FK chats to Beste from unique and creative sculptural label Beste Ogan Design.
Tell us a bit about Beste Ogan Design and what products we can expect to discover?
Beste Ogan Design is the business that stemmed from finally following my life-long dream of creating and making beautiful, timeless, functional objects. It’s at its infancy so currently it only consists of myself but my husband has been an amazing support.
Currently I have a range of ceramic tableware called TABAK (meaning both ‘plate’ and ‘leather tanning’ in Turkish), which mimics distressed leather, and a table lamp called FUSE, which unites plywood and porcelain. I make and finish every single piece myself. I developed both in the second half of 2013. Through many tests and trials, they have grown to their current forms.
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
Although I’ve always loved making things, up until 2010, I was a businesswoman managing the Istanbul operation of an international packaging company. Then the Global Financial Crisis happened. Coupled with some family problems, life as I knew it became unbearable. I found my escape in an interior design course, which soon encouraged me to believe that it wasn’t too late to follow my life-long dream and start anew. I just finished my Masters degrees in Design and Art at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW. For 2.5 years I disappeared and re-found myself in the ceramics studio and the wood workshop. This is my second shot at life from a completely different angle and I’m loving it!
What inspires your work? and what keeps you motivated creatively?
I’m usually inspired by the materials themselves – especially natural materials like wood, leather, glass, pebbles, leaves, etc. I cherish the beauty of their organic forms, their honesty and unpretentious simplicity, and the tactility of their patina as they age. I always seek to replicate that tactility and sensuality in my work.
Having started late in this profession, I feel that I have a creative motivation that will last me a lifetime!
What is your workspace like? and what is your creative process?
I’ve been very fortunate to have a spot in a studio with two brilliant ceramicists, who have given me amazing support and mentorship. (You both know who you are so thank you again for everything!) The building houses many other creative studios as well. Working among other creative people, sharing experiences and bouncing ideas with them have been incredibly rewarding and inspirational, for which I am truly grateful.
My creative process involves a lot of experimentation and brainstorming. I basically live and breathe with an idea for a while, turning it around in my head every which way. Once I have a somewhat clear picture of what I’d like to achieve, I start prototyping and testing. It’s all very hands-on and exciting.
What do you love about working with clay and what are some of the challenges?
I love the endless possibilities a lump of clay can become in a matter of days and that I can do the whole process from prototyping to the final product myself using just my hands and a few basic tools. I love the natural creative process. I lose sense of time and place as I pour my heart and mind, and watch it take shape in my hands. It’s my meditation. But clay is also a very unpredictable, variable material. Opening the kiln to find warped pieces or to find a completely different outcome despite previous testing is quite frustrating. Whenever I get too frustrated with clay, I turn to wood. It’s a great contrast, a beautiful balance.
What can we expect to see from Beste Ogan Design in the future.
I’m working on expanding TABAK a bit more with new shades and a couple of more sizes. I love working with clay and wood together so my latest project combines stoneware and bamboo. I also have an idea for another range of tableware, which I really would like to follow up on. But I don’t want to give away too much at this moment.