At my studio

The Confessions Questionnaire

Your name/nickname.

That is easy:) Fy-shan. In Turkish we spell it as Fişan. It has been my nickname since birth. My grandmother was Felekşan so I became Fişan right away.

Current mood in one word.


What is your favourite dish?

Spinach with chickpeas served with yoghurt. Very simple but so fresh and nourishing. My grandmother Felekşan used to make it for me.

Tea or coffee?

Home-made ginger tea from shredded ginger, a stick of cinnamon and 3-4 cloves topped with water in a French-press pot.

Tea or coffee?

Africa–Victoria falls, Serengeti, Masai Mara–all these locations where I feel no different than a leaf or a bug on the earth and everything else becomes insignificant.

Aphrodisias, Pyrenees, Nemrut mountain–and all these locations where I know there has been so much more to this world than present.

Favourite movie?

‘Out of Africa’ – a romantic classic

And recently I cannot get my mind off ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ and its music.

Favourite book or poem and why?

Bird without Wings‘ by Louis de Bernieres. It has a mark in my life and artistic career beyond words.

Your Life Motto or favourite quote?

‘Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.’- I think this goes back to the bible, but I heard it from Robert Kennedy Jr. while we made the crossing to Antarctica in 2000.

What or who inspires you the most in life?

I used to follow Merkel as I think she was the last of those leaders who presented hope for the world. Unfortunately, that is gone now. 

Neri Oxman for her most inspiring work moulding art, architecture, design and science.

Three unique things about where you live?

Layered with history.

Literally the crossroads.

I still think Turks have the quickest minds and adapt the best. And for that, I have great respect.

A piece of advice you’d give to your younger self.

That I should have made more mistakes taking routes that might have been questionable.

How do you escape a creative block?

Ohh.. I have many. One is to start tidying up, swapping floors and cleaning. Another is to play the piano. It always centres me. And walking long distances.

Do you have a favourite colour?

It changes all the time. Lately, it has been a blueish-green.

Favourite art tool?

I have discovered something that is not typically used for glass making – a fire-resistant ‘blanket’ and that has helped me so much to express myself.

Is your studio messy or tidy?

Definitely tidy. I cannot work if it is messy… I cannot think when it is messy.

Why did you become an artist?

That was the only way for me to convey myself to a larger audience and if I did not express myself, I don’t think I could have stayed sane.

What is the most challenging or exciting thing about being an artist?

It is scary when you are unsure of your path at times. But I remind myself to try, take one path and explore. I can always change my mind. Along the way, I meet great people and most importantly keep discovering myself and evolving.

Craziest artistic experiment you've tried.

I was determined to make a massive full glass piece with a narrow incision. This required me to remake my mold 4 times and I had at least 6 unsuccessful firings before I was able to have one intact piece.

Funniest criticism you’ve received.

I am not sure whether I would say funny but the most surprising one was when I was in conversation with a director of a cultural centre, explaining to her my art and as I was getting very excited about it. She asked me whether I could repair the coloured glass panels of her apartment entrance! I did not think it was funny at the time but now I look back, I think it was a funny incident.

Describe your style in three words.

Romantic, optimistic, lyrical

Most memorable artistic achievement.

Exhibiting my work in the Aleppo Room at the Pergamon Museum was a truly memorable experience, as it marked my first opportunity to be part of such a renowned museum.

Dream collaboration (with someone dead or alive)

I would have loved to work with Etel Adnan. I think she and I share the longing… The way she depicts leaving the bay of Izmir on a boat speaks to me.

If you could exhibit anywhere, where would it be?

I have a strong desire to showcase my work in nature or at an archaeological site, a place that’s both unexpected and timeless. I would for instance love to mold between the columns at Aphrodisias.



This selection of tunes I have are mostly instrumental and that is in general what I like listening to when I’m working. I find words distract me. Most of them are repetitive tunes again. Those have some meditative feelings for me and others, especially ones which are the remixes of some classical tunes, reflecting my interest in classical music.