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From the Ottoman Empire to Canberra: trying a Turkish Mosaic Materclass

Turkish mosaic lamps have a long history that has evolved into the modern day. Influenced by the Ottoman Empire and Islamic art, these ornamental lamps are something to behold. Turkish mosaic lamps traditionally have bold-coloured glass tiles arranged in geometric motifs and are adorned in copper hardware. When lit up these lamps reflect beautiful patterns onto their surroundings.

I have admired the ambient lighting and beautiful designs for years, so, I decided to try my hand at making one of my own. I attended a pop-up class with ArtMasterclass in Canberra where we learnt the techniques necessary to create a mosaic lamp masterpiece.

At the beginning of the class, we were warmly welcomed by our instructor Gocke. Gocke had a calming and exuberant energy. It was contagious and contributed to the amazing vibe in the room. 

We began by picking our design template and lining the mosaic tiles to them. There were thirteen patterns to choose from ranging in size and complexity. I chose a simple six-star design as I was confident I could make this look good. Some of the other patterns had intentional gaps between the tiles which I thought would be difficult to transfer onto my lamp. The first real challenge came in choosing a colour scheme. I changed my colours five times but finally decided on red, light blue and dark blue with a mirror tile. 

Small, diamond shaped, blue, glass  tiles arranged in flower pattern. 
The background is a piece of paper with orange, red and brown tiles scattered around. There are design templates seen.

Everyone was excited to be there. There was chatter at every table. We were all asking for advice on our colour palettes and designs and were sharing our opinions.

My favourite part was glueing the tiles to the lampshade. It was incredibly satisfying to see the progression of the pattern. I wish I could do this step again.

Rounded glass sphere with blue tiles arranged in flower pattern.

The tiles are hand-cut so they don’t fit together perfectly. Remembering this took away any pressure to be perfect as they aren’t meant to be.

This class was perfect for a beginner as all the steps were laid out. The tiles were all separated by colour and type, you were given design templates to use and the explanations of how to do each step were easy to follow. Gocke was happy to give advice on the placement of designs, complementary colour palettes or how to fix something we weren’t happy with. 

After gluing hundreds of tiny beads to my lamp it was time to let it dry, grout it and dry it even more. Finally, the time came to turn it on. I could not be happier with how it turned out.

Lamp turned on, sitting on wooden surface, reflecting colour onto white wall. The lamp has a flower pattern with the colours (from inside to out), red, light blue, mirrored and dark blue.

After the amazing experience I had at my first Art Masterclass, I am certain that I will attend more in the future. I would recommend this activity as a gift, a crafty date, something to do with friends or as a special treat for yourself. 

ArtMasterclass are expecting to run the next class in Canberra in the second half of the year, so keep your eyes peeled! In the meantime DIY kits are available.

I think it’s time to make another lamp!