Tiles like flowers blooming in fire

Tiles like flowers blooming in fire

KÜTAHYA - Anatolia News Agency
Tiles like flowers blooming in fire

Tile artist İsmail Yiğit (above) says the art of tiles is a matter of heart and those who practice it should have patience and love. AA photos

In the Aegean province of Kütahya, one of the best-known centers of tile-making in the world, the traditional handicraft tile is defined as “flowers blooming in fire,” and is an important means of living for many people who are involved with this art.

Tiles are an old Turkish handicraft that has never lost its beauty and attraction. As well as being a source of living, it is also seen as the entrance gate to the spiritual world by some people.

Each design has a different meaning in the art of tiles. For example, the tulip symbolizes God and the rose symbolizes the prophet Muhammed. It is also known that cypress tree signify patience and sprigs signify heaven.

Well-known tile artist İsmail Yiğit says that the art of tiles was a matter of heart and those who practice it should have patience and love.

Yiğit said that God created the first human being Adam of mud and gave it his own soul, adding, “In the same way, tile artists transform the knowledge to tiles and give their own soul to it.

The last artist, who touches the tile, leaves his own trace on it. Then the tile is glazed. Everyone can see the colors and designs on a tile but can never touch them. Even if they touch, they can only feel the glaze on it but not its soul behind the glaze.”

He said that there were many branches of art in the world and the art of tiles was 100 percent an Islamic art with its mud, lining and colors. “It is the art of the holy land. There are four things in life and life is impossible without them: Air, water, earth and fire. It is impossible to make tiles without these four things, too. Tiles and humans are within the other. There is mud in the base of tile and the human is the same, too,” he added.

Phases of tile making

Another tile artist Yunus karakaya, who has been working on tiles for 26 years, said that tile was a heritage from the Ottoman era. He said that the mud of the tiles was made up of seven materials and they supplied them from Kütahya and its surroundings. “This work is manual labor and cannot be produced with a factory-assembled system.”

He said that mud took its shape in four stages which are moulding, template, machinery and pressing, and continued: “When a product is shaped, they are dried in kilns. When it is kiln-dried, we call it ‘biscuits.’ Then we begin decorating it. Traditional Turkish motifs are drawn on it with thin brushes and then painted. In this stage, we prepare the glaze of tile. Then we put our products on the market.”
Karakaya concluded saying that touristic places were a good market for the tiles produced in this way.