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The Timeless Art of Turkish Ceramics (In Turkish)    
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Today’s A Journey through Aesthetic Realms will be presented in Turkish, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

We come from a culture with multiple roots. During the Hittite period, the mud was shaped in the best possible, the most beautiful way. In the works that we create, we are inspired by the Hittite and Phrygian forms.

Welcome, exquisite viewers, to A Journey through Aesthetic Realms on Supreme Master Television. Turkey has a continuous history of ceramic arts dating back to as long as 8,000 years ago. During the Hittite Kingdom in 1400 BCE, the making of pottery and ceramic ware reached an unprecedented height. Its influence on the design and manufacture is still evident on Turkish earthenware today.

Blessed with an artistic heritage and rich resource of raw materials, the Turkish ceramics sector has grown tremendously in the past decades, with quality merchandises exported to many countries around the world. In today’s show, we will visit a family-based workshop named Güray Seramik, located in Cappoadoccia, central Turkey. It is operated by 5 master artesans and a team of 70 supporting specialists. Let’s meet Mr. Tamer Kankal, master of ceramics and manager of Güray Seramik.

I would like to welcome you in the name of the Güray family. We have been in the business of the art of pottery and ceramics for around 200 years, conveying this art form and introducing it both in and outside the country.

We also have the pleasure of meeting the ceramic master Mr. Aydin Afacan, painting artist Mr. Noyan Yayla, as well as master of red and white clay ceramics, Mr. Suat Aldağ.

Hi, my name is Noyan Yayla. I was born in İstanbul. I studied at Marmara University, Fine Arts Faculty, but I started painting thanks to my father. My father, I think, is an important painter; his name is Uğur Yayla.

I started at the age of 12 with my father’s encouragement. And I have been doing this job for 16 years.

The first step in the art of making pottery and ceramics is to prepare the clay.

In this part of the workshop, they are working on preparing the red mud pie.

It is stirred in pools shaped like this with water, then kneaded and remolded until it becomes like dough. After it is put to rest for three, four days, this mud comes out inside this machine.

The stones inside this are crushed. And later, our mud is put through inside this machine. The purpose here is to get rid of the air bubbles inside. The mud from which we took away the air bubbles comes out like this.

And then, this mud, inside of plastic bags, so it can go through some kind of fermentation, is kept for about three, four months.

After several months of storage, the mud pies can be used for shaping various styles of pottery products on a lathe.

There are various techniques for pottery making. One of them is the mold method. We are using the plaster as the mold. One of the most important characteristics of this is that it absorbs the water. This plate that our master created, along with its mold, is put aside so that it can dry out. At the end of these two days, our plate is separated from its plaster mold. And later, it is left alone to dry by itself naturally, for about 15 days.

And these products that are put to rest are later baked in the oven at 950 degrees [Celsius].

The difference between pottery and ceramics consists of both the starting materials and the process of creating them.

Let me give you some brief information regarding how we obtain the white mud which we use in the making of the ceramics. The most important difference that distinguishes it from the red mold is the various minerals that we add inside. The two most important ones are quartz and china clay. Quartz makes the product more durable after the baking and improves its quality. China clay is the material that gives the white color to this clay.

Off the lathe, the ceramic objects are allowed to dry for 3 to 4 weeks instead of 15 days. Then they are baked for 8 hours in the furnace at 1040 degrees Celsius, 90 degrees higher than the temperature used for pottery. Another 8 hours are needed for the heated products to cool down slowly in the oven. The baked artifacts are checked to screen out imperfect items before being passed to the decoration artists.

First, the pattern is roughly outlined on the plate. This is freehand work. Later, there is the coloring process. Here, clay-based paints are used. These products are coated with a material called glaze. Inside this glaze, there are materials such as granulated glass. As you can see, the pattern lays beneath this glaze.

And, it is baked again for the second time at 950 degrees. And here, this material which we call glaze melts down and becomes transparent, thus forming this glassy layer. Due to the quartz which is in the mud, and the quartz which is the glaze, after the baking process, our products become much more durable.

The richness of Turkish ceramic arts is reflected in the colors, patterns, and forms of the products.

The colors, we will see at first, are blue and white. And these are works which date back from the Seljuk period. It is cobalt blue. In nature, it can easily be found.

Colorful works can be classified as gillyflower, tulip, rose motifs, tree of life motifs, and later on, 16th and 17th century Ottoman miniatures.

Images on the ceramics represent symbolic elements found in religion, custom or history.

Every shape that is drawn on the plates, on the works, has a meaning. Gillyflower is the flower that represents Heaven. Tulip is the traditional flower of Turkey. And rose is a story which tells that our prophet’s skin smelled of rose. When it comes to the tree of life, it is a plate that represents family, longevity, and also abundance. This side represents the father, and this side represents the mother, and this is a pattern that represents children, generations. And Ottoman miniatures are the works on which the court life of the sultans are depicted.

The aesthetic forms of each object are often associated with important folklores.

Most of the things we work on are actually urns, pitchers, jugs which were used in past mythologies.

I think one of the most beautiful work of arts that this culture produced is the form known as Hittite Sun or the God of Sun, one of the most important deities that the Hittites believed in. In religious ceremonies, at rituals and at the altars, they offered drinks to the gods using these forms.

The road to become a master of pottery or ceramic art has many requirements. One starts around age 10 or 12. It takes 4 to 5 years before an apprentice is allowed to practice at the workbench, if the master deems the student is very promising. In the next 4 to 5 years, the student learns from the master’s special techniques. Overall, it takes about 10 years for an apprentice to become a master. What are some of the traits that a professional earthenware artist should have?

Actually, you do not need to have a special education to do this. It’s just that you really should want to do this because this job requires us to practice all the time. You also need to have some visual talent.

Learning, collaborating, and sharing of inspiration and knowledge are catalysts for creativity. These occur on a continuous basis.

During my time with the students, while I am teaching them the lathe, I am also learning myself. Apart from that, the place we are in now is a store, a family that is open to all kinds of forms. We discuss what we can do altogether. We try to find a solution together.

The pottery and ceramic art masters describe their special feelings about the profession.

I am very relaxed, I mean the way I see life is also like this.

It is a very enjoyable job. You are working with a material which is limitless and three dimensional.

I am very peaceful and relaxed because it is a job that gives pleasure.

The gracious Güray Seramik team sends their warmest regards to Supreme Master Television viewers.

For your interest in our special products, our special culture, we would like to say thank you. I wish you happiness and success.

If you want more information or want to be visually satisfied better, you can visit us.

Our many thanks, Mr. Tamer Kankal, Mr. Aydin Afacan, Mr. Noyan Yayla, and Mr. Suat Aldağ, for introducing to us the fascinating Turkish pottery and ceramic arts. May you continue to preserve your precious traditional artistic heritage, creating unique and exquisite products which add beauty to the lives of many.

Friendly viewers, thank you for your wonderful presence on today’s A Journey through Aesthetic Realms. Up next on Supreme Master Television is Vegetarianism: The Noble Way of Living, after Noteworthy News. May your tranquil moments be showered with heavenly inspirations.
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