"As my plane landed in Istanbul, I could see a golden glow over the Old City, where sultans of the Ottoman Empire had walked many centuries before. I knew that this city had something in store for me."

The first time I came to Istanbul was when I was living in Paris for six years, working at a branding agency after finishing my Master’s degree in Paris. I had always looked at Istanbul online and found it absolutely fascinating. Almost 11 years ago, I bought a ticket on a whim and came on my own to learn how to make jewellery in the city’s legendary market, the Grand Bazaar. I felt instantly drawn to the Grand Bazaar. It was chaotic, bursting with history, animated by opportunity. I wanted to get right into the middle of everything and learn as much as I could. I felt welcomed, even though I think the ustas* were surprised to find an Australian in the middle of the bazaar every day for five years. The Grand Bazaar is very close to my heart. Even after spending so much time here, I still feel inspired by the vibrant energy of Istanbul. On a personal level, it represents a very important time of growth and creativity in my life. I will always return to Istanbul as a point of reference, a reminder of growth and change in my life and in the brand I’ve created that is always evolving day by day. @cleopatrasbling

*Usta: Craftsman.