Thursday, 07 December 2023

The Art and Craft of Pottery Making

Pottery making is the process of molding mud, which is obtained from earth and possesses qualities such as high temperature resistance and durability over time, into various forms such as pots, jugs, vases, and flower pots. This can be done manually or with the help of a machine, followed by firing in high-temperature furnaces. Pottery, tiles and similar objects produced through this process are commonly used as decorative materials in architecture.


Mehmet Gürpınar, who has been practicing pottery for 43 years as a family tradition in Konya, continues to work in his workshop to pass on his art to future generations and teach classes to those who want to practice this craft.


The number of masters practicing pottery, which is among the forgotten professions, is decreasing day by day. Due to the arduous nature of pottery making and the long process of transforming clay into vessels, many people are no longer interested in this profession.

After the clay is prepared for pottery making and shaped into clay slabs, it is placed on a pottery wheel called "İşlek". On the wheel, the pottery master uses their hands to shape the clay into the desired form of the vessel.

The created clay vessels are first dried in the sun and then in the shade, and finally baked in special kilns. The clay can be turned into various objects such as pitchers for carrying water, casseroles for cooking food, and decorative items for homes.

Mehmet Gürpınar (52), a cultural heritage representative and state artist who started practicing pottery in the Doğanhisar district of Konya, stated that he sat at the pottery wheel for the first time at the age of 9 and has continued his profession for 43 years. Gürpınar said, "I started this profession in Doğanhisar. It was my father's profession. I didn't come into this profession through education; I grew up in it from the start. Previously, we used to knead the clay by hand and tread on it with our feet while making pottery. The machines used to work manually, but now as technology has progressed, we have turned to electronics."

"We have started to buy ready-made clay. I have been continuing this profession for 43 years. I opened my workshop in Ecdat Park 4 years ago and have been operating here for 4 years. I have many students, most of whom are women, who approach this profession with more confidence. Two of my students have even opened their own workshops and are continuing their work. I also try to teach those who come here to learn about this craft. Additionally, I am a cultural heritage representative and state artist. We are trying to keep this profession alive," said Gürpınar.

Gürpınar, who talked about the importance of clay for pottery, said, "I used to get clay from Doğanhisar, my hometown. I used clay from my hometown. Why my hometown's clay? Red clay from Doğanhisar is very famous, it keeps the water very cold. I still use it for my pitchers. For my other products, I get clay from Avanos. I buy ready-made clay. This is how we continue."