The colossal tradition of the Western Balkans is one of the key points that attract travellers to our region! Cultural, historical, and craftsmen heritage are equally attractive. This heritage sets us to tell the stories to our visitors, while visitors usually connect very well with them.
Today is Zlakusa‘s turn! Have you heard of it? If not, here is the chance, just continue reading!
The village of Zlakusa lies in the River Djetinja Valley in Western Serbia, Zlatibor District. The location is indeed impressive as it’s at an equal distance from three capitals of the Western Balkans – Belgrade (Serbia), Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina) and Podgorica (Montenegro).
UNESCO did a very nice description of this craft and we wanted to share it with you in this blog:
“Zlakusa pottery making and hand-wheel pottery-making in the village of Zlakusa relates to the knowledge and skills involved in making unglazed vessels for thermic food processing.
Used in households and restaurants across Serbia, Zlakusa pottery is made of clay and calcite and the wheel is run exclusively by hand. The process takes seven to ten days and includes the preparation of clay paste, shaping, decoration, finishing, drying and baking. The finished vessels are decorated with geometrical ornaments made with wooden or metal tools, and handles are added to some vessels. Nowadays, traditional shapes, pots, bread-making and meat-frying pans and small pans for the kitchen oven have been adjusted to the modern way of preparing and serving food.
The related knowledge and skills are mainly transmitted through direct participation and work alongside experienced craftspeople within the community. Demonstrations at the Zlakusa Festival and classes held at the Arts School in Užice provide another key mode of transmission.
Zlakusa pottery is often presented at fairs and festivals throughout Serbia and the vessels are widely used during important family and community events. It is claimed that some dishes prepared in Zlakusa earthenware on an open fire have a unique taste. Moreover, the pottery is closely associated with the village of Zlakusa and its environs due to its close link with the natural environment, which provides the raw material.”
This is one of the oldest crafts that has survived in Serbia, and it’s a skill that is passed from generation to generation. What is interesting is that more and more young people in Zlakusa are opting for this craft.
Every summer, an international ceramics colony takes place here, in a fine blend of local traditional pottery with modern artistic ceramic trends. So far, twenty-nine workshops have been held from 1996 up to 2021, dedicated to ceramics making ”Zlakusa Art Ceramics” in Uzice and founded by Sofija Bunardzic.
Zlakuska Grncarija, Family Sunjevaric & Sofija Bunardzic