This week for our cultural activity we had a pottery class. This took place only a few minutes away from our school in the “pottery village.” There were several shops that all sell pottery. We were taken to the back of one of the shops and got to learn about the process about making Moroccan pottery. I learned that is a very long process with many steps. I don’t remember the exact details (I should have written it down) but I will recall what I do remember. There is a long process just to make the clay. It requires collecting and sifting a lot of dirt. This dirt is transformed overtime to make clay, once they have clay they put it on the wheel to make a pot. After the initial pot is made it sits out in the sun until it is dry. After that it goes into an oven and then it gets painted. It goes back into the oven and then is polished. After it is polished it goes into the oven for the last time. After that, the pot is complete and can go on the shelves to be sold. We learned that these pots are sold throughout Morocco and some are even bought and then brought to Europe.
The way they made the pottery took me off guard though. I took a pottery class when I was younger and assumed that they would have an electric wheel, but they did not. Instead there was a wooden wheel they sat over and used their right leg to kick it and spin the clay. I was able to try it and it was a lot more challenging than when I used an electric wheel. A few friends and I discussed how it was hard to believe that they hadn’t transitioned to an electric wheel, but then we realized that if we did this then it would completely change the way they did their craft. They have mastered using a wooden wheel and so if they changed that they would have to completely learn their craft and that would be inefficient. They also used very simple tools to make the pottery. For example, to make sure it is the right size, each potter has a wooden stick next to him. They also used plastic from water bottles to scrape off extra clay that is not needed.
The pottery village was really fun and I intend to go back to buy some souvenirs before I leave and take more pictures. I’m grateful that I was able to watch masters demonstrate their craft, the pottery here is absolutely beautiful.