Handmade

PRODUCTION PROCESS

Iznik Foundation ceramics are produced using traditional techniques, employing contemporary technologies. The Foundation is the sole producer of the original 16th-century traditional İznik tiles and possesses unique knowhow. The most distinctive aspect of Iznik Foundation ceramics is the use of quartz. The special type of artistic quartz wall tile produced by the İznik Foundation is referred to as “chini”, distinguishing it from standard industrial tiles or any other handmade tiles.

All our products are 100% handmade.

Traditional and contemporary designs

The production of the Foundation, which is based in Istanbul, is carried out in workshops in Iznik. The production of a completely hand-made tile takes several days. Each part of the process is carried out by craftsmen in that field – for example, each colour on the china is painted by an artist who is an expert in that colour. In terms of design, the Iznik Foundation on the one hand continues to re-produce the traditional patterns, while on the other hand creating contemporary designs.

İznik Quartz Ceramics are used everywhere for artistic applications. In hotels, office buildings, schools – in short, every place open to public where visual aesthetics may be emphasized in terms of colour, form and tradition.

China Production Technique

China is a type of ceramic that is hard to produce and which has much more quartz in its raw material compared to other ceramic products. Quartz is a natural stone that is highly beneficial to living conditions and which is used against many diseases in the Far East. It is fired twice. Thanks to the high quartz concentration in its composition, dyes that have been derived from metal oxides and a glaze covering based on glassy quartz real Iznik china is practically immortal. The strength of İznik Quartz Ceramic China can be observed in the oldest ancient buildings. The wall tiles we see in the Topkapı Palace has survived until the present, thanks to its physical composition. Thanks to china’s durability it can be used as insulating material against any climatic conditions in both interiors and exteriors.

Each tile consists of four layers:

Layer 1. Biscuit

  • Blocks of quartz are selected and manually broken into pieces.
  • Clay is laid in water for a day, then boiled and filtered through a cloth sieve.
  • By adding 85% quartz to the filtered clay a paste results.
  • This homogeneous paste is left to rest for one day.
  • It is then left to dry for 7-10 days in a shady place, on wooden shelves.
  • The edges of the plates are manually sandpapered to obtain the standard size.

Layer 2. Undercoating

  • A thick liquid paste is prepared with very finely powdered clean quartz and clay.
  • This mixture is flowed equally over the plate to obtain a flawless surface.
  • The tile is air-dried in natural surroundings for at least 10 days.
  • It is then kilned at 930°
  • The tile is left to cool off before being sent to the design ateliers.
  • The biscuits are dusted off with air compression pistols.

Layer 3. Design

  • Designs are prepared on sketching paper, which are pinholed and transferred on to the biscuit tiles with charcoal powder.
  • The tiny dots which form the design or motif on the biscuit tiles are contoured in dark blue or black colours.
  • The parts in between are painted with colours.

Layer 4. Glaze

  • The glaze is obtained by mixing quartz, metal oxides and soda.
  • This glassy bulk is broken into small pieces, washed, sifted and dried.
  • The glazing mixture is prepared with the use of a water-based organic blender and flowed equally over the designed and painted tiles. The glazing is fired for the same length of time as the biscuit.
  • No mechanical press is used unless required by clients.
  • No printed graphics or designs are applied on the tiles unless required by clients.

Background

The word for ceramics, “Çini” (meaning ‘from China’), was used to describe tiles and tableware containing %85 of quartz mineral, covered with a hard white coating, exceptional colours and transparent glaze, fired at around 930° C in special ovens.

The raw materials used for making the paste are obtained from İznik and its surroundings. The quartz is smashed into small pieces, ground, and then mixed with clay, glass, frit and water to obtain the correct mixture of paste. The paste is manually pressed into wooden frames and after air-drying and the plates are then sandpapered and prepared for the undercoating. Small pieces of quartz, clay and frit are then flowed over these plates, which are then air-dried again and placed in kilns at 900° C. At the end of this step, plates or ‘biscuits’ are obtained.

The designs are drawn on paper which is then pinholed in order to allow the drawings to be transferred on to the biscuits using charcoal powder. The borders of the designs on the biscuits are contoured and coloured with paints obtained from metal oxides at our laboratories. Placing the air-dried plates in kilns at 900 ° C completes the last step.

The metal oxide colours used in the under-glaze is produced in the R&D department of İznik Foundation and are suitable for every project. The colours of the intricate patterns are protected by a glassy coating (1,5 mm in thickness). It is this glassy coating that gives the depth to the colours and the motifs while shielding the tile against all natural conditions, such as acid rain, UV, etc. The glaze is called “Sır”, which in Turkish means “secret” – indicating that the formula has never been written down by ancient masters. The İznik Foundation has approached this mystery scientifically and collaborated with various institutions on experiments until the formula was rediscovered.

After the application of the glaze, the totally handmade tiles are fired for the second time at more than 930 ° C for at least 12 hours. This allows the first layer of liquid quartz coating, the colours and the glaze to unite with each other, creating a robust tile that will endure all exterior conditions, including dust, freezing, humidity and rain.

 

Totally Hand Made and Environmental Friendly

İznik Quartz Ceramic are environmental friendly both in terms of the materials used (raw materials, glazes and dyes) and in terms of production. No environmental pollutants are released during the production. The production is completely done by hand. Today’s counterpart of the wood kilns used in the 16th-century is the electric kiln.

 

Architectural Properties of İznik Quartz Ceramic

İznik Quartz Ceramic absorbs sound due to the pore distribution in its underbody, allowing a homogeneous distribution of sound waves, thanks to the reflective qualities of the layer of glaze. It keeps spaces cool in summer and warm in winter, allowing them to breathe. İznik Quartz Ceramic also contributes to the strength of buildings, due to its weight. Quartz china is very convenient for use in offices as it absorbs the negative energy in the environment and reduces radiation effects.

The tiles are humidity absorbent due to the porous character of the biscuit. They provide excellent insulation and allow perfect maintenance thanks to their glasslike quartz glaze. Compared with other tiles, the surface has a satiny finish. While other tiles need to be installed with grouting, Iznik Foundation tiles are installed without any visible grouting, preventing any mildew or bacteria growth. The designs are always very aesthetic and in proportion to the human body.

The use of special glaze strengthens the tiles enough to endure all exterior conditions, such as dust, freezing, humidity and rain, while also highly reducing the negative impact of chemicals that might occur in specific environments, for example the salt (sodium hydroxide, NaOH) present in seaside locations.

 

Decorations

The glossy surface of İznik Quartz Ceramic, which is easy to maintain and bacteria-free, its light refraction and its emphasis on the vitality of motifs and colours, make it extremely convenient for any type of design. The patterns and decoration method are based on the old, classical artistic styles, while at the same time reinterpreting and recreating them. The designs used on the quartz wall tiles – while both allegorical and symbolic – also reflect the flora and fauna of Iznik and its surroundings. The geometrical designs used in the placement of the tiles are cosmological in concept and reflect the relationship between man, the sky and the universe.

One of the most important aspects of Iznik Foundation tiles is that they are a collective art. In ancient times, the designs used to be made in Topkapı Palace (in İstanbul), while the application and the production were done in the workshops in İznik. Today, the Iznik Foundation functions in much the same manner, with administration taking place in Istanbul and production in Iznik. The Iznik Design Department in Istanbul prepares concepts and designs appropriate to the location of architectural projects.

The R&D labs in Iznik prepare colours for the products and carries on research to provide optimum results for tile orders from different regions, countries and climates. The colours are produced by the R&D department specifically; imported colours or chemical colours are not utilized.

 

Unique Colours

Made from crystal quartz, Iznik Foundation tiles are coloured with a crystal-based glaze utilizing the Iznik Foundation’s in-house developed organic coloured metal oxide pigments. The colours of Iznik Foundation tiles reflect the shades of semi-valuable gems, for example coral red, malachite or turquoise green, and the dark blue of lapis lazuli.


Advanced Designs

Iznik Foundation tiles are currently being used in both traditional and contemporary contexts in a wide array of designs, from established patterns originating in Islamic mathematics and decorative arts to the contemporary designs of Zaha Hadid and Ettore Sottsass.

In terms of form and design, they can be used as a distinctive architectural element or as a monochromatic field of subtle background colour to add spatial depth. Iznik Foundation tiles designs harmonize with the architecture of the structure they grace and are exquisitely beautiful yet discrete in appearance, complementing other natural building materials such as wood.

 

Panels and pottery

The Iznik Foundation also produces custom-made panels and murals based on – but not limited to – the styles found in the tiles. These panels can range from a wall of simple monochromatic square tiles to a complex mosaic or decorative wall panel. They are designed by leading designers and artists and developed by artisans, resulting in one-of-a-kind authentic designs with shapes and colours adapted to the required specifications. The panels are produced by hand by skilled artisans and can be integrated into any architectural setting on both exterior and interior surfaces.

The Iznik Foundation also produces pottery (dishes, pots, bowls, vases, candle holders, etc.), called ‘evani’, in addition to tiles.