"Iznik" Ceramics are famous around the world. Ottoman ceramics became known as "Iznik" because the town called Iznik was the closest ceramics producer to Constantinople, now Istanbul, the center of the Ottoman Empire. Unfortunately the 1900's were hard on the potters of Iznik and their tradition was lost. About 15 years ago it was revived and now there are small shops dotting the street selling their wares and a small Iznik Foundation (unfortunately staffed with people having a bad day) that employees a number of artists.

It was nice to see that the town is in the midst of revitalizing its ceramic tradition. They have a long way to go before they can rival their neighbor Kütahya, who have a huge uninterrupted Çini tradition. In the Iznik ceramic studios, they use different brushes for applying color. Rather than the handmade donkey hair brushes of Kütahya and Avanos, they use commercially made brushes. They also have different colors that they are using for their washes. Many designs are the same, borrowed from the 16th and 17th centuries.

It is a small town, surrounded by old olive groves, an ancient stone wall, at the edge of a lake. With a surprising number of liquor stories for a Turkish town (making you wonder what is going on in this small community), the streets are lively with friendly men of all ages, and the air thick with wood smoke. Although I visited to see the ceramics, a visually wonderful, yet environmentally horrible, crate making neighborhood took the cake. All the saws running, women in loose clothes and headscarves, men with dirty hands, pushing the wood thru the saws. Crates lined the streets, stacked tall, with handmade joints made from recycled oil olive oil and tomato cans.  Wondering the backstreets made up for the miserable restaurants and unheated hotel.

Jim Knipe Photographing

Old kiln yard archeology site in middle of town. 

Best shard pill I've ever seen.

Jim Knipe Photographing

Part of old wall of city. 

Quiet walk along the water with my parents.  Marveling at the "Turkish Atmosphere" of thick winter smoke that makes the sunsets so beautiful.