The art of ceramic

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I had an opportunity to visit an underground ceramic museum & ceramic workshop in Cappadocia.

First of all, visiting an underground anything is bound to be cool. Turkey is packed with old underground villages and cities. These are basically underground caves with chambers that were used as living spaces for villagers. Some of these have multiple layers spanning down utpo 200 feet below surface. The largest underground city (Derinkuyu) was said to be large enough to accommodate around 20 000 people, together with their livestock.  The architecture, although it looks simple to the eye, is quite sophisticated when you consider the dating of these cities. Some of the specialized caves were used by religious communities for school and chapels. Most of these underground cities have been turned into tourist attractions including restaurants, workshops & museums.

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The Cappadocia underground museum is a real gem. It showcases ancient & modern pottery as well as ceramic making techniques. Adjacent the museum is a ceramic workshop. The workshop has been passed on to 7 generations of the Guray family throughout 200 years.

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Ceramic making is a four step process. First is the pottery, once you have your cups and saucers and other objects you naturally dry the clay by leaving it in a cool dry place for two weeks. Two weeks later the same objects are baked before the art begins. This part entails drawing the designs on the objects before painting and glazing. There's obviously a lot of techniques and methods that go into each of these steps but these are the basics.

Once you know how something gets made & you've had a chance to speak to the creator (or masters as they take to calling themselves) and once you have witnessed and experienced the care, thought and skill that goes into the creation process you discover a new appreciation for the creation. The level of detail that goes into each piece, the vision of the artist in making something from nothing and the sheer beauty of the process and the product are enough to leave your soul inspired.

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