Heidi Trautmann

953: An afternoon with the ClayArt Cyprus Studio in Marmara District Nicosia

By Heidi Trautmann


Working with clay as a hobby has become increasingly popular – for adults and children and youths alike – which I have realized during the last couple of years, thanks to some active people in our communities, with the Ceramists Association leading, then some professional and private initiatives, such as Semral Öztan, and fine arts departments at universities. 

Just recently we have enjoyed witnessing the Vounous event where the very far past of the island, the Bronze Ages culture was brought to the surface by making it aware to the public and ensuring that it is not forgotten. About 80 ceramists, from Cyprus and abroad, artists and enthusiasts have taken part in the event, to enjoy the old forms and techniques, to work with the clay that was found in the area and also to experience a feeling of  solidarity and shared identity which still continues as school classes visit the place to do some basic clay work.



I have been following the yearly exhibitions organized by the Ceramists Association for many years and have published my reviews in local newspapers.

The other recent event in ceramic arts was a workshop organized by the Ceramists Association at the Cyprus Science University in Kyrenia, Ozanköy which has impressed me very much. I reported on the workshop and the exhibition.



What I did not know at that time was the connection to ClayArt Cyprus, to Fatma Özok, who is a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, with the Özok Group being the owner of this university.  The Özok Group is involved in many ventures, to me they are known for Özok Furniture and the trade in automobiles and many more activities, but have done much for education in Famagusta as well as in Girne.


In all the above mentioned events Fatma Özok and the members of her Clay Art group were involved, were taking part in the workshops and exhibitions. A highly interested and motivated group of people who for some years now come together and work under the guidance of ceramic art teachers. ClayArt Cyprus, an art school which was developed through the private initiative of Fatma Özok, a woman, who has shown - besides her many other duties - a strong interest for ceramic art; many years ago she had first joined the Ceramists Association for ceramic courses and had her first little studio installed in her house; she then became a student at the Fine Arts Department of the Near East University where she studied with the ceramic artists Eser Keçeci and Serhat Selişik for two years.  In 2014 she officially opened her own new studio, the ClayArt Cyprus Studio in Ortaköy/Marmara District, an area which 50 years ago still made part of the vast plains of the Mesaoria. The studio entertains ceramic art classes supported by art teachers.

Their working days with groups Monday "Su" (Water) Group 18.00-21.00 hrs.;  Tuesday "Mavi Ateş" (Blue Fire)Group 16.00-19.00 hrs.;  Thursday" Turkuaz" (Turquoise) Group 10.00-13.00 hrs.;  Friday children group 16.30-18.00 hrs.


I went to visit them one Tuesday afternoon and met with the "Mavi Ateş" (Blue Fire) Group; I knew most of them from the various activities and exhibitions.  Sculptures were built up, here with hollow bodies, a row of beautiful birds; there flat sculptures, another bird and on other tables some Xmas tree decorations and presents for families and friends. Another member was shown the working and preparing of clay, as all air bubbles have to come out before building an art object.


A most friendly and intense working atmosphere reigned in this room; along the walls shelves with all kind of equipment that would be needed for any art work. From this studio room the finished raw objects are brought to the drying room where they would be left, partly covered, later uncovered until dry, before they would be fired in a big electric kiln.

In the separate kiln room I saw shelves full of containers with all kind of glazes and oxides for different kinds of clays and techniques.  The ware will then – when dry – be fired at a certain temperature; if the object is to be glazed, a second firing process is needed and as you should know, the glaze depends not only on the clay used but also on the effect one wants to obtain. I am telling you, it is a wide field of science.

I was shown another room where the many sacks of different clay qualities are kept in a big container which keeps the clay humid and cool. They get the clay from various sources, partly from Dizayn 74 in Karaoğlanoğlu, partly from Turkey.

And finally, the Showroom, where a big variety of art work is displayed.


Altogether, ClayArt Studio is a well-organized enterprise where learning the arts is made easy and easy understandable and where space and cooperation for personal development is given.  I could judge from the smiling faces of the members of the Blue Fire art group that they were happy and deeply satisfied with what they were doing. It is a most important undertaking in today’s hectic times.

Fatma Özok with her own creation
Fatma Özok with her own creation 'The Tower of Bable'

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