All About: Tamegroute Pottery
We’ve always had a passion for Berber rugs and authentic original Moroccan craft. So it was only a matter of time before we packed our bags and headed out to the Atlas mountains, in search of vintage treasures, baskets and rich green Tamegroute pottery. In this blog it’s going to be all about our extraordinary trip this month to the small village on Tamegroute on the Algerian border, to discover more about this traditional and unique Moroccan craft.
AUTHENTIC TAMEGROUTE POTTERY
Tamegroute is a small dusty village on the cusp of the Sahara Desert. The endless mountainous roads from Marrakech are busy, tortuous and involve much bottom clenching and eyes shut tight- but it’s a journey well worth taking- in order to have the opportunity to visit the skilled artisans responsible for creating this magnificent green glazed pottery we love so much.
If you’re searching for the pottery courtyard when you arrive at Tamegroute, just head for the plumes of smoke that fill the air when the ovens are lit! The pottery’s central courtyard is home to 7 Atelier families and each has their own oven and atelier. The courtyard is a hive of activity when we arrive early in the morning. The sky is deep blue, the air is already warm and the artisans are busy packing and unpacking ovens, unloading thick brown clay from wooden carts and applying the deep grey glaze, by hand, to all manner of bowls and platters and slab candlesticks in various shapes and sizes.
The clay has been dug from the river bed of the local Draa Valley and transported by hand carts to the central courtyard. From here the slabs of clay are mixed with water and spread out and trodden by foot until a rich carpet of clay is created and left to dry in the sun. Thick chunks of clay are then torn off and taken by the potters to their wheels. They sit in deep holes dug in to the ground and it takes only moments for them to spin their wheels and create the most beautiful bowls plates and jugs. These pieces are neatly arranged in the sun, dried overnight and the the deep grey glaze is then applied by hand. The pieces are then stacked high in the ovens to bake. It’s the combination of the local clay and the particular glaze of manganese, silicon and copper that creates the superb green glaze for which Tamegroute is renowned.
The ovens are filled with sawdust, wood shavings and palm leaves and the fires are then lit. Temperatures rise to over 1000 degrees C. And when the artisans see the rich green glaze appearing on the pottery, more sawdust his added to get the temperature up to 1200 degrees. After 24 hours the fires are slowly extinguished and when cool the oven is cracked open.
It was remarkable to see our huge platters, candlesticks, jugs and bowls being created. Beautiful, rich in colour, rich in texture and pottery which is fabulous for every day living. Our Tamegroute ’19 collection will be here this Spring.