I have been a frequent traveler to Pakistan for several years now. My family in Pakistan is always amazed at my interest and knowledge of Pakistan; it’s history, landscape and traditions, especially for someone who has been brought up thousands of miles away. With each visit I manage to grow a deeper appreciation for this remarkable country and its people.
This was my very first venture to the interior of Pakistan’s most southern province, Sindh. I have always had an innate love for the craft and culture of Pakistan, yet never had I journeyed to the place where it all happens. Interior Sindh is well known for its incredible creativity and the skilled artistry of it’s people. One could spend days,weeks, if not months, exploring everything from beautiful hand embroidery, dazzling mirror-work, intricate wood carving, Ralli (applique) quilting and traditional Ajrak (block printing) all passed down through generations for over 5000 years.
One of my stops was to the rural town of Hala. Here we met with a Jani Soomro, a 4th generation clay Artisan. It is with great pride and excitement that he walks us through his humble facility and shares with us the remarkable process involved in creating such treasured ceramic pieces. “The clay is pure” he explains, “We use 100% Sindhi mitti” (earth). It is added to water, mixed, strained and then dried in the hot sun for 24hrs to reveal the cleanest clay possible. All steps are painstakingly completed by hand, from throwing the clay, to stenciling patterns, to paints and glazes all applied with hand-made goat hair brushes boasts Jani. The final result, an undeniable work of art.
Oh, how I wished I could take one of everything home with me!