After 400 years…
The primary purpose of establishing İznik Foundation for Training and Education was to revive İznik tile art production, which ended 400 years ago.
This fascinating art reached its pinnacle during the Ottoman Empire period in the 16th century and its reputation spread across the world through many travelers. A prominent scholar from Damascus, Bedreddin Al-Ghazzi visited İznik in 1529 and said: "This place is famous for its tiles - tiles produced and named after here are more beautiful than Chinese tiles". In his work dated 1597, the famous traveler Mehmed bin Omer ul-Aşık wrote, "Here, potteries, pots and especially cups made from white clay are very beautiful. They are similar to those made in China, but not at all similar to the ones made from white clay in Damascus. The glass coating of the ones made here is beautiful and sophisticated in artistry."
İznik tile making was mentioned by travelers frequently and reached its golden age with Sinan the Architect's attention and masterpieces during the period of Suleiman the Magnificent. However, the art form regressed in the 17th century and that magnificent fire faded away without any documentation behind.
İznik Foundation took over tremendous work to revive this ancient Turkish art from İznik and adapt it to today's technology while preserving its quality and aesthetics. The Foundation began by working on discovering the primary production materials and the prescription. A non-stop research was started in 1995 and continued for two years. The works of the R&D Center, established by the Foundation in İznik, was supported by TUBITAK and Princeton University from the U.S.
As a result of this comprehensive research, the original prescription was achieved just when the team was about to run out of hope. İznik Foundation managed to bring back the authentic İznik tiles, that still maintains its top position in world's ceramic literature despite a four-century break, using the current technology and without any loss in the quality and aesthetics. Today, İznik Foundation tiles are composed of 85% quartz following the formula from the 16th century. İznik Foundation has managed to keep the original colors and patterns of İznik tiles, and its healing spirit with its quartz composition. It is actually this semi-precious stone, quartz that differentiates these tiles from all other ceramics in the world.
Hand-made, local and environmentally friendly
İznik Foundation headquarter is in Istanbul while the tiles are produced at the workshop in İznik utilizing modern technology but still in traditional methods. The production of an entirely hand-made tile takes full 70 days. Each process comes from its expert's hands, and each color in the tile comes from the paint of the artist specialized in that color. The Foundation also produces its own paints. We can genuinely say that the master artists at İznik Foundation's workshop who have acquired back their heritage from a magnificent century are once again creating art as if they are worshipping, just as their ancestors did 400 years ago...
In addition to tiles used as a coating material in buildings, İznik Foundation also produces potteries such as plates, pots, bowls, vases and candle-holders. The Foundation is certified for C2C and it is the only organization in the industry that is the member of European Route of Ceramics, further testifying to the fact that İznik Foundation tiles are also environmentally friendly in terms of raw materials, glazes, paints and production.