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Making Pottery In A Cave

July 20, 2007

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The wet clay spun thru Mozart’s fingers in a pottery tradition that dates back to Hittite times in this area!  We had entered a long, dark, huge cave in Avanos and met a man who spoke excellent English who gave us a private tour of his family owned business. After being served Turkish apple tea in the typical cups made out of glass, we watched his nephew give us a demonstration, making a lidded pot with a wheel he spun by kicking his foot.

Avonos is a village in Cappadocia that was carved into the rocks next to the Kizilrmak (red river) which is the longest river in Turkey. The river gets its name from the water color, dyed from the red clay that is abundant in this area. Thus there are abundant resources for pottery making  and at one time every single house in this city had a pottery wheel or workshop.

The family we met through our hotel manager, had been doing this for generations. We enjoy watching crafts people and learning more about an art form, so were glad to get this experience and Mozart was excited about the possibility of getting a chance to make a pot.

Much to her chagrin, we were told at first that children were not allowed to make a pot, so DaVinci, our artist in residence, eagerly volunteered to put on the baggy flowered Turkish pants and give it a spin. Mozart could hardly contain her excitement as she watched and finally they relented and gave her an exception to the rule if she sat on her dad’s lap. (Their main concern with children is that they do not hurt themselves as the kick wheel can by dangerous for a young one).

I captured it on film and a little video and you can see her joy and pride is palpable. She actually has done quite a bit of pottery as one of her kindergarten teachers was an award winning potter and gave the kids lessons every week and she once had her own small pottery wheel because she loves working with clay. But it has been a long time and she has never used a wheel like this, so she really enjoyed this experience.

We also enjoyed watching them paint and make the very intricate designs. What was amazing to us was that they were drawn free hand. We loved looking at all the samples but did not buy anything as we have no space for such things. We were grateful we met these generous people and learned some more about the Cappadocian culture and this art form  and had some fun with clay!

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