When I first saw the Daily Post’s weekly Photo Challenge to photograph something that meant heritage, I groaned. Here I am in Greece absolutely surrounded by markers of heritage – definitely heritage overload. So, what to choose?
Lucky for me that I was with a group of people this past weekend looking at clay sources and traditional pottery production on the island of Aegina – only a one and quarter hour ferry ride from Athens. This is a worthy subject for heritage. There are many very good artisan potters on Aegina, but sadly only one now that actually sources and mines his own local clay.
We first visited the source of the clay: a clay quarry – mined out of what are referred to as “caves” in the hillside. It is deemed to be a dangerous task only to be attempted by those with specialised skills.
The potter processes the raw clay by breaking it down and levigating it on his premises outside a small village in the north of the island. Even some unfired pots get re-cycled if they don’t make the grade.
All his pots are made on his wheel in his workshop.
The pots are left to dry – first in the sun and then in on the shelves in his workshop. These are traditional water jar shapes from Aegina.
He then fires these pots in his own handmade kiln amidst free-range chickens in his back yard.
It is part of a wide range of cultural heritage to be found in Greece. But, it is also a dying art – making traditional pottery from the raw source to the finished product.
Heritage: The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge