Dizayn74 Pottery, Kyrenia
By Margaret Sheard
A couple of years ago I wrote an article for the Cyprus Observer about Dizayn74 Pottery which was established on 13th October 1974. This is a lovely place to visit and see the hundreds of items on display and maybe treat yourself to something for the garden or for the house. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Pottery and I thought it would be nice to resurrect the original article for our readers to enjoy.
The article is shown below as it was originally written and later in the year I will bring it up to date with another visit to see Hasan and Tomrul and find out how the last 40 years has been for them.
Dizayn 74 Pottery is a lovely place to visit and browse around admiring the huge range of pottery in all shapes and sizes and although I had been there before when I was looking for something specific I did not spend a lot of time looking around on that occasion. I decided to find out a little more about the Pottery, which was established on 13th October 1974 and is the only pottery in North Cyprus. With 38 years of making pottery I felt sure there would be some interesting facts I could learn from the two potters who founded the business – Hasan Eminağa and Tomrul Tomgűsehan. Both of the potters are graduates of the Applied Fine Arts Academy – Department of Pottery in Istanbul, Turkey, which is where they first met and formed a friendship which was later to become a partnership in their present business.
There are currently some 350-400 different items and designs in the showroom and the two potters have developed their own colours and glazes which include traditional Cypriot designs and motifs among which are turtles, donkeys, birds, and wild flowers, olives, sunflowers etc. With the exception of some earthenware items which are brought in from Turkey, all of the pottery on display is produced on the premises.
The pottery business, where it now stands, was originally started by a Greek Cypriot in the early 1970’s, but when the 1974 intervention took place the family moved back to the south and the business was abandoned. Hasan and Tomrul were offered the business by the then Department of Tourism and this is when they formed a partnership and have continued to run the pottery together ever since. We were shown bullet holes in the ceiling of the showroom and a wooden rack where a bullet had gone through 3 of the upright end and middle panels. Hasan said that this happened during the troubles here in North Cyprus and he does not want to remove them as they are a reminder of what happened which he feels should not be forgotten.
In earlier years, when business was thriving, they employed around 20 people who carried out the pottery processes of turning and throwing and also the decoration of the finished articles, but sadly times have changed and demands are much reduced so they now only employ 5 people to assist them.
I asked Hasan and Tomrul to tell me something about themselves and learned that Tomrul originated from Lefke but now lives in Edremit. He has a son – Hűseyin – who runs an insurance company next door and is also the President of the Friends of the TRNC Emergency Services (the 112’s), Tomrul also has a daughter – Ayşem who also helps in the business during the afternoons. Tomrul has one grandson who is 16, the son of Ayşem.
Hasan also told me about some of his family life, he was from Girne and still lives there. He has 3 daughters, Seda, Eda and Verda. His eldest daughter won a scholarship in 1996 and went to Wisconsin University in the USA to study biochemistry, this was followed by a doctorate at Yale and then a PhD at Harvard, she has now moved to London with her husband and is at Kings College where she is a Researcher. Hasan’s second daughter won a scholarship and went to Ankara University where she studied graphic design, followed by a further scholarship to Illinois University in the USA. She now has her own advertising business in Kyrenia – Cherry Red. Hasan’s youngest daughter has also studied graphic design and joined her sister in the advertising business. Chris had met the girls at Cherry Red a few years ago. I keep saying this, but it really is a small world here.
I spent some time watching Tomrul while he worked at the potter’s wheel, which was fascinating and something I have always wanted to try but never had the opportunity, I was invited to try my hand at turning a pot but I decided it looked very messy and I would probably not be any good at it so I declined the offer. I also watched Ekrem, another potter, he was forming a pot on his wheel, Ekrem is deaf and speaks very little but he insisted on writing down his name for me and indicated that he was deaf so I assumed he wanted me to mention this. He was full of smiles and really looked as if he enjoyed what he was doing. I then moved on to another room where 2 ladies were decorating bowls and mugs prior to glazing and firing. This looked like very intricate work needing a steady hand. On working my way around the building I could see where the ovens were housed for the firing so all of the processes can be seen from start to finish on the premises and everywhere you look there are samples of the various stages of the items which eventually lead to the finished goods on display in the showroom.
This really is a lovely little business, with a very relaxed atmosphere in the various workrooms and a superb showroom filled almost to the ceiling with an assortment of every conceivable type of pottery item you can imagine. There is always a friendly welcome whether you are buying or just browsing and in fact it could take hours to look at all of the items on display.
There are a couple of other reasons why I decided to publish this article on cyprusscene.com and one is that when I first started to research the nearby Newman’s Farm I called at the pottery and found that Pat Newman, a descendant of the family, had called there for information some years before and, as they say, watch this space as we now have contact with Pat who is coming back to Cyprus in a month or so to meet us but more importantly to visit Newman’s Farm (now the Chinese House) where she lived for the first year of her life. Read more ……. click here
Secondly I was rather taken by the article written by Rob Smallwood about his Chess Set Challenge and I really can understnd how difficult it must have been to make chess pieces with fired clay to such precise specifications. Read more………. click here