Tofas Museum of Cars and Anatolian Carriages in Bursa bring kids together with clay, one of their most favorite play material. Kids who were at home throughout the pandemic has shaped one of the greatest toys of all times, clay and get to know about ceramic in the weekend event organized in the museum's garden.
HURI AYKUT ULKER
I want to take you to your childhood memories. What were you using to make toys when playing with your friends in the back street? Those I remember; stones are collected to set the borders of a goal and put on top of each other to make a pin for hide-and-seek. Old woods, old newspapers and maybe cloth pieces... And clay that gets every shape, saucepans, plates, spoons and even the pasta itself in play houses with a few crumbled leaf pieces... Think about the cooks we had cooked in those clay saucepans. Or those who didn't have any glass marbles but had won many with with clay marbles in all shapes and sizes. When Jonathan H. Liu tells about the “Greatest Toys of All Times” in one of his articles he sorted the top five as: 1) Stick, 2) Box, 3-Rope, 4) Cardboard roll, 5) Clay.
Toys made of baked clay has developed in parallel with the historical development of the ceramic art but what's older than that; is the toys made of non-fired clay and kids involving clay shaping into their life as a play. After all, whether you're a kid or a grown-up ceramic artist, you will know that the most joyous side of the job is this. You won't understand how time passes while you're in the process of shaping the clay and maybe the time won't even pass but freezes and expands. Now your mind is at your fingertips and stops counting the time. You make millions of consecutive decisions and form the clay.
Nurten Köroğlu, Huri Aykut Ülker, Gönül Hazneci, Aylin Tatlı
It's not surprising for us to find toys also among the ceramic objects dug out from archeological excavations. Maybe a mother has made a rattle which she put pebbles into a piece of clay and fired it to silence and amuse her crying baby. Or a father shaped it as a horse and put wheels on it to trot around and play with his kid. Or it may be the kid itself who shaped the toy.
Oldest two toys of the world have been dug out from the archeological excavations in our country. The first one is a rattle made about 5000 years ago; found in the 69th year of the excavation works in the Kultepe Kanis-Karum site. The second is a wheeled car made of fired clay which has been dug out in the excavations that took place in Nusaybin town of Mardin Kiziltepe. It's estimated to be 7500 years old.
In these days of pandemic our country and whole world is passing through, we thought that while the weather goes nice, "let's meet in outdoors and cheer up" the kids locked up at homes. Before the pandemic we have built up the "Art in Everywhere" project together with the Bursa Culture Art and Tourism Foundation (BKSTV), paid visits to nearly 250 villages of Bursa and communicated the ceramic art. Kids experienced how they fingers shaped the clay on the portable clay lathe we brought. With the clay toys shaped by kids at the end of each work, we established the "Clay Toys Museum" and showed them to parent and teachers.
And now, this summer in the garden of Tofas Museum of Cars and Anatolian Carriages, together with the Senior Psychologist Gonul Hazneci, we organized this healing power of art event once again on a volunteer basis, for the kids who are mentally exhausted of pandemic. Named by the Tofas Museum of Cars and Anatolian Carriages Directress, art historian Aylin Tatli as "Calm Souls, Gifted Hands", these meetings took for four weekends. Throughout the works, we told the kids about the story of clay turning into ceramic and shared the photos of the toys dug out from archeological excavations. While they were experiencing the clay shaping by hand, knowledges are conveyed and practiced together such as pinching, wick techniques, what's slurry, how to reed, how formed pieces will stick and merge to each other, what's press decoration and how it's made. And we also narrated Fureya Koral and her works with the mini exhibition compromised of photo blocks we take to every event we make for years.
And again, at the end of each work we established the Clay Toys Museum all together. I wish we will found this museum for true one day.