Turkey’s Nihal Erpeden brings us some seasonal shine with her Ottoman series of necklaces. Although when Ottoman is mentioned, I usually think of something to put my feet up on, there is a whole rich history and culture that came out of the Ottoman Empire that we see the influence of but may not commonly associate with the Turkish conquerors or their long standing rule–from 1299-1923, well into the 20th century. That’s not so very long ago!
The interesting thing for art that comes out of the expanded rule of a single culture is the integration of other cultures into the aesthetics of the conquering society and vice versa, of course. Decorative arts from the Ottoman Empire bear the flourish and filigree common in the Turkish culture’s history but also integrated motifs from Persian, Greek, and Byzantine art over the years they ruled in those areas. That makes for a very rich and diverse source of imagery, color and design to draw inspiration from as Nihal has done here.
Both past and present cultures, espeically those we aren’t very familiar with can be a tremendous source of ideas and imagery to integrate into your own artwork. Dayle Doroshow wrote a wonderful article in the present Winter 2013 issue of The Polymer Arts on the influences of past culture with ideas on how to draw from them to give new direction and complexity to your work.
As you know, if you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, I strongly encourage all artists to look outside their discipline for inspiration as it will keep your work and the community’s work fresh and ever expanding. The same goes for looking outside your own culture. When you’re feeling uninspired or think our work is getting stagnant, look outside of what you know, of what you are familiar with. Find something new that gets you excited. Our brains crave novel experiences and information. Feed your brain and you’ll feed your creativity.
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