Traditional Pottery Club

Sorry to announce that, for the moment, this is no longer happening. If it gets started again, I’ll let you know!

Yay! Something fun and artsy to do in Kigali on the weekend! The Traditional Pottery Club sprung up a short while ago and not only does it give tourists and residents an inside glimpse of some amazing potters at work at the Cooperative Moderne de Poterie in Kacyiru, it also lets us join in, guided by an expert. Scope out a spot on one of the mats, grab a hunk of clay and get to work molding a small pot of your own under the watchful eye

The pottery club runs from 10:30am for two hours each Saturday morning (except on Umuganda Saturdays when classes start at 12:30pm) and also on many Sundays (just call first to check a class is running). It’s an informal setting and you can join in and leave at any time so don’t worry about being late. I’m sure they’re used to first time arrivals being late anyways as they attempt to negotiate the confusing Kacyiru streets. They do try to keep the sessions to a maximum of 16 students, so call Isaac on 0783 274 567 to book your space. If you’re a group of four or more people you can book a mid-week session.

Traditional Pottery Club, KigaliEach class costs Rwf 5,000 and you’re welcome to make as many creations as you want. The price includes all materials and one trainer for every four students and all profits are invested back into the cooperative. Their aim is to raise enough money for the purchase of a glazing kiln.

You’ll probably go from feelings of inspiration to shame as you watch how quickly the potters make beautiful creations. They sculpt the dark grey clay into amazing, large pots with what seems like no effort at all. Then they come help with your pot, fixing lopsided efforts in seconds. My little pot was saved with a bit of love from the pottery ninja sitting next to me. I’d like to claim the work as my own but, sadly, my skills need a lot of refinement. But that’s what the class is for!

The setting is really beautiful, down in the valley in Kacyiru opposite a hill of farmland. It’s a little out of the way and hard to find the first time, but totally worth the effort. At one point a farmer and his gang of cows and sheep wandered by which was a nice bit of inspiration for the kid next to me who was sculpting a cow. If you’re looking to fill your day, the pottery place would make a great starting point for a walk. So why not pack something to eat, make a few pots and then head off into the hills for some exploring.

The Cooperative Moderne de Poterie has loads of beautiful pots and other creations for sale so if your own efforts to be a master potter fall short, you don’t need to go home empty-handed. Although, even if you manage to make an amazingly wonderful pot, you’ll have to leave it there to be fired. You pots can be collected five days later.

The Traditional Pottery Club is something interesting and fun to do on a weekend morning. It’s great to be able to work with clay that’s brought from a nearby river, using the same methods as the local potters. It’ll take a lot of classes before I can make something that doesn’t cause me great embarrassment… but fortunately the teachers are patient and let you do your own thing, jumping in occasionally with a bit of help here and there.

It’s really a lot of fun in a beautiful place with some nice, talented people. Check it out!

When: 10:30am to 12:30pm, Saturdays (classes start at 12:30pm on Umuganda Saturdays) and most Sundays
Cost: Rwf 5,000 per class (Rwf 30,000 for 10 classes)
Phone: Isaac – 0783 274 567
Email: Lucy-Anna – lakelly1979@gmail.com

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About Kirsty

A Canadian who left in 2001 to wander around the world in search of sun, beautiful views and goat brochettes. Found Kigali in July 2010 and it seems like the perfect fit. I expect to be here until I get kicked out for defiantly walking on the grass while wearing flip flops.