Giving Form to Clay 3 – Short Film
Pots Project: Handmade Pottery Workshop in Karima
Above, still from the short film, Pots Project: Handmade Pottery Workshop in Karima.
Above pot purchased from Dilling market, South Kordofan, early 1980s, personal collection. Nuba pot making techniques, their form and motifs demonstrate age-old continuity.
This week’s post complements previous posts on the rich history and culture of pottery making in Sudan. It is an art and skill in grave danger of being lost in contemporary Sudan. The short film below captures the skill of a young potter, Mohammad Idris – the only person in his family working with pottery – as he goes about his craft, combining ancient and contemporary techniques.
For more context to this fascinating field, see:
In Modern and Ancient Pottery Traditions in the el-Zuma and Karima Region in Sudan: An Introduction to Comparative Studies (Pots Project), researchers Ewa Czyzewska-Zalewska and Zofia Kowarska seek insights into ancient pottery making techniques by observing potters still using traditional techniques today. They, like many other researchers in the field, are struck by the fact that they are privileged witnesses to:
“a dying profession with fewer and fewer traditional potters still using their skills. Easier and more profitable jobs are replacing the old handcrafting skills and the range of products available on the market is squeezing out traditional clay pottery…It is the last opportunity to observe at work the traditional potters who have been living on this land for generations and to learn where and how they acquired their pottery-making skills.”
Read their detailed analysis of pottery making techniques in
Above, stills from the film, showing Mohammad Idris’s pottery making process.
The 15-minute film embedded below forms part of Czyzewska-Zalewska and Zofia Kowarska’s ongoing documentation of modern pottery workshops in Sudan, which they initiated in 2016. Both are archeologists working with the Early Makuria Research project directed by Professor Mahmoud El-Tayeb (PCMA UW).
As part of the project, modern pottery-making techniques are compared with those used to produce the ancient ceramics from the abundant assemblage excavated in the tumulus tombs of el-Zuma in 2016.
Read about the great Anglo-Sudanese potter, Siddig El-Nigoumi in
And the exciting work of young, contemporary artist and potter Enas Satir in
For Sudanese Arabic videos on Sudan’s pottery, see