Founder of the Turkey’s first miniature sculpture workshop Neşeli Büstler Mustafa Saygın immortalizes the well-known faces of the culture and art world by his bust and miniature sculpture works. The biggest dream of Saygın, who has been working to open a very special exhibition that consists of 200 works in 1.5-2 years, is to prepare a special collection that consists of the busts or sculptures of the popular names abroad.

Being retired in 2010 after working for 20 years in the insurance sector, Mustafa Saygın has freed the love of art that he kept inside for years by founding the Neşeli Büstler Workshop. He is originally from Merzifon. He has been growing an interest in painting for years. After meeting with polymer clay, he aimed for plastic arts and opened the Neşeli Büstler Miniature Sculptures Workshop in Kadıköy.

Stating that the polymer clay is the chemical kind of natural clay, Saygın says, “How I met with this material was a coincidence and I thought that I could make different figurines using it. This material has a form that can be shaped easily and it is fun to work with. My first trials were the figurines of Sunay Akın, Haşmet Babaoğlu, Hıncal Uluç, and Nebil Özgentürk. My works had been praised during a culture and art show called Yaşamdan Dakikalar (Moments from Life) in 2010. I began to work from home thanks to the encouragement and then I opened the Neşeli Büstler Miniature Sculptures Workshop in 2011.”

All his works are ‘merry’
Saygın who is passionately attached to what he does now works 15 hours a day and he never complains. Saygın tells us about his style of miniature sculpting, “The main factor of my miniature works is that they are in forms of caricature and merry. In other words, I use the smiling poses of people who inspire me for my miniature sculptures as my models.”

It takes time to create the smiling expression
Saygın who works on the sculptures of famous names says, “I didn’t have someone to look after in Turkey since this field is very new in here. However, this art field, which has been popularized by famous people, is an important business sector in Europe and in America. If we look at it from the viewpoint of Turkey, I can tell that I am among the first artisans who create works special to this sector.”

It takes an average of 15 days to complete a work
Stating that he has been preparing for a special exhibition that consists of the miniature sculptures and busts of famous people, Saygın says, “This exhibit is going to have sections and the sculptures of the famous people are going to take place in these sections such as culture, economy, arts, and politics. I need a merry photo first to begin my work. This photo usually has two versions: profile and front. I prepare a frame according to the bust or sculpture. Then I dress the frame with polymer sac. Later I begin to work on the face expression using auxiliary materials. The body of the figurine begins to shape. Firing and painting follow the process. Each work usually takes about 15 days to be completed. Many muscles move, when we smile. That is why it takes that long to reflect that expression realistically.”

Branching out to foreign countries
Preferring not to make custom works if possible, Saygın says, “The goal of my workshop is not to create an income model for these types of works. I share my knowledge with the people who are talented and who like this field to popularize this art field in Turkey. I have trained 7-8 people until today. What I am doing now is not a retirement job for me. It is a different kind of passion…”

Approved by Department of Culture
Participating in different types of trainings on anatomy, sculpting materials, and various techniques to improve himself, Saygın says, “I had the privilege to become a ‘Traditional Turkish Handicrafts Artist’ in 2013 within the scope of Intangible Cultural Heritage Program of the Department of Culture and Tourism. My biggest dream in this field is to grow my existing collection that is focused on Turkish figures by including foreign figures into it. Later, I would love to open an exhibition abroad.”