Turkish Ceramics

February 22, 2010

Have you ever visited Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar? Some of us are lucky enough to visit often like my friend Esra who hops a plane every few months! Whenever she goes, she returns with pretty bowls and other ceramic goodies for me. This is just a glimpse of my collection, there is even more… but I want to show only a few of my favorites as they are quite colorful and ornate. I love the tulip patterns and how some of the surfaces have slightly raised patterns that feel so good as you run your fingers over them. I display these on my white shelf in my kitchen with tea tins, glasses and white porcelain bowls. The mix of ethnic design with some of my more modern white ceramics makes for a stunning arrangement.

Turkish Ceramics

Turkish Ceramics

These bowls are perfect for tapas, sauces, salt, various sugars, you can even use them outside of the kitchen for your earrings. Most of the time, I display them because every time I look at these little bowls I think about my friend. I feel so special when she searches the bazaars to bring home a little carefully wrapped treasure just for me. I like to attach t a feeling or memory to objects in my home, do you do this too? The positive associations that I have with them makes me feel even more loved and supported. There really is truth behind, “Decorate with what you love”. It can have such a positive impact on your life, family life, and even your relationships with others because so often I’ll walk by these bowls and pause and say, “I need to call Esra!” and then I do.  See what I mean? :)

Online you can find your own Turkish bazaar. It’s called Iznikium and they also have a shop in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar under the same name where most of these bowls shown above were purchased.

What about the things in your home, what is your approach to the objects that you have on display?

(images: holly becker for decor8)


  • Reply visualingual February 22, 2010 at 11:57 am

    My friends always ask for my advice and opinion about decorating their homes, and “Decorate with what you love” is really the best tip I can give them. My own home comes together, I think, because I have a strong sense of what I like. I don’t worry much about matching colors or periods or styles, but I do have consistent taste, and a singular vision, so that eclectic finds end up working well together. You can see our apartment on Flickr.

    These Turkish ceramics, by the way, are to die for. I wish I could reach through my screen and touch them!
    .-= visualingual´s last blog ..Accessories with Architectural Twists =-.

  • Reply liza February 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Your bowls a very special, even without the good association you have. Most of the objects I display have been given to me by someone I love. There are some I’ve bought. If I end up having some negative feeling about that time of my life, though, they go away quickly!
    .-= liza´s last blog ..Fun Ski Day =-.

  • Reply vicki February 22, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Such a beautiful collection, Holly, and you captured them perfectly with your camera, too!

    Hope you’re doing well. :) I’ve been MIA due to some health issues and our computer acting up, but I think of you often. xo!

  • Reply luisa February 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    those bowls are so pretty. i remember my very first time when i visited my best friend elsa in istanbul. she took me to the bazar and i was standing in front of each and every stand that sold those bowls and couldn’t decide on which to buy as i loved them all. at the end i made her husband bargain on 5 bowls. a big one and 4 little ones. i carried them like jewels through customs and the plane, having them on my lap during the whole flight to make sure they won’t crack. i use a different one each day for my cornflake breakfast. they remind me of my friend elsa who i miss so much every day.

    … thanks for this post that brought up such a nice memory.
    .-= luisa´s last blog ..Cross stitching kit =-.

  • Reply lindsay February 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    I love that blue one. I don’t like a lot of things sitting around in my house but the ones I do display almost always have meaning. An antler from a walk in the woods with my dad, a pillow crafted by my mom, a shelf handmade by my grandad, special art drawn by my daughters gets framed to be enjoyed for a long time.

  • Reply Beth February 22, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Thank you for the link to the turkish bazaar…those bowls are absolutely beautiful! If only I could go to a “real” turkish bazaar, until then I will enjoy the link!
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..The Big Girl Cowl Neck in Cream =-.

  • Reply Melissa February 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I loved the bazaar in Turkey!! Really want to go back so insanely jealous of your friend who goes often.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Winter Olympics =-.

  • Reply Graciel @ Evenstar Art February 22, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Serendipity! I just spruced up my living room and carefully grouped my bowl collection, including tulip dappled ones from my trip to Istanbul last October. The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market were amazing. Colors, colors everywhere. Istanbul is truly a feast for the eyes. I hope you have the chance to visit that city, Holly. It will drench you with joy.

  • Reply Sarah Sarniak February 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    These are absolutely beautiful, I love the colors.
    .-= Sarah Sarniak´s last blog ..Major Budget Decorating =-.

  • Reply Laura February 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    That turquoise blue is amazing.
    I tend to have just a few items on display (apart from books) to simplify the cleaning and because I don’t like houses cluttered with loads of little things. The kind of things I like to show are the ones brought from other countries, possibly handmade and connected to an experience or people important for me. Now I have some Sicilian ceramics, some traditional dolls from Egypt, Turkey and Russia (a present from a friend that always brings me something from his journeys), handmade cushions (by me) and some paintings made by my boyfriend, me and other artist friends.
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Mimosa time =-.

  • Reply Alicia February 22, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Not only are the bolw so pretty, the photography is great!!!

    Love the blog!


  • Reply holly February 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I traveled for a living for many years and never did i realize what treasures those would be until it was history. I have a photo of myself in kenya- in the masai mara- with several of these beautifully adorned women who beaded my basket I purchased and some bracelets. There are hundreds of beautiful beads in the most beautiful shades of blue, orange and periwinkle. They are such treasures made by hand and the women who made them were so dear….I never knew how much that experience would change my life and I’m so thrilled I have some mementos to remind me. These things we cherish truly make a house a “HOME”.
    .-= holly´s last blog ..Vintage Trophy =-.

  • Reply Nuit February 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    bowls are great for decorating… I am glad you have such a lovely collection to display… Anything Turkish makes me happy, the colors and the patterns are just to die…

    I like using black n white pots and bowls… to create some contrast on a shelf. But loving each item on display is the best thing that can happen… that’s when the object really becomes special and catches the eye of visitors.

    Great photos HOlly :D
    .-= Nuit´s last blog ..A stylist to love… =-.

  • Reply Jaime February 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    These are gorgeous! Going to check out the site… :)
    .-= Jaime´s last blog ..Fashion week loves: Part 3 =-.

  • Reply Coco February 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    how lovely these bowls are! I love the color of them, so you too :-)
    I think i have two items in my house that are very special to me because of who gave it to me. One is my giant moroccan/turkish tray, its not the typical one you would find in the shops these days but it has a very unique decoration displaying a lot of men and strange animals on it. I really find it unique in that way and in the size (i think its about 1.10 meter). From who did i get this? I got this tray from my mothers boyfriend when i was 16 :-) i think he was living with us by that time for 1 and a half year and it meant a lot to me that he gave me that tray instead of his own children… i think it really displays how good he already knew me that i would cherish this the rest of my life!

    The second thing thats really special for me is a Jesus statue hanging on my wall. I’m not religious but i got this from a woman named Maria, and she helped my father and my family when he was ill and died… If i look at ‘my’ Jesus i just think of her and my father and i know there are some very special people in the world!

  • Reply pruh February 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I loved the bazar in Istanbul. And I bought these there.

    But I love your bowls too!

    Did you go to the hammam too?

  • Reply cristin @ simplified bee February 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Gorgeous bowls! I alwasy advise my clients to decorate with objects they love (from family, travels, etc.). Also, the items make more of an impact if they can be shown/displayed as a collection.

    Thanks too for sharing with us!

    .-= cristin @ simplified bee´s last blog ..Easter and Springtime Decorating Ideas =-.

  • Reply Gosia February 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    You blog who you are.You teach who you are. You decorate your place who you are, right? I don’t think one can escape it. And that’s great!

    ps. the collection you’ve got is really cool, must look lovely against minimalistic white..
    .-= Gosia´s last blog ..February Reading List / Lutowa Lista Lektur =-.

  • Reply lisa h. February 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    What a beautiful collection, Holly! I have a little painted bowl that my friend brought back from a trip to Turkey (along the same lines as the painted bowl in the upper left corner of the second photo). I keep it on my desktop, both as a spot to corral odds and ends, and as a beautiful decoration in its own right (after the odds & ends get put away).

    My decorating style overall tends to be rather sentimental.
    .-= lisa h.´s last blog ..Link: Tutorial + a giveaway from Snipsnaphappy! =-.

  • Reply Kendra February 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    And just like that, Turkey shoots to the top of the list of countries slated for a buying trip. I love the raised patterns on the bowls and plates – stunning. I’ve always had a thing for earthy Japanese pottery, but I could see this mixing well.

  • Reply Pingos Do Céu February 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    what a beautiful selection!! what a beautiful photo!!


    Pingos do Céu
    .-= Pingos Do Céu´s last blog ..novo na loja | new in store =-.

  • Reply Verity February 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I love these bowls! Your friend has made some wonderful finds! I am lucky enough to be living in Istanbul and took little sets to some of my good friends on my last visit home. They really are beautiful. Turkey has such an amazing wealth of handcrafted items – the workmanship often amazes me!
    .-= Verity´s last blog ..Making Mondays: Eggplant Fritters =-.

  • Reply Krista February 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Ohhh, I absolutely LOVE these! :-) My brother travels to Turkey regularly and always brings me the most beautiful things. :-)
    .-= Krista´s last blog ..O Canada, and A Bit of Olympic Magic =-.

  • Reply manvi drona-hidalgo February 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    oh holly, i brought back those exact same blue/turquoise bowls from the grand bazzar. i went crazy shopping there. i love turkey. it was our first vaca as a couple back in 2005 and we are dying to go back someday. i love bodrum in south turkey the most.
    .-= manvi drona-hidalgo´s last blog ..springtime buzz =-.

  • Reply Sara Walk February 22, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Oh I just love those bowls. I bought a bunch of the reddish color ones when I went to Grand Bazaar this year. Istanbul is an unbeliveable city. I have been traveling a lot….and they hands down have the most unreal pottery!

  • Reply hena tayeb February 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    these bowl are absolutely gorgeous. beautiful rich colors and detail. Turkey is one of the places on my places to go list. Till them the link will suffice
    .-= hena tayeb´s last blog ..Two more new listings and a sale! =-.

  • Reply Julie February 22, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Wow Holly what a yummy monday line up!
    I do the same with Mexican bowls ( I have a bowl fetish)
    that we have collected on our travels. Reminds me our trips and to
    go back soon! I love it that they are useful memories In
    my everyday cooking life. I am reading your blogs at my chiro appointment on my iPhone helps pass the time and inspire. Thanx holly.
    Tricky to comment but I did it today with a few funny looks!

  • Reply sideoats + scribbles (Lisa) February 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Wow, Holly, those bowls are so pretty! And I know what you mean about having memorable objects on display. Right now I have a hand carved wooden mushroom from a village in Japan. Mostly though, I like to buy things that I use everyday, like my kitchen towels from Paris and a mug from Tokyo! :)
    .-= sideoats + scribbles (Lisa)´s last blog ..Inspired by office supplies! =-.

  • Reply Carol de Souza February 22, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Uau!! Amazing!

  • Reply sophie February 22, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    I’m going to Turkey this summer and can’t wait to explore the bazaar and post my goodies on my blog
    i love these ceramics
    .-= sophie´s last blog ..Urban Outfitters New Arrivals =-.

  • Reply anna shoub February 22, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Those are so pretty. I love displaying ceramics. Somehow dishes hidden in a closed cupboard seems too sad. We use plate racks, shelves and cup hooks so that outr everyday objects become art.

  • Reply laura trevey February 22, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Beautiful colors and such intricate detailed designs… lovely!
    .-= laura trevey´s last blog ..Home Renovation: Siding and Framing =-.

  • Reply karen February 22, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Oooh – the bowls are lovely. I have a beautiful turkish carpet, which I have hung on the wall so it doesn’t get ruined. I love it!!

  • Reply malka February 22, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    My goodness, those are breathtaking. I have no idea they existed. Thank you for sharing.
    .-= malka´s last blog ..MALKA’S FAVORITE FIND =-.

  • Reply Elle (boltandfrolic) February 22, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Lovely! They look even more amazing on Amy’s print : D

  • Reply Kelsey February 23, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Wedding gifts are a simple, sweet way to link things with people. For example, I’ll always remember the ladies who contributed to my kitchen canisters, the old friend who got me a beautiful hammered metal bowl, my mom’s best bud who got me the leaf platter, etc.
    .-= Kelsey´s last blog ..Eureka Springs – Baby Bella! =-.

  • Reply theaxx February 23, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Ooh I love these Holly! They’re gorgeous. Such sumptuous colours ;)


  • Reply Lana February 23, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Wow, they are stunning, the colours are so rich and inviting, I especially love your first photo.
    .-= Lana´s last blog ..Eclectic style =-.

  • Reply Stylissimo - Essi February 23, 2010 at 3:06 am

    WOW, the bowls are absolutely amazing!
    .-= Stylissimo – Essi´s last blog ..Roger & Jessica? =-.

  • Reply Nilo February 23, 2010 at 4:38 am

    Grand Bazaar is one of my favorite places in Istanbul! Love to spend time there, lots of goodies you can find for yourself and your home. Visit one day, you will enjoy every second ;) Love the pics by the way, cheers from Istanbul!
    .-= Nilo´s last blog ..5a+5b =-.

  • Reply Valentina February 23, 2010 at 4:54 am

    beautiful style, the turkish style ^^, is always an explosion of colours!! It’s so thrilling for me!
    .-= Valentina´s last blog ..baptiste debombourg =-.

  • Reply Diana Windsor February 23, 2010 at 4:54 am

    This is such a lovely collection of bowls.It’s looking so cute that you will just like to decorate your home with these pieces.

  • Reply Ulla V. February 23, 2010 at 5:37 am

    How funny! Yesterday my daughter came home from a holiday in Turkey and she brought home the exact same bowls…even in the same colors! She also bought a salad bowl in a similar style. :)
    .-= Ulla V.´s last blog ..Now it’s here =-.

    • Reply decor8 February 23, 2010 at 6:44 am

      Ulla V. – Now THAT is a coincidence, wow! Do you like them?

  • Reply Siobhán February 23, 2010 at 5:54 am

    Wonderful pieces, this is making me look forward to my Turkey trip in the summer even more, will definitely call into the Grand Bazar when we are in Istanbul.

  • Reply Annelise February 23, 2010 at 7:10 am

    I LOVE Turkey. Those bowls are really great for storing jewelery!
    .-= Annelise´s last blog ..Links =-.

  • Reply Marie February 23, 2010 at 7:46 am

    These bowls are so sweet and rich with character! I love love those colors…really lovely. I totally relate to decorating with what you love…I have kept a small bowl my mom used to have in her kitchen while I was growing up. Now I keep it in my kitchen. It’s a simple bowl with some painting, but I love it because it makes me feel close to her now that I’ve been out of the house for a few years now! See you back at byw!
    .-= Marie´s last blog ..Winter Fun =-.

  • Reply Liz's Barefoot Books February 23, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Those bowls are so lovely! If I had a collection of them, I’d put them on my mantle. Gorgeous!

  • Reply Liz's Barefoot Books February 23, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Beautiful bowls!

  • Reply shevon February 23, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I really love the color and texture of the slip trailed decorated bowls.

  • Reply Giovanna February 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    i loooove those bowls. i wish i could fly to turkey and pick them out myself while wandering the bazaar.
    .-= Giovanna´s last blog ..happy monday – more art =-.

  • Reply Richard Rothstein February 23, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Gorgeous designs and wonderful images! Make sure they’re safe before using them for anything other than decorative pieces. Personally, I like to have useful works of arts around the house, although I certainly appreciate pieces that exist only to be admired.

  • Reply Thandelike February 24, 2010 at 6:27 am

    @Richard I’m glad you mentioned food-safety issues! I don’t believe these bowls are generally made with food-safe glaze (I didn’t see it addressed at the Iznikium site either)…but my contacts in the Grand Bazaar have warned me not to use the decorative tourist ceramics — that’s what these bowls are — for food.
    .-= Thandelike´s last blog ..Being grounded is overrated =-.

  • Reply Esra February 24, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Beautiful pictures honey, I´m glad you like your bowls :) I personally use those bowls for olives, sauces, spices or salads (depends on the size of the bowls), so there is no problem to use it that way. What I don´t do is to use them for cooking or baking, there are other bowls, that can be used to prepare meals. So feel free to use those bowls for presenting food, they look stunning when they are perfectly arranged on the table.

  • Reply Susan February 25, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Those are super gorgeous! Istanbul is on my list of places to see before I’m through….


  • Reply Sarah February 26, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    I was admiring these gorgeous bowls yesterday and wondering how on earth I would be able to get hold of some to sell in my shop … Not 10 minutes later I was chatting with the travel agent from next door when he mentioned he’s going to Istanbul next week, and when I told him about the bowls he offered to track some down for me. What an amazing coincidence! I hope he can find some – they look amazing. I probably won’t want to sell them (which is so often the case!).

  • Reply GeCe February 28, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I am so honoured your post and comments about Turkey and Istanbul, as being a Turkish woman. I regularly fallow your site and sometimes I share your advices on my blogs (the other is Bir Yastikta ). The Grand Bazaar is on my job way, whatever you want from here, I will be glad to help you.

    Thanks again.
    .-= GeCe´s last blog ..Bu Pazar =-.

  • Reply Chris March 1, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Oh wow, those are just gorgeous! Wish we had ceramics like that in the us. Surely we do, but they are a bit harder to find I am sure of it! I love detailed bowls like that, and the colors are just so dynamic, and the size is perfect. love them!

  • Reply Elie's Papel March 2, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    This are a great addition to any white china set… they would bring so much color to the table!
    .-= Elie’s Papel´s last blog ..Branding and Re-Inventing =-.

  • Reply uha1 April 1, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I was once been to a house in Turkey (a rental winter house in Istanbul), almost every wall was decorated with some sort of Turkish ceramics; kinds of Arabic written text. I was very impressed. As soon as my miserable student life is over, I’m planning to decorate my house all with Turkish ceramics. They are available in ebay!

  • Reply elif August 8, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Love your post!
    Love your blog!
    And loves from Turkey!

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