IN CONVERSATION WITH ZEYNEP SEVERGE

Interview by Damla Bozoglu

In our series “In Conversation With” we talk with the young professionals of Istanbul and beyond. Up next, we had a little chat with the ceramic artist Zeynep Severge.

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Zeynep is the creator of amazing ceramics under her brand Severj. Her aesthetics, craft and artistry talents are something else. She inspires us to work harder by giving her full capacity to her craft and her attention to detail. Besides work, she is a great friend to talk to about anything, we are lucky to have her as our neighbor. You can visit her atelier by appointment or order her superb handmade ceramics via Instagram.

What's been the most personally rewarding part of building your business?

The most rewarding part is seeing how I can push myself to become the disciplined person who I never thought I'd be; working hard started to bring me inner peace. This part of my life is dedicated to learning every process of making ceramics and to practice more every day.

I have good and bad days like most of the people and the privilege of taking the day off in a non-productive way and not being responsible for anyone else but myself is also rewarding. But as good as it sounds, this also has become a hard thing for me to control because I lack self-discipline. So I could say being able to act as I want and facing its consequences accordingly is also a rewarding part of owning my own business.

When one loses the connection between the main goal and day-to-day activities, one can lack motivation. Do you set any goals to protect your energy?

Your faith in what you do may disappear too. I never worked that way before but one of the decisions I made was to set goals and check things off while proceeding towards that goal.

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Do you feel any pressure to succeed or get your name out there?

I am not an ambitious person by nature. Success to me is not related to being superior or better than other people. I don't compete with others, success is a personal matter to me.

Success also has a lot to do with being able to support myself and my craft. I want so much out of life; to see places and purchase the things I really want. I could live with a couch from IKEA but I want to admire what I own. I get excited by beauty; you can also see it in the decoration of my atelier. I love it when a ceramic end up beautifully.

My anxiety fuels my want for success as well. Thoughts like "What am I doing with my life" or "I need to be successful" are because of my anxiety. Some days it also holds me back from doing things. I am working on that, like so many other people.

What advice would you give to yourself?

"Calm yourself, it will all be just fine. You have worked so hard to be where you are right now and you are in a really good position."

My feet brings me to my atelier every morning, mostly in a hurry. Sometimes you can't realize what you got due to always looking ahead. I expect a lot from myself and I work hard for that reason. If you can step back and look at what you have accomplished, you can step away from the chaos and continue calmer.

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“Success to me is not related to being superior or better than other people. I don't compete with others, success is a personal matter to me.”

Are you too busy with work to realize anything else?

Too busy with work and with myself. But I don't want to sound like a struggling artist; everything is pretty fine with me right now.

What's next for Severj? 

I am aware that my craft is so specific. My audience and target market are narrow, at least in Istanbul. Because of this reason, I'd like Severj to expand abroad.

I'd like to use mixed materials and produce side products, such as mixing ceramic with different metals or glass-blowing. Furniture design has always been one of the top things I'd like to try.

Right now I am super focused with mastering what I am practicing. I am so excited for what life has to offer for me.