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Directory Maker of the Week: Esna Su

Esna Su just won the h.Club 100 Award for Art, Design and Craft 

Our Directory Maker of the Week, Esna Su, talks to us about getting into making, what inspires her and her favourite part of the making process.

Who or what got you into making?
Well, I think my traditional Turkish and Arabic background has been the main influence on my craft. It started from a young age, preparing trousseaus which are to decorate the home of a new bride. It involves making beautiful and delicate laces, crochet and needlework. I remember when I was a child, women in my hometown would gather as soon as they finished household work and crochet around a circle whilst chatting. I'm always fascinated by the way craft socialises and brings people together.

Personally, I started making jewellery after I moved to England in 2009 and joined a jewellery making course run by Astrid Mahrer at Richmond Adult Community College. I decided to take the course as my life was very monotone and it needed some colour. That was followed by a foundation in Art and Design at the same college then BA Jewellery Design at Central St Martins.

Could you please tell us a bit about your work?
With my work I explore the issues of identity and how these are shaken in the context of political instability. My pieces were harnessed by heritage as I use traditional crafts such as weaving, crochet and knitting. Yet they mutate into sculptural pieces. Almost like a continuation of the body, their organic structure gives form to unseen layers of emotions, memories and sensations. Through irregular form and hollow shapes, the pieces are exposed as a burden of displacement but they also reflect an aspiration towards protection and preservation. 

What are your inspirations?
I think my frustration is what feeds my inspiration. In 2012, I travelled to my hometown Antioch after a long time and witnessed the struggle of Syrian refugees who have been forced to abandon their homes and flee the conflict, continuing their lives in isolated refugee camps. At that time, we were watching champions at the Olympic Games and on another channel we were seeing how many people had been wounded or died. Olympic Games meant peace and unity but in the 21st century we as humans failed to show this respect to each other. Everything carried on as normal. That abnormality forced me to create my pieces. 

What is your favourite part of the making process?
I absolutely love a material approach and experimentation which signs the a beginning of the new piece.

What are you working on right now?
At the moment, I'm working on my new collection which is based on travel-banned countries. This will be the third series of The Burden collection and the pieces will be presented at Sarabande:The Lee Alexander McQueen Foundation where I was an artist in residence for two years.