Nimet Porcelain Shines a Colorful Light on Traditional Tableware
While fired earthenware can be traced back several millennia in Anatolia (what is now Turkey) it wasn’t until the 9th century AD when merchants traveling the Silk Road introduced Chinese porcelain to the area. Not long afterward local craftsmen began producing their own version of Chinese porcelain and within only a few decades many had cut the stylistic cord with China and began to produce work that incorporated more local and regional influences.
The Turkish ceramics industry has flourished largely unchanged ever since and forms an unbroken cultural chain to the past. It is from this rich cultural milieu that Nimet Varli arose to both expand the vocabulary of the craft and open doors of opportunity within it for gifted women potters.
Nimet Pottery: Tradition and Innovation
Make no mistake, Nimet Varli is a craftsperson of the highest order. She was awarded Turkish Artist of the Year in 2002 for her fresh and forward-looking take on traditional Turkish ceramics and has gone on to win international recognition for her work. Trained as a chemist she uses her knowledge of chemical elements and processes to inform her porcelain making methodology.
Nimet’s influences are clear but she is no mere copyist. Rather she incorporates the traditions of ancient Iznik pottery and uses them as a launching pad for innovation. As with all great art the lineage is there for those who choose to look but the treatment is fresh and contemporary breathing new life into traditional motifs with bold colors and a lively handling of the graphic elements. Every piece of Nimet porcelain is hand crafted, hand painted and fired in Nimet’s groundbreaking fair trade factory by one of her more than 25 female artisans. The fact that Nimet employs so many women in the production of her beautiful porcelain is in itself significant as, until Nimet came along, the Turkish pottery tradition was (and largely still is) a male dominated affair.
Nimet Porcelain: Composition and Decorative Motifs
Unlike most pottery which is fashioned from red clay Nimet porcelain uses fine white river clay as its base. This clay is more malleable and the finished product less bulky with a typically more elegant profile. Once fashioned into its finished form by Nimet’s skilled and experienced potters each piece is baked twice at temperatures up to 1200°C. After the initial firing each piece is hand drawn and painted meaning each piece of Nimet porcelain is in fact a one of a kind creation. Once embellished a generous layer of enamel is applied and another 8 hours in the kiln follows resulting in a deep, lustrous, long-lasting finish.
Nimet porcelain is the perfect accompaniment to a stylish breakfast, high tea, Sunday brunch, coffee with friends and those summer cocktail parties under the stars in the outdoor kitchen. Though Nimet’s work is steeped in the culture and traditions of her Turkish homeland her work achieves a timeless air that knows no boundaries and will be the subject of a thousand conversations.
Besides the bright and distinctive colorings of Nimet porcelain its other outstanding feature is the beautiful iconography. The embellishments employed by Nimet’s artisans are, as stated above, grounded in Turkish culture and tradition and typically have distinct meanings.
- Flower patterns symbolize beauty and calm and have a long history in Turkish ceramic work.
- Fish patterns symbolize prosperity, health and wealth both physical and spiritual.
- Butterfly patterns are symbolic of freedom and are particularly appropriate given the nature of Nimet’s fair trade factory structure and the groundbreaking work of her female artisans.
About Fair Trade
Fair trade is a movement designed to help producers of products and commodities in developing countries achieve more equal and sustainable trading conditions with partners in developed countries. Some of the movement’s key attributes are equality, transparency and mutual respect and the movement is firmly grounded in a set of core beliefs. Those being that:
A. Producers have the power to find common ground with consumers of their product.
B. Most current global trade practices produce unequal business relationships skewed in favor of the wealthy at the expense of producers in developing countries and...
C. If those producers are given the chance to receive a fair price for their work most will avoid having to depend on governmental and non-governmental aid and charity. This will in turn produce a positive cascading effect within their communities.
Nimet Porcelain at Paykoc
Paykoc Imports carries a full line of Nimet porcelain products that will brighten your table for years and ultimately become treasured family heirlooms. We’re proud to be able to offer the work of this inspiring artist and groundbreaking social pioneer. Browse our extensive online inventory of Nimet porcelain products including Turkish plates and Turkish bowls or stop by our retail showroom at 5733 Logan Court, Denver.