Engineer-turned-potter Saima Shafi tries to redesign pottery in Kashmir


A young engineer in the Kashmir valley is trying to redesign pottery by giving it a modern look to restart the halted wheels of traditional potters. Saima Shafi is a civil engineer by the day and a potter by the evening. At her small studio in Srinagar, she tries to make kitchen items out of clay to raise awareness among the traditional potters of the Valley.

She feels potters have been looked down upon over the years and with time many have left the profession owing to the modern kitchen culture and limited sales. Perusing her passion after completing her engineering and with a government job in hand, Saima went to Bengaluru in Karnataka chasing her love for pottery. 

“Through online platform and media, I’m trying to let traditional potters know that there are modern techniques to pottery which we can have at the international and national level. This sector will have an economic boom by these methods,” said Saima Shafi.

Now she regularly meets traditional potters to teach them new techniques, make them familiar with modern tools, and bring a sense of pride in them for their art. For years, authors have written the obituary of pottery in Kashmir but if this goes right for her, she may very well prove them wrong. 

Her products include modern unearth pots, cups, plates, and other decorative items. Saima likes to call herself a ‘Kralkoor,’ meaning ‘potter girl’ rather than an engineer. She now wishes to increase the income of potters to give them a decent living.

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