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Vesile Yilmaz

I was born in the cradle of civilization, a small city in ancient Mesopotamia, now called Urfa and located in Southeast Turkey.  Growing up in my extended family, I used to listen to stories from my grandmother under the stars of the night sky about strong women who were not afraid to unfold their destinies yearning for education and dreaming about far, far away lands.  Maybe it is those stories that gave me the courage to go to college, complete my masters and move to Australia in 2012. My nomadic side could not resist the urge to go see new places, meet new people and spread my passion to others around the world, and I ultimately found myself living in Wisconsin, America. 

There are so many wonderful traditions in Turkish culture.  The evil eye is a common symbol, and we decorate our houses and sometimes trees with them to keep them safe and protected. Also, there are so many seasonal traditions.  For example, at the end of winter a straw witch dressed with old clothing symbolizing the past year is placed on a bonfire and burned to ashes.

In Turkey, I grew up in a village and thus I always turned to nature for all of my creative needs. I remember making bride and groom dolls from the dried seed pods of poppy flowers.  Similarly, we would recycle our old clothes and cut them into strips to wrap them around "t" shaped sticks to make our "worry dolls."  I was fascinated by earth pigments and I made my own watercolors from the plants and flowers from our backyard. 

I have always enjoyed being creative, and today I am an ebru water marbling artist.  Paints and brushes are my favorite materials to work with.  I make my own horse-hair brushes; tieing them on rose wood requires a lot of practice!  Similarly, I crush my own pigments and constantly adjust them so that they float on the water.  I feel like a scientist in a lab, trying to find the perfect formula! 

I believe that every person is a universe.  I would like to inspire young people to discover what is hidden in each universe.  Fostering their curiosity, and instilling a life-long learning passion, is the most valuable skill that we can teach to our children.  Ebru art is the small-scale representation of our macro cosmos; it is a stage that we can observe the way nature creates unique forms continuously.  An infinite source of creativity and beauty, dynamic and constantly evolving.  Everyday opens a door to a new universe.  

Vesile Yilmaz
Vesile Yilmaz