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Zlakusa pottery making

Zlakusa pottery making, which stands for hand-wheel pottery making in the village of Zlakusa, Serbia, refers to the superb skills and craftsmanship in the making of unglazed terracotta dishes for food boiling, cooking, roasting and such and are often used in households and restaurants across Serbia. Zlakusa terracotta earthenware was officially included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2020.

Zlakusa terracotta casseroles and earthenware pottery making is rather unique due to its texture and the technique used. Its composition is 50% clay and 50 % stone- calcite mineral. The stones and boulders used give the earthenware terracotta casseroles an even longer durability and wear and tear capacity and it allows for even bigger size casseroles to be made . The clay is dug out from the local village of Vranjani and then it is immersed into the water whereupon it is left to settle for seven days.

Photo: The stones and boulders are being transported from the village Rupeljevo which is located in close proximity and then it is ground afterwards so that the fine loose powder is mixed with clay. One of the master craftsmen is able to produce three to six terracotta casseroles per day. The process of making these is the same as it used to be back in the day on what is normally referred to as the wheel, where the master craftsman builds the earthenware and other types of terracotta pottery literally using one hand only whilst moving the wheel with the other hand.

Photo: Upon completion, the piece of pottery is to go through the drying process (up to 15 days, for the casseroles bigger in size) ; each piece is given a final touch in that they get final minute decorative details and processing and then it is prepared for the baking process at temperatures from 700 to 900 ˚C. Once the baking process is completed, each casserole goes through a thorough quality control by a master craftsman and only then is it ready to be shipped to its prospective customer. The materials used for the production and the sheer making process are 100% environmentally friendly.