Seher Erdogan Studio


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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    I am a craft artist, architect, and educator whose creative work explores the pairing of clay and wool in the form of sculptural tiles. Ancient and timeless, both mediums connect me to the material culture of my birthplace, Turkey. The visual and tactile impressions in my work are inspired by artifacts of architectural and cultural heritage and ephemeral natural environments. I typically start each piece by “drawing” patterns, motifs, or geometric shapes on clay slabs, and then iteratively explore variations in the color and texture of needle or wet felted wool, resulting in collections in series. Ultimately, I am interested in making objects that are pleasing to both view and touch.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: I make sculptural tiles that pair clay and wool, and I consider my process with both mediums as a form of drawing. I typically start each piece by scoring on the clay slab a regular pattern such as a grid or other geometric shapes, which become the basis of an iterative process that yields subtle variations. When working with wool I use both wet and needle felting techniques to create shapes, patterns, and textures. This way of working produces one-of-a-kind pieces that form a series.

    A: My entire creative process from research to sketching to fabrication is a means to connect with the material culture of my birthplace, Turkey, while I express my own voice. After experimenting with many mediums, I felt drawn to combining clay and wool–both ancient and yet timeless materials that provide a link with history.

    These materials also offer a wide range of possibilities for me to play with plasticity while also achieving a high level of precision.

    A: Those who see my tiles in person feel tempted to touch them. I find this wonderful because I want to make pieces that are visually engaging while also engendering a tactile experience. I am a self-taught artist, trained as an architect. For the last two decades, in parallel to my career in architecture, I have been actively exploring a variety of craft forms to ultimately find my way to tiles. I am delighted and deeply thankful that I get to be an “emerging artist” at this stage in my life.

    A: Although I start every piece with a clear vision in my mind’s eye (along with sketches and inspiration images), there is always a moment during a project when I feel less in control of the direction and more immersed in its flow - letting go of the preconceived image and welcoming what emerges through the process. What starts out slowly and deliberately with felting wool gradually speeds up to repetitive motions; clay transforms into a dynamic drawing surface. At times like that, I feel less like the “author” of the creative process and more like a participant – one in awe of and delighted by the unknown becoming tangible.

    A: There are women I have never known and never will who are alongside me as I study and reference traditional Turkish kilim (rug) motifs. These are the anonymous weavers, generations of women who did not have a public voice but used the symbolism encoded into the woven patterns as one (and only) mode of self-expression. There is also a woman I got to meet and who has become my mentor. Her creative business making tiles for three decades is a source of inspiration that proves a deep commitment to studio work as well as to community, authenticity, and laughter.

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