Since the day I settled in Cebece inn, Master Rıza caught my attention the most. His shop resembled a ship in the sea with its appearance, display windows and interior decoration. Shop windows were !ike the ones in a ship. In front of his door there was a little table, which he had made by placing a glass top onto a rudder that was placed on an old fan. Inside, on the hardwood walls, there were the mirrors made from poıtholes, rudders, old hangers used in ships, propellers, various lamps, clocks, phones, ewers. At the way back he had a little, pretty organized and functional workshop. I always thought he looked like Popeye with his slightly gray hair and cigar that he never drops from his mouth. He was an absolute naval man. He did not smile or talk much. He was restless. He would either work or walk from the one side of the inn to the other. He was over fifty. He was a true aıtisan with his experience, his manner of having overcome all the aviclity, and his respect for his work. Although he was bom in Giresun, he met the sea in İstanbul. He immediately fell in love with it Perhaps, it was the sea which he shared all the stomıs of his childhood with. “I leamed swimming when I was six. Then, I leamed diving. The scubas were so expensive back then. I would dive with or without the scuba. I enjoyed fishirıg. I served asa frogman in the military. I was the best one among sixty people.” He did not teli me but I knew that he loved drinking, traveling, swirnming, and women, too. Whenever the news about a shipwreck arrived, he would immediately go. The things that seemed most useless would come to life in his hands. Miuors made from portholes had become something well known. One day a customer wants to buy a table made of a glass top onto a rudder that was placed on an old fan. The customer decides to pay a good amount of money to that table on which Master Riza worked too much. They agree on the price and the man hands him the money. But there appears a problem. The customer get<> charmed by the beauty of the table but does not consider its weight.
The man, after paying that much money, says to Master Rıza: “This is mine, I’ll come and pick it up later.” Even though seven years had passed, table stili waits for its owner. During the publishing of the Grand Bazaar Magazine, Burçak Evren, a journalıst for the magazine, also came to Cebeci Inn. To my surprise, she already knew Rıza Yüzbaşıoğlu. Four years ago she asked him the price of the old dirham and wanted him to hold it her. Master Rıza remembered Burçak Evren immediately. W e were all amazed when he went upstairs and brought the dirhams that he held for her. Sevin Okyay had written an article about Master Rıza in the magazine. The beli, which was hung in the middle of the shop and which I liked a lot, had caught her attention as well. It was an Old Russian naval beli. Its sound was very different from all other bells. According to Master Rıza, the difference was because of the different amalgarnations that the beli contained. Master Rıza had his own special customers. He used to make special illumination tools upon request. His map torches were very attention grabbing. After all, none of the lantems that he made would remain in the shop for long. His customers were mainly North Europeans, Americans, along with locals. I suppose, anyone who loves the sea would love Master Rıza and his merchandise. Actually, he is not very old in this business. Before, He was rurıning a gift shop at Yeşilköy Airport.
Then, he went to İzmir for a little w hile. He married a woman there, had a daughter. Then, he broke up with her and married another woman. They also got divorced. In 2003, he had a terrible experience and had brain hemon·hage. Now he is !ike an eagle whose wings had been hurt. His right hand does not operate much. He has difficulty in talking but it seems !ike he smiles more now. He says “Everything is vain, you shouldn’t Jet anything keep your mind busy” and embellishes his speech with curses since those are the kind of words he uses most easily. W e have all got used to his manners. We only wish that his right hand will begin to operate soon, so that he can start traveling again, delve into ship wreckages and returu to Cebeci Inn with his smiling face as if he had found a treasure. W e wish that he can surprise us again !ike the time when he made an umbrella stand out of an ice erearn tank. He was teliing us that before he used to dive for fishing but later he staıted to dive just for watching the fishes. It was him from whom we leamed how close copper, brass, bronze is to the sea. He made us understand what designing tıuely means. We got toknow the objects which came to life with the combination of the knowledge of metal, electricity, solder, intelligence and most of all, love. The magic of his labor that was nurtured by his heart impressed everybody. Cebeci Inn is a live museum that is constantly being refreshed. Each day, a new work of aıt goes on a new joumey. It is a place full of objects that visitors can watch, touch, love and buy if they like. Just like copper Master Nizarn and Master Tevfik, Master Rıza gives life to many idle objects. He sets sail to tl1e love of sea in his heaıt. Whoever wants to take a sea remnant or sea love to home, stops by his harbor? Master Rıza’s labor is blended with love. However, unfortunately day-by-day number of people !ike him decreases.