Considered a wellness activity that significantly reduces stress levels, ceramics is currently one of Istanbul’s favorite hobbies. All over town, there are individual and group classes led by talented craftsmen to meet all levels of skill, dedication, and motivation.

To get a better understanding of what the ceramics buzz was about, we visited Aylin Bilgiç’s workshop in Moda. You may have seen her works, such as the porcelain plates and accessories inspired by a Russian avant-garde exhibition at Sakıp Sabancı Museum. Since the trend went viral, she has kept herself busy creating new handmade pieces and working with groups of enthusiasts to spread the love of the craft. 

Aylin Bilgiç’s work

Although she’s been working with both ceramics and porcelain for a long time, the latter—as a leisure activity—hasn’t yet gone mainstream, and can probably be considered a next step for those who have had prior experience trying the handicraft. Porcelain is more practical, and the results of your work will serve you in daily life for much longer. “The main differences between ceramics and porcelain are the types of clay used, and the temperature  at which you bake the final product,” Bilgiç told The Guide Istanbul. “For porcelain, it has to be much higher. Thanks to that, you can later wash the final product in a dishwasher. In the case of ceramics, it is not possible.”

The art of telling the difference between items made of ceramic and porcelain resembles wine tasting, where instead of using the senses of smell and taste, you gently touch the piece and listen to the sound it makes. There are several techniques of making porcelain pieces—for our first attempt we made porcelain plaque plates, where different clay colors are pressed onto each other to create patterns. Since no painting was involved, the skills that came in handy were precision and attention to details. Lucky for us, our perfectionist teacher picked up on the errors early, so that in the end, we could all enjoy the final products.

Aylin Bilgiç’s workshop

Get your hands dirty 

  • Located in Göktürk, Arts&Clay offers three types of workshops: for kids, families, and grownups that are sold in monthly packages. I: @artsandclay; T: 0532 372 96 66
  • Organizing her boutique workshops at a creative space in Cooklife Studio in Balat, Tulin Bozüyük is the creative force behind Touline Ceramics. I: @toulineceramics; E: [email protected]
  • Creating handmade ceramics and porcelain, Nox Studio organizes one-off workshops as well as group classes for those who want to advance their skills to the next level. I: @noxceramic; E: [email protected]

Get inspired or buy from a pro

If you’re an aesthete who settles for no less than perfection, browse through some of our favorite Instagram accounts for a dose of visual inspiration and perhaps online shopping.