Step 1: Learn to draw a good leaf (and you would not believe how hard this is…!)
I’ve been dabbling in the Turkish chinaware artform since 2010, but I’ve recently decided to roll up my sleeves and go back to the very beginning to learn the craft with a new depth and attention. I always used to go along to a local council-run course, however a Turkish friend of mine, Gelincik (‘Poppy’) has recently opened her own workshop and is giving lessons (you can view her page here: Gelincik Çini (Poppy Chinaware). As her work has always made my mouth water (her brush strokes and the movement she gets in her designs are just stunning!), I couldn’t wait to go along and effectively apprentice myself to her and her technique.
She decided to take me right back to the beginning and start with the most basic yet also most essential element of İznik chinaware designs… the leaf. Having recently enjoyed the freedom and inspiration of my own projects and design work, literally and figuratively going back to the drawing board is humbling and a bit demoralising… But I’m trying to console myself with the fact that no hours put in are wasted in this artform, and to be a true craftsman, polishing and honing your skills is essential. Plus, if at the end of this my leaves look anything like Poppy’s then I will be ecstatic! Deep breath.. here we go!