It is on the edge of the desert, in the Draa Valley in Morocco, that the village of Tamegroute is revealed. Formerly a place of passage for caravans on the old road to Timbuktu, it is today renowned for its library housing more than 4000 precious works, and of course for its essential green enamel pottery.
Here, several families perpetuate ancestral know-how imported from Fez. The earth and water used to make the pieces are extracted in the valley located about thirty minutes away on foot. As for the wood used for cooking, it comes from the remains of the trunks and leaves of date palms.
First step: preparing the clay. The craftsmen work and knead the clay for a long time with their hands but also with their feet until they form a ball ready to be transformed.
Then, installed in a hole dug in the ground, they shape their pottery using a traditional wheel. Once shaped, plates, bowls, cups, tajine dishes or tiles are placed in the sun to dry.
Then comes the application of the enamel which gives these pieces their emblematic green color. The latter is made of an alloy of manganese and copper oxide, but the exact recipe remains a secret well kept by the potters!
Once the pottery has been coated with its composite, it is slid into a stone and earth oven heated with palm leaves and kindling. This traditional method of stewing gives its perfectly imperfect irregular appearance to each piece hand-crafted by the artisans of Tamegroute.
Tamegroute, province of Zagora, Morocco.