Micro-mosaics, as indicated by the name, are a special type of mosaics that use unusually small tiles. In Turkey, Fulya Oruçoğlu is a practitioner of this art.
After seeing the period’s best examples at an archeology museum, you would probably be tempted to wear a mosaic in the form of a necklace or bracelet.
Especially those with an interest in mythology might dream of this jewelry. A branch of art, micro-mosaics, transforms this dream into a reality. Perhaps because it is mainly used in the jewelry sector, it remains somewhat unknown. Forty-one-year-old Fulya Oruçoğlu is one of the important practitioners of this art in our country. What separates her from other micro-mosaic artists is that she makes her own mosaic tiles. She prepares a mud-like mixture that will be baked and cuts the mosaic tiles herself. To understand her level of interest and effort, you need only to look at her artistic adventure.
Her story began at the Pera Academy of Fine Arts in 2007. There, she received training in jewelry design. After which, she worked as an apprentice in her teacher’s workshop. Although she studied jewelry design at school, she truly developed her skill there. After completing her training, Fulya Oruçoğlu preferred to create jewelry prototypes from wax instead of directly making jewelry from metal.
While working in a small workshop in her home, she received an offer from an art studio and began to work there with micro-mosaics. After leaving the art studio, she continued to work with wax from her home. Her burgeoning interest in micro-mosaics led her to further her previous studies. Moreover, it isn’t a branch of art that is widely-known. Artists in Italy and London during the 1800s produced examples of micro-mosaics using cut glass. She scoured the Internet and the bazaars of İstanbul as research. Oruçoğlu then devoted all her working hours to micro-mosaics.
The five stages of micro-mosaics
Oruçoğlu creates her mosaics in five stages. Firstly, she decides on an image to create. She draws the image as she imagines it. Secondly, she transfers these images to the computer. In the third stage, Oruçoğlu makes the tiles. This stage is one of the most challenging. She begins by making a mud-like mixture of natural ingredients. The exact ingredients are known only to her. She then cuts the mud into the shape of mosaic tiles and bakes them at high heat. In order to prevent the tiles from cracking, Oruçoğlu keeps them in the oven until they are completely cooled. During the fourth stage, Oruçoğlu assembles the tiles according to her model. Finally, she pours grout over the micro-mosaics.
As the size of her tiles decreases, the price of the artwork increases. Oruçoğlu’s tiles can be even smaller than a grain of salt. At their largest, the tiles do not exceed one and a half millimeters.
Smaller the mosaic, the more expensive the artwork
Accordingly, her artwork can be as small as she desires. The cost of a micro-mosaic is derived not only from its size. The smaller the mosaic becomes, the more gold is used, and the more expensive it becomes.
Oruçoğlu mostly works with mythological themes. For instance, her latest project is micro versions of the mosaics in the museums of Antakya, Gaziantep, the Hagia Sophia and Kariye Müzesi (Chora Museum). Of course, if there are special requests, she will also work in different themes. Some jewelers in the Kapalıçarşı (Grand Bazaar) and Nişantaşı district have created jewelry from her designs.