The small town of Avanos in Cappadocia region is located by the Red River (Kızılırmak) which gets its name from the clay that deposits. That is the major reason for many years, the pottery art and craft had been the major industry in this area. As a result, it is possible to see the artistic talents and beautiful decorative materials anywhere you go.
The town center of Avanos which lays by the river welcomes the visitors by the pottery shops side by side and some have their own ateliers inside, some of them have their large atelier a bit far from the store. But all are very interesting and so unique by their historical and local style architecture. During Ottomans, especially at the age of Abdulmahid II, many efforts were made to develop Avanos. That is the reason why it is possible to come across with gorgeous mansions and great spaces around the town. Today some of them are turned into hotels, restaurants and some of them are still in use by the local families.
I always believe people give soul to their living territories. I can say we are pretty lucky to come across people like that whereever we go. But I can tell you one of the the best part of visiting Avanos was to meet with the owner of the Ekol Pottery Art Gallery. Mr. Mükremin Geçener. He left a very positive remark in our minds by his professional and sincere attitude, in fact we are still in touch with him following our trip.
As soon as, I entered to his store I felt it was more than a souvenir shop showcasing many artworks applied variety of techniques exquisite patterns and ancient forms. There Mr. Mükremin Geçener was drawing all the tiny detailed Hittite figures to the ceramics by his hand. When he found out we are into design he became all excited and started to talk about history and todays Art in Avanos and what they have done for generations. We have listened him carefully and very proud of all the things we heard…
Immediately, I realized Avanos has actually became an International meeting point for Pottery artists from all around the world. Following our shopping of lovely potteries, visit to his atelier was a big surprise for us and we met by his partner who has a great knowledge of technical part of Pottery Art. Our trip to Avanos turned out to be kind of an informative field trip after all. They have shown all the artworks they have made together with the Japanese, Italian creatives and explained us about the new techniques they have discovered together.
I was very happy to hear there are many good self initiatives in Turkey in the heart of Anatolia exceeding the local limitations and successful of creating their passionate works, developing ideas with people from different geographies. This is truly a cultural mix and outcome is the designmix which I adore by heart!
Back to our story of pottery in Avanos, as I mentioned earlier, since clay is one of the most common material in the region, it has become a common object of a local daily life. Especially, to use as cooking tools. The nature of the material absorbs the heat and protects it for long time and it helps to add a special taste to local cuisine, because of its high demand by people there are thousands of clay pottery heating materials sold everywhere. The local restaurants cook amazingly delicious casserole foods using these hot pans. There was one I found very entertaining which is called Testi kebabı. Kebap jugs in the amphora shape clay tools and to be able to eat it needs to be broken. This ceremonial meal absolutely adds a taste to usual food. Even more interesting part was the pots are used only for once.
Some pottery shops in Avanos let visitors to try pottery art and experience touching the raw material. Of course, we did not want to lose this interactive game and made our first clay artworks. The result? Dont ask what they have turned out to be? I never thought it could be so hard. The clay was like dancing independently under our fingers and led us to create some unintentional shapes, by the help of the supervisor artist they turned out to be something useful at the end. I must admit it was a very fun experience…. We seriously laughed a lot to ourselves during the whole class! Now, I m very happy that we have made this trip to Avanos and learned so much about Pottery Art in Cappadocia. If you are into it, don’t miss it!