“It is difficult to describe Hande… She is a good example of being an HumanFlower with her mischievousness, her laughter like no other, her boundless joy and deep reflections accompanying her enthusiasm. She looks at the world and within herself; never passes without playing with the materials she finds and definitely invites his surroundings.” (*Hande: (The laughing, laughter))
Compiled by Assoc. Prof. AYGUN DINCER KIRCA, MSFAU
Image 1. Hande Buyukatli, Facebook home page.
We lost our Hande, without even having an idea what's going on…
While I was mourning on my own as a colleague from Ceramic and Glass Department, I've read thoughts and memories about her from those close to her, leafed through her daybooks and discover her inner world closer in her computer, I saw that; she's not here physically anymore but will grow bigger and live in everyone she touched. This article is focused on her academic life in brief from the words of those who got to know her in this period of time because we cannot fit the life of our friend of many parts into lines and pages.
Born in Istanbul in 13th November 1981, Hande Buyukatli has always had a successful education life. This success has not only show itself in lessons but particularly in human relations. Her mother who was also her teacher in secondary school years, Gonul Buyukatli has repeatedly witnessed other teachers saying “only Hande can handle this!” when there's a task to deal with.
She started Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, Industrial Design Department, Industrial Products Design Program in 1999 and graduates from there in 2003. The teacher of the Ceramic Design Class she took in ITU says “she was my student then became both my colleague and friend. She maintained her success, assertiveness and researching manner in her academic life in MSU too. I will not be able to forget her saying come in miss. whenever I pass by her room in MSU...“ when she was talking about her.
She works as a designer in a private company between 2004-2007, enrolls to Marmara University, Production Management and Marketing Master Program in 2005 and 2006 but leaves it half-finished. In 2009, she graduates from the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Social Sciences Institute, Ceramic Design Thesis Master Program which she has begun in 2006, with her thesis titled “Use of glass material in tile and kerb production".
In 2007, while proceeding in her master's degree, she has become one of us as a Research Associate in Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Fine Arts Faculty, Ceramic and Glass Department. Our Head of Department who has witnessed the history of the 1929-founded department since 1977, has expressed his sorrow with the following words: “Our department lost one of its' staff in duty for the first time. Taken from us by a cruel disease, Hande means special to me too”.
Image 2. In the graduation ceremony.
In one part of her doctorate in the MSFAU Institute of Science, Industrial Design Program which she has begun 2010, she has been in Universita Degli Studi di Camerino, Italy (February - August 2012) with the Erasmus Student Exchange Program. She leaves the department she was studying in 2014 and graduates from the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Fine Arts Institute, Ceramic Design Proficiency in Art Program in 2019, with her thesis titled “An Evaluation of Creativity-Game Interaction in the Field of Fine Arts for Undergraduate Education”. But of course this is her brief background.
But essentially, Hande has expressed herself as below in a panel organized by ETMK in 2013;
“Hello to everyone;
Before I begin my speech, I want to clarify a thing if you excuse me. I'm actually not an industrial designer. As a matter of fact, the industrial designer title has been used so far only in my diploma by ITU which I have graduated from, I have a statement even in the university like "I'm not going to be an industrial designer". I worked as a designer but I have never made any industrial designs in my life except my internships.
Like my teacher Ozlem (Er) mentioned, I participate in exhibitions with some of my glass works but I cannot label myself as an artist. I just have some compliance in that matter because I have difficulty of definition. To me, being an artist is a big word and a very different discipline.
What's left in my hands is only the research associate identity and that is if I have to categorize myself under a professional group...”
“You know those people who draw your attention at first glance with their flare and energy. ... When you say Hande, things that come first are her energy and laughter, but Hande was color at the same time... One of the shiniest and colorful design classwork I remember was hers and she has made the Taskisla center garden of tiny colorful beads on a paper bigger than A3 I think; precisely because of that our Basic Design Teacher had named her the "Beady Hande"... And she spread this color of hers to everyone around her, everything was shinier with her... There were always projects on her mind, she was always mentioning about her students and dreaming of her own workshop someday in the future... She was the person who loves her job the most and makes it with love the most that I know thus far... So much that I was willing to take a time off my job and attend her class like a student... I couldn't fulfil this but I'm very happy for there's a lot of students whom she has touched the life of and I believe she will be smiling to us again in their projects sometime...”
Examples of Hande's works colorful like her which she calls "some of my glass works" where design and art come together;
Image 3. 4 Elements, Lighting Design, 50x50 cm. glass&Stainless Steel& LED, 2009.
One of the important works of her art life, was the works she had done with the "Floating World Projects" artist community. "Hande's perspective told us the utterly different states of many objects which we usually see as ordinary. Her enthusiasm has always had a positive effect both on her works and on us and been encouraging in our works." Our department friend from the same community has evaluated Hande's stand today; “…she had created a profile of an 'academic teacher' who combines areas such as design, creative drama and game, has made various tryings in art alongside proficiency studies in art and has a wide perspective as a consequence of all these...”.
Image 4. (a)Exit; New Way, Fusion, (b)“New Way”, Fusion, (c)Taslicay street sign, 2011 FWP NY City
“I give an ear to cities... I hear a city saying "welcome" sometimes and "you're not from here" other times while I'm touring the streets of a city.” Hande.
You will encounter the “why not?” question, not only in her works and designs but in her articles, panels she attends and even while just talking with her. She tries to particularly touch on matters no one else gives an inch to work on. For instance; her published or unable to be published memorandum titled “Raki Glasses from Taverns to Online Tables” and “Being a Metaphor on Raki Bottle; A Qualitative Study on Consumers' Way of Perceiving Raki and Raki Packages” which I found when leafing through her daybook, and the text below which I can hear the questioning voice of Hande;
“Actually I don't do those kind of things but... if I'll be taking a pen and a paper and 1 bottle of beer in my hands, let's see what would I write. Mine is just curiosity and my desire is to make one that won't kill the reader down.
I would write; you know there's this state of an academician getting in me... so what I would aim at first is to make this article a series maybe.
“Once upon a time, there's a planet right in this time of ours and the species living on this planet, the two-legged being called human, consumes one hundred and thirty five billion liters of beer each year” Tom Robins.
Hundred and thirty five billion liters … the author writes down to everyone to search it on internet if you don't believe. So this beer is also worth being researched - the researcher in me - and written on as well as being worth drinking and these things written on it are worth sharing with others. Humans (humanity) love and drink it for centuries, so it's our duty to chatter about it. Pardon me, but the things I write is not because I know a lot, …
…I need to look who else have been beered where by Tom Robins's beer book. For instance, Milan Kundera; makes Suzan drink beer in his book "The Book of Laughter and Forgetting". Whatever, my first article for this week will maybe be a look to beer from afar. In the sequel, "being a lug on the beer glass" or "putting a lug on the beer glass" never underestimate the lug mate! Although 'putting a lug' is used with a negative meaning, that lug has a function, a work-out on that glass. Will there be an article on beer glass lugs? Maybe there will but I'm not sure whether it will be read. Let's just try it or take everything from the beginning...”
“It's hard to tell Hande... With her prankyness, laughter unlike anyone else's, deep thinking that accompany her joy and enthusiasm, Hande is a good example of being a Flower Human. She looks at the world and her inner world; she never stops without playing games with the materials she finds and definitely invites those around her. For me, interaction is what she fed upon the most both in friendships and in her works. Passing to each other is a thinking practice for her. She has expressed it many times that she develops her thoughts in these moments. Maybe it's because she's a very good listener, you feel understood, throw away your burden and become transparent while you're talking with Hande. I wonder if she turns us into glass?... ”.
Image 5. “Gezi Park” (No Cops Allowed, Resist Peace…),
Color From Turkish Art, Kostence Art Museum, Romania, 2013.
In her academic life, she has come into contact with people choosing this profession from many different disciplines. Some of Hande's works has been exhibited in Balkan Countries. Her Romanian painter friend who has attended these exhibitions together with Hande, describes Hande with these word; “A good, hardworking researcher in love with her branch of art, an academician patiently explaining what she knows, establishing good relations with teachers and students and willing to make changes in her own field...”.
“An honest, hardworking and productive person is a value. And Hande Buyukatli has created a value and success has followed her...”
Between 2013-2014, in the Istanbul Development Agency project titled "Carrying Cesmibulbul as a Cultural Symbol", she has been assigned as the Assistant Coordinator of the Project.
“…Together with Hande, we made use of the product design in the reassessment project of Cesm-i Bulbul in Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (MSFAU) and made the students to make innovational projects. She made important contributions in the collaboration of Istanbul Technical University and MSFAU. Hande was a friend of mine in my personal life. She has exchanged views with me during her doctorate study in her researches in USA and honored me…”
In our department which adopts an inter-disciplinary study environment, Hande wasn't the first person who joined us from the ITU Industrial Design Department. “For we came from the same discipline with Hande, working together was very precious for me. Talking the same language, being able to exchange thoughts and consult with, encouraging me for innovations which I cannot go bold with, the existence of my dear colleague and friend, have always made me feel safe.”
Image 6. MSFAU, Fine Arts Faculty, Entrance Aptitude Exam, Exam Board, 2016.
As a person who loves team work, she served in the entrance aptitude exams board of our University between 2013-2016. “Hande showed all the tasks so easy that they weren't seeming like works at all. Because working was becoming extraordinarily productive when coming together with Hande's wit, positive and joyful manner. But above all, Hande's good and conscientious heart has influenced me and surely everybody.”
Image 7. Coexistence Exhibition, 2020.
Our friend Hande with a good and conscientious heart, has also participated the fundraising exhibitions with her heart and soul. This way, she had a hand in those students who we were able to give a scholarship during the pandemic. The last sentence of the petition she gave for the certification program she was planning to open in our Universities Continuing Education Center (CEC); “I kindly submit to your knowledge that I'm not claiming any pay from this course planned for 8 weeks and 24 hours and aimed at contributing to the creative progress of students" I think this gives you a better idea about her.
Image 8.(a) Hande, Ayca, Onder, (b) Ayşe K., Hande, Yesim, Ayse B., (c) Hande, Ayse K., Zehra, Ayse B.
Muharrem Sungur, Sinan, Hasan.
“…in the same room, same corridor, same workshop, same house, on the other end of the phone, in the most academical and non-academical situations... Sometimes we worked like mad and sometimes we were the laziest...”
She has always maintained her professional interaction with her friends from her university years.
“In our last meeting, Hande, with her enthusiasm of her own, said "How about we do something with you!". As a theoretical designer, I said “You're saying that let's write a memorandum or article?”. And she said “No, I say let's produce something touching the material!”. Hande has always been productive and her productivity was infectious. For her, being an academician was a profession that fits her the best and she was very happy with her students. Her eyes were always sparking when she was talking about what she did and is planning to do. She had always a new job to mature her artistic identity and a new idea to take her educator identity one step further…”
Catching "a different perspective" constituting the main theme of her proficiency thesis study, has showed itself also in her works.
Image 9. The Golden Era, 240x130 cm. 1012 pieces of ready-made glass form, golden luster (6000C), mirror, 2016.
“First things experienced may look eyeful; the dark side withinside the glows will be revealed only when enough amount of time elapses. Humanity have experienced many "golden eras". For some civilizations, the darkness of extinction came after the "golden" era. Distance - or time- will reveal all the truth.
A close look blends light with dark together”.
When she saw a subject she finds herself falling short of, she would immediately research and read, study and practice on it until there's nothing left to know about that subject. On the other hand, when there was a subject not drawing her interest, she would never get her hands on it. In short; “No one could make Hande do something she didn’t want”. She supported her adventure beginning with design in glass field, with her art works. As a Ceramic and Glass Department Teacher, she passed a summer term in 2018 in the workshop of her much beloved advisor teacher Irfan Aydin, in order to have knowledge on ceramics also. The glass jewelries she made while she was making fusion tryouts as a new-comer to the department, have lead Hande to establish her glass jewelry brand takiCAM. She has also begun to produce porcelain jewelry thanks to her experience she acquired in Irfan Aydin's workshop.
Image 10. Hande in the workshop environment, Her jewelry brand and jewelry examples.
In the Workshop studies organized by SERAM (Center for Ceramic Products and Practices), she has been assigned as the Workshop Runner within the context of the "Petr Stacho Workshop study" made under the MSFAU Vitra Art Studio's 2019 Activities. In the same year, she has finished the 1st and 2nd Phases of the Modern Drama Association's Creative Drama Leadership Training.
“…Hande Buyukatli has implemented disciplines and branches such as creative drama, play and psychology into the field of art and design and achieved a multidisciplinary perspective...
Image 11.(a)Hande with Petr Stacho (b) Hande and her thesis advisor
during the Workshop Study Dr. Lecturer Irfan Aydin
Image 12. In “Petr Stacho Workshop Study” Exhibition; Onder, Zehra, Ayca, Hande, Burak, Suleyman A. Belen, Ayse, Aygun, Sinan, Hasan.
While making the play-interactive workshop studies which contributes to her proficiency in art thesis study, she got the chance to meet with various teachers and student groups from various cities.
“Hande Buyukatli has used dramatization in her art education and was in the way of developing a new theory. She was a valuable researcher. When a variety of studies wasn't fitting with her goals, she leaves them and seek after right methods... Hande continued to have creative drama lessons after obtaining her doctor title. She was an artist open to learning who was showing courage for supportive, positive, logical, scientific and most importantly different thinking.”
“…She was an educator extremely open to sharing and innovations. She was feeding the professional knowledge she obtained with different disciplines, sharing this knowledge both with her colleagues and her students and became an academician who was opening new horizons. She was puzzling her brain out on fun learning and teaching issue in order to enhance the productivity of her lessons. As a result, with the thesis she wrote about the "game" activity's relation with "creativity", she has showed us how childlike is she as an educator…”
Image 13. Art and Environment Lesson from the Workshop Study she made within the context of her Proficiency in Art Thesis, 2019.
The people she was in touch with in her academic life are not only her teachers, academician friends or students. She has also managed to be a teacher respected and loved by everyone working with her in the department. “With a gloss of her own, vivacious, chirpy, big voice that make her unique and her childlike joy chaffing at the bit, she had a crystal clear, pure and steady character. It was impossible not to be wrapped up by her joy when talking with her. She was good-mannered, knew how to say the bad in a beautiful way...” “…You left us and our valuable students very beautiful memories. Maybe won't be as good as you... but it's my duty to look after the students you left us...”
“After finishing her proficiency in art study, Hande has come to a phase where she was able to use her energy and fund of knowledge way much better; because she has always been a person who contributes much to those around her in matters she could devote herself to. For this reason, (and trusting our friendship to some extent), I requested a lesson from her for postgraduate. First she had the excitement and drawback of those people who confide in their job, but then, just I thought, she carried out her creativity themed lesson with a towering energy and productivity. When she said that she wants to take students to this lesson also from her department, I understood that the job she was doing was really satisfying her and I was very glad...”
Students taking the "Creative Oriented Approach to Product Design" postgraduate lesson she lectured in Industrial Design Department and the In-Mold Glass Shaping", "Glass Fusion Techniques", "Glass Packaging Design", "Custom Glass Product Design" graduate lessons she lectured in our Department, have mentioned about Hande's ability to endear a lesson more than the lessons themselves:
“When we first got out of our lesson with her, I remember thinking and being surprised how an academician can be this curious about teaching. She was answering every question with great eagerness, discussing every subject frankly and always offering to learn together… We had half-finished subjects. While I was telling that every academician should definitely contribute to the literature, she was asserting just the opposite, and this subject has not finished yet...”
Image 14. With her students; Elif, Hande, Seranay, Ozne.
“…I would be taking her lesson in this last term but left it when I decided to continue online. Still I attended her first class and even a few words she said there have opened my horizon and made me apprehend what I want. I realized in that lesson that she was a gem for us. For we had communication only in administrative matters until then, I haven't had quite the opportunity to get to know her. Again in that lesson, she has said that she studied very hard to close the gap after her graduation because she didn’t know the value of time in her university years and now she loves her job so much. Teacher Hande's place in my heart became different for I also had the same feelings. I felt her close to me…”
“In the school, her laughters was coming before teacher Hande... Her laughs spreading joy all the time, were pulling us up and we were coming to that 'moment' no matter where our minds were. Her lessons have never been boring so that we were wishing it to never end. We were having joyfully lesson all together...”
“The memory that makes me smile the most was we giving a point to the day out of 10 at the beginning of each lesson. First she was making sure that everyone was in good spirits and then she was talking with us about what we do and watch new lately in that week. Every lesson was passing in a mood where we're discovering new things with a friend of ours. and she was sharing her life with us...”
“Teacher Hande is the embodiment of joy and energy for me. This is such a joy that it spreads around, wraps all the livings up and sheds light... I bid farewell to a soul who lived such beautifully, has been a hope for her students, cats and plants, not with sorrow but with love.”
“…You have been my glass teacher at first, then my dear friend, ally... Each time you came to the workshop you were saying "Let me get up, have so much jobs tomorrow"... Who knows!.. maybe you had way other tasks waiting for you...”
Image 15. Hande, with her students…
“No doubt I was going to teacher Hande's lesson with her every week, I feel very lucky to be able to had 1 term together, we were playing games at the beginning of each lesson, she was offering us two games and we were choosing one. In the last lesson she brought a bag of stones she collected from the coast and wanted us to choose one from the bag with eyes closed and feel that stone and then we exchanged the stones with other friends and tried to find our stone with our hands feeling it eyes closed. Another day we were playing a game where we hide the objects we see in the class everyday as 2 of us go out and come back to see if we can find out which objects are missing. Sometimes she chooses a word and wants us to say what the word means quickly without thinking. Of course there could be very absurd things and that was just what she wants, we being free... remaining in the flow and being able to continue the lesson in that state. She knew that when she does so, the lesson's energy is changing in a total new way and makes us to laugh at sometimes, feel embarrassed at sometimes and understand ourselves at sometimes. Teacher Hande was very much looking out for it, by the end of each lesson she was asking us to criticize her and say what are the shortcomings of that lesson, things we satisfied with or unsatisfied with. I'm sure she's feeling all of ours’s energy... Now the stone she left is still with us. The Last 2! lesson she created is still waiting in Teams. Books she recommended on the writing board are still there! Miss. Hande we love you so much, your energy is always with us”
“In her article which's not yet been published, titled the 'Writing Board' as an Online Sharing Area in Art and Design Education, she has offered to fill the gap of sharing in education caused by Covid-19.
Image 16. (a)A Department Meeting made online. (b)Writing Board, sharing area.
Established on Microsoft Teams, an online application that made it to our life in Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University with the pandemic, the action titled the 'Writing Board' where shares made are assessed over a student-participation team and use of source in online education model is discussed, has the quality of lighting the way for many educators.
After the farewell ceremony at our university, a spruce seedling that will always remind us of her was planted in the garden of his school, which she loved very much. Moreover; on the 140th anniversary of the establishment of our university her name was hung on the door of the workshop where she taught, and the exhibition "9 TOGETHER" is dedicated to Hande this year.
Image 17. Invitation for the "Coexistence 9" exhibition dedicated to the Researcher Dr. Hande Buyukatli.
“Her late period art works are quite meaningful. The works she created with a perspective questioning life and existence in her series named the "Nothing", has never been more meaningful than this. Hande's innovational educatorship, her memories and beautiful laughter in every corner of our university, are inherited to us. No matter how much we miss her, we will always remember her with those smiles at her face. Just like the meaning of her name”.
Image 18. “Nothing”, Tophane-i Amire, The Cistern Galleries, March-2022.
“I HAVE A SECRET. “NOTHING” All the words I couldn't say and every word that's not been said are "many"
Every emotion that's not been verbalized, grows bigger in nothingness. Nothing in fact bears a lot inside. There's nothing (there's too many) Behaving like there's nothing, to hide the many”.