In the area of Cappadocia FIRCA family is doing this business for more than 250 years. FIRCA family has its own education system. Anyone who wants to be a master of pottery has to be a beginner for 5 years. A beginner practices, but is not allowed to produce. After the 5th year, beginners join an examination which lasts about one month. The ones who pass the examination becomes a “STUDENT” for the next nine years. After the 9th year, students join the most difficult exams of the world, which last about a year. In this exam a student has to show all of his skills, like preparing the clay, giving a shape to it, drying, firing and designing it, preparing the paints and etc. The person who passes the examination becomes a “MASTER”.
Masters produce their best items after the age of 50. That’s why any designer can not work more than 4 hours a day to protect their eyes. 10 minutes work and 10 minutes rest.
After the pieces has been shaped , it is dried in a cave drying room for about 2 weeks. Then they are fired in electrical killns at 950 C° for 12 hours. The red clay is only fired once. After the firing they are designed , with very thin brushes like a neeedle pen and burnished. That is all about the red clay products.
The white clay items’ process is different than the red clay. First the plate is shaped. The students shape the plate on plaster molds, but the masters shape it totaly free hand on the wheel. Then they are fired in electrical killns at 1100 C° for 12 hours. After the firing it’s time to draw the design with thin brushes. ( the masters are drawing it free hand, but the students use stencil to tracy the design.) And it’s time to paint the item. There are 3 different painting techniques in traditional Turkish ceramic art.
Normal painting: Same tone all over the coloring.
Toning : Paint the design with same color but lighter to darker.
Pointalism: To fill the designs with little tiny dots. ( the most difficult and time taking technique)
To draw and paint a 30 cms size plate can take between 1 week to 3 months, depending on the design, the designer and the coloring technique.
After the painting process items are glazed . The glaze that FIRCA use is made of glass powder, liquit white clay and water. It doesn’t contain LEAD in it. We the glazed items are fired at 1150 C° for 17 hours. After the firing; shiny, nice and everlasting ceramics comes out of the killn.
The plates that FIRCA designers produce can be decorative and functional items as well.
To reach the quality of Ottoman Empire Ceramics, which once was worldwide famous between 14th to 17th centuries,FIRCA Ceramic also produce QUARTZ items. A quartz product means a piece which produced by a special clay with the mixture of %85 quartz stones powder and %15 caoleen (normal ceramics clay). This semi precious stones product is fired in 1300 C°, to have the strongest material with the various under glaze designs. The 2nd (glaze firing) of the quartz items is 1350 C°. The old samples of quartz tiles decorate the Blue Mosque, and quartz bowls and plates are displayed in “The Tiled Kiosk” in Istanbul Archaeological Museum.