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Pottery revival workshop opened in Mogilev Oblast as part of EU/UNDP-funded project

Society 11.01.2018 | 19:01
The potter Alexandra Chertkova
The potter Alexandra Chertkova

KRASNOPOLYE, 11 January (BelTA) – A pottery development workshop now works in Krasnopolye, the capital of Krasnopolye District, Mogilev Oblast, BelTA learned from the potter Alexandra Chertkova, who coordinates the local initiative meant to raise Krasnopolye District's visibility by developing the art of pottery.

The initiative has been implemented by the Krasnopolye District History and Ethnography Museum within the framework of the project Support to Local Development in the Republic of Belarus. The project is financed by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The pottery workshop is located in a low-story area of the town and occupies premises formerly used by the local branch of the national movie distribution and screening company. European Union money has been used to repair the building, buy the necessary pottery equipment, tools, and materials.

Pottery was a mainstay industry in Krasnopolye District in a distant past. The idea to revive the industry was expressed by the local enthusiasts a long time ago. “But we started implementing it only in 2017. Probably, the stars were aligned. Besides, our initiative was backed financially by foreign donors. This former residential house with a courtyard and auxiliary buildings is perfect. We can store and cleanse clay here, bake clay using traditional methods, and arrange workshops, sightseeing tours, and festivities, which we intend to organize in the near future,” said Alexandra Chertkova.

Anyone can now learn pottery skills at the workshop for pleasure or for self-employment purposes. School students take a strong interest in pottery, too. “They are pleased to learn the basics,” said Alexandra Chertkova. “We are also working on an interactive sightseeing tour. Tourists will be able to learn about the art of pottery from the start to the end products. Master classes will be offered to individuals and groups.”

The tours will begin in the local museum where a large collection of authentic clay products is stored. The products were collected from villages of Krasnopolye District. They were widely used in the course of daily life in the 19th century — early 20th century for cooking, eating, and for storing food. A golden jar on the district's emblem is not an accident.

The potter said: “We are not going to limit ourselves to making souvenirs out of local clay. We intend to revive all kinds of old technologies and start making dinnerware, facing tiles, and other kinds of commercial products in the future. We intend to make our dreams come true by drinking coffee out of our own handmade cups soon.”

Efforts to popularize pottery will enhance the awareness about Krasnopolye District and its tourism potential, said Alexandra Chertkova.

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