Glass bead artisan Sertaç Bayraktar melts colorful glass rods and designs many special glass beads with unique stories. He tells that he is going to take important steps in the aim of transforming Polonezköy Glass Art Center that he plans to open in February 2015 into a school that gives certificates approved by the National Department of Education in five years. His target is to increase the number of educated glass bead artisans. Glass bead artisan Sertaç Bayraktar states that he has met with art of glass during his internship following his graduation from the Department of Stone and Metal Management of Milas College in Muğla in 1999. Bayraktar says that he has learned a lot from his master Arşak Özben. He has created a small workshop at his balcony after he has completed his military service in 2001. This was how he began glass bead production. Sertaç Bayraktar who has opened a bijouterie in Fikirtepe, Istanbul in 2005 moved his shop to Merdivenköy after growing his business and later entered wholesale. Training people in mandrel and glass bead fields at Kadıköy Adult Education Center between 2006-2012, Bayraktar states that he was registered with the Department of Culture and Tourism in 2011 and as a workshop they have participated in many social responsibility projects within this scope. They have opened 14 glass workshops since 2009. They are going to open Polonezköy Glass Art Center in February 2016. Sertaç Bayraktar says, “We are going to focus on making glass beads and trinkets at this center heavily. We are planning this art center, which is going to cover a 2.5-acre plot, as a social center. We are going to offer special workshops. We are going to conduct our activities in a more peaceful environment under the walnut trees and next to our glass pool.”

Designs products with stories
With the goal of handing down this art the next generations, Sertaç Bayraktar emphasizes that they are going to work with Beykoz Girls Vocational School: “The most important way to make this art wide spread is to speed up the educational process. Many people who live in Beykoz have someone in their families or among their friends who is interested in this art. Our biggest goal is to enlarge this number and protect this spirit in Beykoz. Our biggest dream is to turn Polonezköy Glass Art Center into a school that gives certificates approved by the National Department of Education in five years. We are going to work with universities to turn this dream into reality.”

Trained 15 artisans
Sertaç Bayraktar has trained 130 students until today and 15 of them are working as glass bead artisans now. Bayraktar highlights that they work hard for 12 months and they earn money in summer by selling what they produce all year. Bayraktar adds that they mostly export to America and Europe. He draws attention to their wish to make products with stories and says, “We focus on patterns that coincide with our traditional figures but also in harmony with today’s modernism. Our models such as tulip, evil eye, Fatima’s hand, spring branch receive great interest.”

5 defective beads out of 1000
Giving important tips about glass bead production, Sertaç Bayraktar says, “The most seen problem with glass bead production is the breaking of the products that you’ve made. So, if you want to prevent that, you have to bring the whole object that you are making to the same temperature, every part of it, and then wait for it to cool down slowly. If one side of the bead that you’ve made is cold and the other side of it is warm, then it will definitely break. We cool down the beads that we make in 13 kg of cork dust. This cools down 1000 beads at the same time. We rest the beads that we made that day in cork dust, and remove them one day later. Usually we get only 5 defective beads out of 1000. We use glass rods when making glass. We prefer to use carbonated glass with over 120 color options. We can make about 20 ladybugs out of a 110 cm longglass rod. The fire from the tube doesn’t come out straight, so we use oxygen machines. This way fire comes out like a nail, preventing small injuries to our hands. We melt the glass rod using this fire and then wrap it around steel rod. We spread ceramic powder to the tip of steel rod. When the shaping is done, we let the beads rest in cork dust.”

Thinking out of the evil eye
Bayraktar who says that they design 300 thousand beads in a year and they distribute most of them in Istanbul highlights that if we want to make more of this art we should go beyond only making evil eyes and design touristic glass items that reflect the traditions of different regions.