A few decades ago, the small settlement of Jerovec had about dozen potters, eagerly producing their wares on daily basis. In present times, however, this noble craft’s existence fell on the back of a single master of art. His name is Matija Kuca, and his pots, vases, pods and vessels are becoming very distinctive ceramic souvenirs of Croatia.
“My orders are various, really. Some clients want usable items, such as ceramics for storing food. Others wish for traditional wine steins, vessels for pickling milk known as stubleks, roasting molds and specially designed pods for making kuglof cakes,” Matija explains his working day. “I also make things of general use for one’s household. For example, shaders, lamps and decorative figurines are also easy to produce.”
Sometimes, Matija’s clients demand something unique or uncommon made from clay. His company, Keramika Mecena is always ready to listen to such demands. “Whatever can be made on the pottery wheel, I will do it,” Kuca said to LC source. “All one needs to do is to make a sketch of desired good and visit my workshop. The rest is up to me.”
The pottery work is quite challenging, so the whole family Kuca is participating in the procedure. First, the clay needs to be shaped in the suitable way. Next, it is dried on fresh air for several days. After a round of repairs and final touches with wet sponge, the clay is thermally processed for two times. The temperatures are usually around 1000 °C, meaning the potter needs to handle flame pretty well. Between these “roasts”, the clay is colored and decorated.
“I really like the idea that pottery combines the elements of our world- water, fire, ground and air,” Matija adds. “Every product is a unique piece of art, a handmade item featuring ethnological inscriptions of our region.”
Being a vital industry of ceramic souvenirs is an important role for Kuca family, yet they intend to broaden their business even further. If everything goes as planned, Keramika Mecena will soon reconstruct an old traditional pottery workshop. “It will be a nice place to visit for tourists, and we also intend to organize educational lessons onsite. After all, this craft was very important for northwest Croatia, and we are sure many people will show interest.”
Visit Keramika Mecena official Facebook Profile and don’t hesitate to order your own Croatian pottery at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out Kuca’s work in our photo gallery below!