Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Invisible Cities Reception This Thursday!

FWP's current exhibition Invisible Cities will have an opening reception this Thursday, September 22 at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston. It runs from 6-8 pm, with some of the artists in attendance. Please join us if you're in the area!

The SAC Exhibition Gallery is located on the second floor, above the SAC Retail Gallery.
175 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Invisible Cities" at The Society of Arts and Crafts

Apologies for the lack of updates recently, but FWP has been busy preparing for Invisible Cities, our newest exhibition now showing at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston! Screenprinted glass works created during FWP's recent MassArt residency will be on display, along with a short video and a few other pieces. The works are primarily inspired by the group's trip to NYC, incorporating photography of the city into collaged images on glass.

If you're in the Boston area come out to the show! SAC is located at 175 Newbury St (nearest to Copley T station) and open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-6pm. The first floor hosts a lovely commercial gallery; Invisible Cities is on the second floor in the exhibition gallery. The opening event will be held September 22.

Here's a preview:

James McLeod. Crosstown Moment.

Ayse Balyemez. Looking for a Way Out (detail).

Leo Tecosky. No.12.

Gulfidan Ozmen. Open Door (detail).

Oben Abright. Old Man of Istanbul (detail).

Hande Buyukatli. One Way (detail).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

We Will Return Shortly

We're putting the final touches on pieces going in the exhibition at Boston's Society of Arts and Crafts as well as finishing up a few other projects. I'll return with more details and photos soon!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Glassblowing Demonstration for SOAC

Last week a group of people involved in Floating World Projects and the Society of Arts and Crafts gathered for a behind-the-scenes peek at the work being made for the MassArt residency, along with an experimental glassblowing demonstration.

FWP artists took some finished screenprinted glass panels (with photos taken in New York this month) and bent them with heat into new shapes, stretching the printed imagery into more abstract forms. One panel shifted into a bowl, while two others were fused together into a boat shape. Pieces like these will be exhibited at SOAC in August.

Photos by FWP visiting artist Ayse Balyemez.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Glassblowing at MassArt

For the first few weeks of June, the Turkish artists involved in Floating World Projects have been staying in Boston for a residency at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design with James McLeod, Leo Tecosky, and Oben Abright. The group traveled to New York City and photographed graffiti and architecture around Brooklyn, and the resulting images are being used to screenprint collages over glass panels, similar to earlier pieces incorporating photos of Istanbul. The finished pieces will be exhibited at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston.

Last week I (a person who has no experience with glass) visited the studio where Leo and James were working with MassArt students to produce glass shapes to be used for screenprinting. Below is a photo-diary of sorts of the process, from an outsider's point of view (meaning the vocabulary will remain simple!).

First, the artist takes a roll of compacted pigment at the end of the rod, and begins surrounding it with hot glass, continually twisting it as it hardens.

Several layers of hot glass are built up over time, with one person shielding the artist's face from sparks as he or she cradles the glass with wet cloth to shape it, and another person periodically blowing through the rod to expand the glass ball.

As it gets larger it is passed on to James and Leo, who continue to build it up until finally rolling it along a flat surface to give it a somewhat oval shape.

Then James stands at a greater height to lower it into a hot, hollow concrete tube, which shapes it into a flat-bottomed cylinder.

It is then chipped off the rod and stored in an incubator of sorts.

Watching glassmaking is exciting and fascinating, and I was impressed with just how much of a group effort it really is- with a range of different jobs and activities handled by the MassArt students/graduates working together.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


This May saw a lot of activity for Floating World Projects, so much that we've neglected to update you on all of the happenings! The TRANSITLINES exhibition at the Public Glass Gallery in San Francisco ended on May 23, but you can check out some installation shots below:

James McLeod gave a glassblowing demonstration during the opening event, experimenting with a hot silkscreen technique.

Next time there'll be a little photoshoot of the glassmaking process during FWP's artist residency at MassArt.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Floating World Projects' new exhibition "TRANSITLINES" opens today at the Public Glass gallery in San Francisco! It culls together a number of collaborative pieces made by Turkish and American artists, incorporating silkscreen techniques on glass panels. The work aims to comment on relations between our two cultures and blur the line between them. The exhibition is partly a fundraiser for FWP's documentary The Road to Hebron, currently in the post-production process.

If you're in the area, check it out! The exhibit runs from May 7-May 23, with a special glassblowing demonstration and opening event tonight at 6pm.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Public Glass Exhibition Sneak Peek

The next major exhibition for Floating World Projects starts May 7th at the Public Glass Gallery in San Francisco. Titled Transitlines, it features several collaborative pieces from Floating World Projects artists. We'll have full details soon!

And remember, you can keep tabs with us on Twitter, Facebook, or our mailing list (sign up in right-hand sidebar)!

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Concepts in Glass" Exhibition at the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet

Here's a reminder that the Concepts in Glass exhibition at the New Art Center in Newton has started! It features art by FWP member James McLeod, along with other Boston-based glass artists. Check out the article posted at the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Concepts in Glass" Exhibition

Starting Friday, April 11, the New Art Center in Newton, MA will open an exhibition titled "Concepts in Glass" that features four Boston-based glass artists who push the medium into different directions with a conceptual bent to their compositions. FWP co-founder James McLeod has pieces in the show focusing on memories and how they shift and change, often becoming unreliable or faded. As curator Hillary Faccio observes, "He also addresses tension between seemingly soft materials and materials more aggressive in nature. He creates objects that illustrate tension, release, and balance."

James McLeod, Memory Container 12
The exhibit also includes Chris Watts's complex, narrative-fueled pieces, Alan Klein's works contemplating aspects of time, and petroglyph-inspired pieces from the curator herself.

Check it out if you're in the area! It runs April 11-May 15 in the Main Gallery at the New Art Center, Newton, MA.

The Opening Reception will take place on Friday, April 15 from 6 to 8 pm.
There will be a Gallery Talk with the curator and artists on Saturday, April 30 at 2 pm.
All events are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

TransCultural Exchange Conference 2011

Boston-based nonprofit TransCultural Exchange is committed to promoting artists and arts organizations with international focus. Their 2011 conference runs from April 7-10, featuring a range of panels and events centering on international opportunities for artists. 

FWP founding member James McLeod will be a moderator on a panel titled "The New Renaissance Man. Doing it for Yourself: From Specialization to Multi-Tasking." The discussion will offer a look into "how the traditional model of the artist in the studio, supported by gallery shows, is morphing into that of artists who are also curators, residency program directors, designers and/or their own PR agents. How do they do it? Is art suffering by artists - as well as writers - being pulled in so many directions? Or, are we witnessing a new type of Renaissance artist?" It will take place on April 9 at the Boston Omni Parker House Hotel from 11:00 am to 12:45 pm.

An overview of the conference, which takes place all over the Boston area, can be found here and the schedule is here.

PS In case you missed it, Floating World Projects was featured in TCE's annual catalog "Here, There, and Everywhere" in February!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Fête de Verre: FUTUR" for UrbanGlass

UrbanGlass- the New York-based glass center whose programs include GLASS Magazine, the Robert Lehman Gallery, and numerous workshops and classes- is holding its annual auction titled Fête de Verre: FUTUR through April 16. A collaborative piece from FWP artists is up for sale, and will first be exhibited along with a range of other lovely glass pieces (including sculpture, 2-D images, and jewelry) from March 22-April 9.

If you're in the New York area, check out the exhibition at Chashama! Or you can get a preview of the auction items here. The piece from Floating World Projects is titled "Beyoglu Series #3", composed of silkscreened enamel on glass (shown below).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Leo Tecosky at SVA's "Exit" Exhibition

From February 22-March 12, students in SVA's MFA Fine Arts program exhibited their thesis projects in the school gallery's Exit show. Leo Tecosky, founding member of Floating World Projects, showed several painted glass pieces, mixing bold, graphic colors with a geometric stencil style and mirrored backgrounds.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

TransCultural Exchange: Here There and Everywhere

Based in Boston, MA, the TransCultural Exchange is a nonprofit committed to promoting artists and arts organizations with international focus. They sponsor exhibitions and educations programs all over, and publish annual catalogs collecting together some of the best artists and pieces.

This year, Floating World Projects was included in their catalog Here, There and Everywhere: Anticipating the Art of the Future, which compiles the works of collaborative groups working across borders and cultural divides. Art made by FWP artists for "Invisible Cities"- a major effort that combines glass sculpture, music, and video to be exhibited in 2011- is featured.

You can purchase the catalog here (bottom of page).

And you can keep up with happenings at the TransCultural Exchange through their blog.

Monday, February 7, 2011

FWP YouTube Channel

Floating World Projects now has a YouTube channel, where you'll be able to see clips from our "Road to Hebron" documentary as well as music videos. Subscribe to keep updated on videos we're posting!

Below is a rough trailer for the film.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Interview: Tan Kurttekin's Story

For this month's newsletter (you can sign up at the right!), we wanted to shine a focus on photographer Tan Kurttekin, who served as director of photography for documentary filming in Hebron. I asked him a few questions about his background, how he joined Floating World Projects, and what it was like filming in Jerusalem and Hebron. He gave a great overview of his introduction to photography, his experiences in art school, and eventual team-up with FWP, so I'm posting his response in full here:

When I was 15 I attended a class of photography in high school, and I could insist my parents buy either buy a camera for me or I'd borrow my father's very old "Zorki 3C" Russian replica of "Leica III" from WWII at last.

very Saturday I was visiting flea markets in Istanbul where Russian goods were sold, like time-expired color slides, cheap negatives, darkroom equipment, and lenses. (At that time the U.S.S.R was resolved and they opened their borders for trade.) The materials were so cheap I had the opportunity to experiment with them, resulting in photos with poor quality, faded colors, and lots of production failures. I was so interested in shooting long exposures at night and developing black and white negatives by myself. There was no digital photography in those years so playing with that material was lots of fun. When I used old color materials I obtained old cinematographic tastes from different eras, when I used new material the result was so different. I observed how people reacted when they saw the same photo taken with different materials and techniques. I understood the power and expression of the photographic image so when I was 18 I decided to study photography at Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul.

It was not as fun as I expected- everything was so serious, disciplined and boring! I was good at technical photography but the artistic and documentary tasks we were asked to do had no sense of humor, they were all repetitive. So I quit school. I worked as an assistant for professional advertising photographers for few years, while improving my digital skills with manipulation and retouching. Then I returned to school. After my first contact with real world I took school more seriously and finished my degree quickly.

After school, I met a photographer whom I consider to be my real teacher. He led to my first international working experience in the 50th Venice Biennale. He is an independent photographer, an intellectual, an architect, an art historian and one of the most cruel critics I've met. He is still into chemical photography and working with obsolete techniques. When I was working for him as an assistant he always gave me briefs  and explanations of what to achieve in our photographic compositions and what aims we had. He allowed me to try or discover varying solutions and methods by myself  - it was very encouraging! He gave me a motto: "I don't have projects in life, I do things." I try to do.

Then for five years I've been an in-house photographer for a local, 25-year-old top advertising agency. I started there because of my retouching and digital manipulation past. (photomontage). Rarely do we see photographers in agencies, I was lucky to work within groups of copyrighters, art directors, graphic designers, and print technicians. There I had experiences of top projects for big brands in Turkey, thanks to the guidance of Hakkı Mısırlıoğlu- our Creative Director in that period.

Advertising agencies are not preferred places for you if art is your primary concern but usually employees there have the most common talents of artists. There you can see examples of individual competition or pulling together as a team. Sharp timing, socializing and financial criteria have essential importance whatever you want to do. It earns you different points of view but sometimes being too analytical can dull one's artistic creativity. After 5 years of my very safe adventure of being constantly employed, I became a freelance still life photographer again, and I still am now.

In 2007 I met James via my very old friend Özgür. They met at Cam Ocağı (a private glass studio with a furnace in istanbul). James said "Merhaba Cam üflüyorum" ("Hello, I blow glass") in Turkish. It's the first thing I knew about him and we became friends around the time FWP was beginning. I met his colleagues and students from the US in Istanbul. I noticed his constant efforts to establish connections between global citizens from different backgrounds, countries, and disciplines. He was so encouraging to people who had ideas for working and creating collaboratively, motivating people to get together.  Every year he visited Istanbul, he made friends, he contacted people with portfolios- not only with glass and ceramic artists but also musicians, filmmakers, and sculptors.

One day I visited him when he was packing after a glass workshop at Mimar Sinan University, He asked me to take photographic documentation of works produced during the workshop, and I said Yes! As I was shooting the pieces, I asked questions about them. Every glass piece had its own story and technique, and I tried to emphasize the specialties of different works in my photography. At last I was so happy because they were so happy with results. So this was the beginning.

Later, when James was back in Istanbul from his Israel and Palestine trip he was smiling and excited. He was invited to Bezalel Academy of Fine Arts for Glass Blowing and also he had been to an extraordinary glass factory in Hebron in the West Bank and met great people there. He tried to work with their different techniques, then decided to come back soon and improve his way of glass blowing. He had many photos from the Hebron glass studio. At that time I was working as a camera man for a 58" music documentary for ARTE (German/French) television, so I asked him if FWP had plans for a documentary about what he is going to do in Hebron, and that's how the idea for "The Road to Hebron" was initiated. Then I was a part of FWP.

At the end of our first day in Bezalel Uni I felt really strange. I have always thought that I am a man of no prejudices and no fears of being discriminated against. I don't care about political disinformation. I like people smashing down borders and fears. But on the other hand, due to very delicate situations in the Middle East, I admit I didn't feel comfortable because of my nationality before I went there. Now I am proud of my decision to go. From the first moment on I was so welcomed by everyone I met. It was a shame for me but I just had those little fears.

When I was taking the footage in the glass department I tried to focus on the process of glass blowing and also the attention given by students, how they were instructed. I remembered my years of study with a fine arts faculty… the smell of the corridors between electric ovens, plaster mold facilities, students passing by with protective glasses and white stains on their clothes, carrying materials like drills, paints, etc., small exhibition openings. I tried to reflect their ambiance and what I felt. I also tried to help some students who wanted to take better photos of their recent works.

In Hebron it was completely different.

There these small glass factories have a different concept. Their production is for sale in piles. They are into traditional handcrafts. They are not students. They are not into contemporary art. Their taste in glass is so different. Their workflow is based on cost efficiency and speed, they burn wasted crude oil collected from car engines, they use recycled glass with a different consistency- their circumstances are so different.

Common things between Bezalel and Hebron were:
Experienced glass blowers feeling even the smallest glass piece put in the kiln is like their baby.
They are both in the same small region where glass blowing was born.

For the film, I took the journey of crude oil from cars to collecting cans and then to tanks' oil pumps, pipes, carburetors, and finally the furnace. After a while we start to see the rhythmic body movements of glass blowers in serial production of blown glass, followed by coffee and tea accompanied by Arabic music from an old radio. I can't say more than this before editing it properly but I think it gives the basic idea.

It's going to be mainly an FWP production. That's my aim. Guys from the US and Turkey doing non-profit work in Palestine and Israel. It sounds good! It can be an interesting source for people who are interested in the different methods of blowing glass between two cities only 45 minutes from each other. My other wish is that it won't be boring for non-glass blowers!

See Tan's Artist Spotlight.
Check out his website.