In the occupied West Bank, generations of Palestinians continue to teach glass and ceramic-making to their children but selling their popular wares has become more difficult.
In a dimly lit workshop on the banks of the Jaghjagh River in Syria’s northeastern Hasakeh province, Misak Antranik Petros throws his clay on an ancient potter’s wheel.
Now 85, the Syrian potter of Armenian origin says his family has practised the craft for more than 450 years: “The profession was passed down from one generation to another like an inheritance.”
And, after practising it for more than half a century, it has become a part of him. “I don’t like to clean the clay off my hands because I like the texture,” he says.
A teenaged Petros had to take over from his sick father and become the main potter in the family. Today, he has become a master of the craft and is working to pass his skills on to his sons.
“I am happy when I see the door of the workshop open and my sons working inside,” he said. “This craft deserves to be preserved.”
His workshop – in an old mud-brick house near the Kurdish-administered city of Qamishli – is wondrously cluttered with pots, tools and vases.
Petros and his two sons spend most of their time in the workshop, heated by an old wood-burning stove when the winter chill sets in.