Handmade crafts often tend to develop into an art passed down to the next generation. When it comes to old cities, towns, and villages, it’s easy to find several beautiful examples of family crafts that have lasted for several generations. In the large city of Hebron, Palestine, the art of ceramics is such an ancient one that it’s been through eight generations to date.
With the passing of time, this craft has remained true to its traditional methods, save for the addition of using a printer for designs. Perhaps, this is what makes this specific trade so unique to Hebron. Since 1962, ceramics make up a huge portion of the tourist industry in Palestine. Outside of the Natsheh family, the originators of the ceramic industry in Palestine, only a few dozen other people throughout the country are known to practice this craft.
Like traditional pottery making, the object or trinket is first birthed on the pottery wheel using clay.
After the shape is concluded, it is placed in the sun to dry in the sun for 24 hours, after which it is put in the kiln. Then it is taken to the table to be hand painted.
Of course, this skill is not specific to men only. Today, many women have undertaken this craft in workshops.
After each piece is carefully painted with beautiful arabesque scenery, many of which embody the many important symbols of Palestine, the pieces are put into the kiln to bake. After that, they are ready to be glazed.
Once the pieces are glazed, they are returned to the kiln. The final products are what we see in markets today.
It’s important to mention that this beautiful art has found its way to international markets. During the first Intifada, ceramic makers had to find a way to keep their businesses afloat, all the while ensuring that their customers will always have a piece of Palestine just an order away. That’s when they decided to export their goods to several countries across the world.
Hebron ceramics are a beautiful reminder of the beauty of Palestine. Those living in the diaspora can always find their love for Palestine hand painted on a piece of pottery, all just a click away.