Sejnene

 

Sejnene Pottery is a cooperative founded in the mountainous village of Sejnane, Tunisia in North Africa. The skills involved in forming these works have been passed down from generation to generation, mother to daughter. First, the clay is extracted from wadi beds, or streams, around their mountain village. Then these talented craftswomen work the clay: drying, modeling, sanding, and baking. They freely hand build every piece. The sanding is performed with a seashell, and the women paint the pieces using a blackened plant straw and dyes from local plants.  The pottery is slowly baked in an oven made by the potters out of cow dung and dried plants. 

 

Modeling

Sanding

Baking

Firing

 

Selling this pottery is the women’s sole means of support.  With the proceeds, they pay for food, schooling, and healthcare for their families. This is an entirely female enterprise.  The women of Sejnene complete all stages of production, from clay extraction to firing. There are currently 65 potters in this small cooperative. These women have recently been awarded UNESCO status for their skills and the  “intangible heritage” of these special techniques is being taught to a new generation.

Saint Elise was invited to be one of the first international organizations to have the pleasure of meeting the women of Sejnene when Tunisian trade recently opened with the United States.  We are honored and pleased to carry their work and bring these exquisite pieces to you and your home.