Traveler: Feleksan Onar – Artist & Founder of Fy-Shan Glass Studio
Why do you travel?
I travel for pleasure and my work is part of that. I love to travel because I enjoy seeing new places and meeting new people. As much as I like routine, I think breaking a routine- especially when you travel keeps you young!
What are some of your most unforgettable escapes that have inspired the identity and story of your brand?
Africa is probably one and then Antarctica follows that. Both of these destinations are so impressive where nature overtakes everything. After spending the New Year of 1999-2000 in Antarctica, I came back in awe of and still today am inspired by the beautiful icebergs, and started casting abstract glass sculptures. Up until then, I did not realize there was such a range in the shades of white.
Africa on the other hand is my calling. I feel so much at ease when I am there and have been able to travel to different parts of the continent. My ‘Animal Kingdom’ series results from my love for this beautiful land and its residents.
Where do you search for inspiration?
Interestingly, inspirations usually pop up in more urban environments such as at a classical music concert, while reading a book or visiting a museum. In such places, I am usually reminded of a feeling from an earlier experience that drives me to create a piece.
How does travel shape the development of new collections and new pieces?
Traveling gives me much needed reflection space. Each time I leave my usual residency, I have an opportunity to look inwards and have a chance to put that into forms and objects.
What are your favorite escapes at home, unique hidden gems in Turkey that everyone might not know about?
Every corner in Turkey is a gem! There is so much one can see here and I am very lucky to have traveled extensively all around the country- from Van Lake to the shores of the Black Sea. What I love doing the most is to visit ancient sites such as Ephesus, Aphrodisias. These trips give me such a perspective- that there was so much before me and there will be so much after me…
How is your brand tied to our culture, geography, heritage and history?
One can definitely see my heritage in Fy-shan Glass collection. For example, one of the most sought after items is the evil eye sculpture. Another design that is now produced and sold at Paşabahçe is the ‘Candela’ – a group of oil lamps inspired by our culture but revisited to fit our contemporary lifestyle.
Share with us some of your favorite summer stays here in Turkey.
I must say I do enjoy Çeşme the most as I am from the area and I have a lot of family and friends living in the area. I greatly enjoy the carefree and young lifestyle there. It takes one into relaxation right away.
Where are you dreaming of escaping to next?
Going back to Venice is now a dream from me. It is one of these cities that I feel at home and at the same time very much motivated due to its long history of glass making.
What does traveling mean to you?
It is a lifestyle for me. Istanbul is a stopover between my travels and I have reduced my closet to a bag where I find it very easy to pack and leave again.