BURSA - Anadolu Agency
Famous İznik tiles should have a standard in order to prevent the production of cheap ones, which are not authentic in quality, according to the artisans of this craft. ‘Originality begins to be lost,’ they complain
Adil Cam Güven has been contributing to the art of İznik tile for 42 years. He requests the standards of this art to be set in order to prevent the production of cheap tiles. AA photo
The artisans of İznik tiles, one of the most important elements in Turkish culture, say that standards should be set for the production of original works. “The İznik tile is moving away from its originality because of economic concerns,” the artisans say.
Adil Cam Güven, the founder and former chairman of the İznik Tiles Research and Development Association, said that he had been involved in the art of ceramics for 42 years and contributing to the development of this art by teaching it to others.
He said that he was giving classes in a vocational school in the district, adding that the art of tiles needed two elements in İznik, a district of the northwestern province of Bursa. “The first element is the establishment of a show center in the district,” he said.
No request realized
“This show center should be established on a land of 4,000-5,000 square meters. There should be four ateliers for the Byzantine, Seljuk, Beyliks and Ottoman terms. This is also very important for tourism. Tourists can see there how this art is performed. But this dream did not come true. The second and the more important element is that I insisted on the protection of the criteria of İznik tiles. You cannot remain behind something which has no criteria. For a few times, I went to the owners of some leading İznik ateliers in İznik and asked them to come together to an atelier chain. I told them ‘We can set standards for the İznik tile there. We can also exchange ideas with university academics.’ But this request of mine was not realized, too,” he said.
Güven said that İznik tiles were a nostalgic type of ceramics, but in the present day, cheaper and semi-industrial ceramics were being produced. “We should support and produce nice and enduring tiles. Others are cheap products, which are sold with economic concerns.” Europeans fail
He said that Europeans tried to make tiles resembling İznik tiles but they failed, adding that the business of the İznik tile was a unique one. Noting that the material of İznik tiles existed in İznik only, Güven continued: “Most producers do not use this material right now. This material is not known enough. It has not been formulated and does not have a standard. We do our best to use it. With the establishment of a research institute here, it will be revealed how the traditional İznik tiles should be made. Original İznik tiles cannot be produced because its criteria are not known.”
He also said that artisans could not also conduct research because of economic difficulties and the art could not progress. “Like a painting of a famous painter, the İznik tile should have attached value. It is the ‘identity’ of Turkish culture,” he said.