Feriel Ben Attia, founder of Salima Studio, told Be People the story of her inspiring designs using traditional Tunisian culture and natural techniques.
What is the inspiring story of Salima Studio?
Salima Studio is a Tunisian ceramic studio. We produce our organic clay designs by using traditional craftsman techniques. We support a purer and more natural world with the natural materials we use. We carry out our production with slow and long-term processes without using any industrial machinery or ovens.
How would you describe Tunisia's traditional past and its reflection in Salima Studio pieces?
Amazigh tribe women continue to make pottery by keeping their ancestral tradition in Sijnan, a Berber village in northern Tunisia. These masteries are included in UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List. As Salima Studio, we are inspired by these master techniques and develop this unique technique with modern designs.
How is the production phase of your extraordinary design objects progressing?
Sijnan has an incredible source of clay. This soil is washed, purified and then mixed. In the final stage, the clay reaches the desired shape with the help of hand. The designs are sanded many times with seashells and take the satin appearance on their surfaces. It is then dried over low heat and solidified. During the cooking process, the low temperature is maintained with cow dung. The drying process takes place in a completely natural way in the outdoor environment.
Is there a unique technique you use for Salima?
Decorative motifs in some designs are drawn using the juice of tree leaves. The long leaves of the pistacia lentiscus (gum) tree, which is abundant in the region, are collected, crushed and dissolved by mixing with water. This water is used as natural ink while painting the designs.
How do you capture natural, traditional and modern combinations in your designs?
Our passion for natural, organic and pure designs helps us. We believe that we need more original and clear realities in the world we live in today. Our designs are far from perfect and unique. We aim to continue the tradition of handicraft and preserve this unique heritage.