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THE AYVALIK MOSAIC – Sarimsakli Atelier first week

So – I arrived in Ayvalik on Saturday Aug, 22 and settled for the weekend with my friend Tulya Madra. THE HOUSE that is supposed to host the Ayvalik Mosaic is further under renovation.


the garden bathroom that will host the mosaic is just being build

As it happened – Mustafa Salih – my first mosaic teacher (who already played a part in this story in lending me the hydraulic stone cutting machine), happen to have a holiday apartment in Sarimsakli. Sarimsakli is the longest sandy beach on the aegean coast and is 3km  south from the centre of Ayvalik.

Mustafa offered to help with the mosaic. So all the stones and ready fish figures were shipped to his house and when I arrived on Sunday, Aug 23 the Kargo already had been delivered and the workshop set up on his roof top overlooking a tiny bit of the sea.

One has to consider that there were about 80kg of goods that came from Gaziantep and that were damped on the street and 60 year old Mustafa carried it all up a tiny flight of stairs to his roof top!

We have a nice evening with him, his wife and sister and sister in law getting carried away in eating and drinking, so I only briefly explain to Mustafa that the next step would be to cut the discs of beige background lime stone into about 1x1cm tesserae suitable for the background.

On Monday I started my internship in Pergamon which is  50km from south-east of Ayvalik.


view from the town of Bergama onto the Akrolopolis of Pergamon

Coming back on Tuesday I realize that all the beige stone that were collected in the most treacherous terrain at the far east of Turkey and that we managed to cut at the last minute in the marble workshop in Gaziantep and then came all the way from there to Ayvalik,  was in the wrong size!

Mustafa had enthusiastically cut it all – but in about 2x2cm squares so that we now have to cut it again.  Cutting it again into smaller tesserae we will loose at least a third if not half of the material! How disappointed and angry I was with myself that I did not pay more attention to detailed explanation and just assumed he would know as the more experienced mosaic craftsman!

I decided to leave my internship and move back to Ayvalik and not leave my precious work in the hand of others without being there.

It took me the rest of the week to get over the shock and find more similar colored marble. In the end I decided to use also the marble of our kitchen floor.

Mustafa saw the damage, helped collecting more similar colored marble from nearby marble dealers and after some discussion agreed to cut all the material for the background.


It is now necessary to cut ALL the material for the background as I we will use  6 slightly different tones and texture of stone . It all needs to be cut and mixed before we start using it in order to avoid patches of the same color and get an even mix.


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