Production Process

Pottery from Lombok Island

penjemuran-sebelum-dibakar-300x181For over 500 years, the Sasak people of Lombok Island, where the Pacific and Indian oceans meet, have created earthenware pottery for their food preparation and storage needs using time honored traditional methods. Hand built using the coil method, skillfully shaped further with the aid of sticks or paddles, and then burnished with stones, the pots are low fired in shallow pits amidst a fire of coconut husk and grass.

Legend suggests that the island and its inhabitants were originally named by the Goddess Dewi Anjani, who said “Because this island is of thick growth penuh sesak I therefore name the island Sesak.” She is also credited with teaching the people how to make earthenware cooking pots thus allowing their sustenance and encouraging their society and culture to flourish.

Approximately 90% of the population of Lombok is Sasak with most of the remaining 10% claiming Balinese lineage. The Sasak are nominally Moslem yet there is very strong evidence of Hindu and Wetu Telu culture and belief woven into their daily life. Wetu Telu is an ancient animistic faith that has blended with Islam forming the unique culture and daily practice of the Sasak.

pengerikan-300x261Each piece is hand made without the use of tables, wheels or anything other than very rudimentary implements. The resulting subtle variations in size, finish and shape add to the complexity and beauty of this ancient art. Splashing ground tamarind and palm oil on the surface during the firing process results in the tortoise shell, leather or woodlike appearance called “asam” – meaning sour, as tamarind is used in the indigenous sweet and sour sauces, a famous part of Sasak cuisine.

Linseed, olive, or lemon oil can be used occasionally to restore the luster of your pottery much as you would feed your finer wood furniture. Sasak pottery is suitable for dry food service but is not waterproof and should not be used in the microwave or dishwasher. An inside liner is suggested for use with live plants.

Various finishes and treatments are added to enhance the beauty and elegance of this distinctive art form.
Asam – Splashing ground tamarind and palm oil on the surface during the firing process results in the tortoise shell, leather or woodlike appearance called asam (sour) as the tamarind is used in the indigenous sweet and sour sauces, a famous part of Sasak cuisine.
penjemuran-150x150Blackened – Starving the pot for oxygen by burying the pot in straw and earth after firing results in a blackened surface.
“Cukli” or shell inlay – Small pieces of white shell are inlaid into the pot – available on both the asam and blackened styles.
Rattan Trim – Strips of rattan and grass are hand woven around the edge of the piece – available on both the asam and blackened styles.
Banana Leaf -Dried strips of banana leaf are attached to the terra cotta piece giving a wooden look.