically for free after showing my design and enthusiasm for THE MOSAIC.

2 days later I had them cut into 5cm sticks ready to be transported to Gaziantep in a crate

at Ayvalik Marble Atelier
at Ayvalik Marble Atelier
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look at these beautiful colors

Just  a light green was missing – so on the way back to Ankara, my friend Miriam had to be dragged too through marble dealers in Bursa and Gemlik ( on the Marmara Sea) – where we finally found IT – the light green – “Usak Yesil”

Planning THE AYVALIK MOSAIC

…. now, what shall be the design?

I am so enchanted by the animal pictures of the old greek and roman mosaics. Done a couple of bird mosaics for bird baths before and love the way they become alive once modelled with little tesserae!

 

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So the shower/hamam garden extension in our house will get fishes to get the real feel of the sea into this little room!

The most realistic and lively depicts of fish I find in the poseidon mosaic at the Zeugma Museum in  Gaziantep in south east Turkey which I visited several times in the past years

the poseidon mosaic at Zeugma Museum, Gaziantep https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeugma_Mosaic_Museum
the poseidon mosaic at Zeugma Museum, Gaziantep
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeugma_Mosaic_Museum

From a photo I cut the figures with photo shop and played around where the fishes should swim in our shower in Ayvalik taking into consideration view points and dynamics.

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first draft

I wanted them to go up the wall of the hamam benches too – look at this 3D picture! Firat (our architect) and I sat for several hours with photoshop, autoCAD, water and wine to make the fish pictures movable and insert them into the architectural drawing in 3D.

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after several drafts out came :

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THE FINAL DESIGN, the square in the middle is will be the covering of the floor and the other parts will go up the walls

 
For the technique:
I will use the reverse method which means glueing the tesserae upside down onto the print of the design.The print will be in reverse. The wall parts will be divided into more or less squares that fit together like puzzele pieces. These tiles will be mounted like you mount tiles onto a wall. After the wall parts are mounted the fish figures on the floor will be fitted exactly to their parts on the wall. At last the background between the fishes on the floor will be filled with background tesserae in situ.

My plan is to do this in 3 month.