I travelled to Kutahya which is the centre of ceramic and porcelain production in Turkey. The town has a long history with the Ottomans taking control in 1428. Tile workers from Tabriz in Iran were resettled here and in Iznik in 1514 and it became the centre for the Ottoman ceramic industry.
While there are large factories producing porcelain (I was reliably informed that the industry is controlled by one family who are amongst the richest in Turkey), ceramic work is done in small unsigned studios. Each studio supplies its wares to specific customers and I got to see three different ones. There is production line precision to the entire process (with specialist potters, painters and kilns) but what remains is the freehand painting done by the artists. Magical to watch and stunning when completed! I particularly like the traditional iznik pattern tile panels (there is something about those tulips…
Posted in Turkey
Tagged artisans, ceramics, chicken soup, food, helvaci sabri, iskender kebap, iznik, kutahya, ottoman, porcelain, tabriz, tiles, tulips, turkish delight, vases
The day passed in a whirl (although not of the dervish variety). Made two separate trips to the Grand Bazaar for multiple meetings and in the process manage to see quite a lot of the bazaar and its many interesting architectural features. When I was here last I remember being completely overwhelmed by it all. This time around, I have found it much easier. Everyone speaks some amount of English and are incredibly helpful, so if you ask for directions you get there faster than by looking at a map!
Met a vendor who makes gorgeous Ottoman lamps in every shape and colour. Watch this space.
And of course I managed a Gözleme (Turkish spinach pancake), Adana kebap, some Ayran (equivalent of the Indian buttermilk) and baklava meant for queens (and kings!) while weaving my way in…
I had arranged to meet someone who was to introduce me to several vendors and we started at 9:00am little realising we would be on our feet till 9:00pm! A long but very fruitful day.
We started by meeting a master craftsman who is famous for making Sikke hats and has made the ones for the tomb of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi (‘c’ pronounced as ‘j’ in Turkey) in Konya. I discovered that feltmaking is actually quite difficult as it involves opening up the wool, laying it out with the end object in mind, applying just a touch of soapy water and then rolling it in reed mats. The end products are very impressive and I now have my eye on both Turkish and Kyrgyz felt for the Arastan collection.
We also met several carpet vendors. Turkey has always been a trading point…
Posted in Turkey
Tagged anatolia, artisans, capes, carpets, feltmaking, kayseri, kilims, konya, mevlana celaleddin rumi, saudi arabia, sikke hat, suzanis, tree of life, uzbekistan