Learn to Make Ceramics at Nisf Jubeil
By Malak Hasan and Bisan Al-HajHasan
Hello everyone, this is Malak and Bisan from Ahlan Palestine. We would love to welcome you to “Ahlan Palestine Postcard” where we introduce you to a new Palestinian destination or experience each month.
Around 17 kilometers north-northwest of the city of Nablus, the small village of Nisf Jubeil is nestled between two mountains with a magnificent green view and a distinctive character of its own. Different explanations exist for its name; some say it means half a sun because of its location that makes it less exposed to sunlight. Others say it is called Nisf Jubeil because it is halfway between the Lebanese Jbeil and a town named Jubail in Saudi Arabia. But the meaning we found most representative of this beautiful village is House of Ceramics.
Perfect for people who seek more than just sightseeing, Nisf Jubeil offers a chance to learn a craft that has been practiced in Palestine for hundreds of years. Nisf Jubeil Ceramic in Nisf Jubeil was founded after excavations carried out in the village between 2011 and 2012 revealed ceramic pieces that date back to the Middle Ages. Some were made locally and others imported from Europe. The workshop helped revive cultural heritage and repositioned Nisf Jubeil on the touristic map in Palestine.
In the workshop, you will meet Ruwaida, a Palestinian artist and one of several women who participated in an intensive course to learn the techniques and skill of ceramic making. Their eagerness to teach others what has become an integral part of their lives is heartwarming.
They gave us a block of clay and a rolling pin so that we could create our own ceramic pieces. We rolled the clay and used clay cutters to cut out various shapes. We then decorated the pieces inspired by our beautiful surroundings: olives and trees, mosaics and old houses. Once the pieces were finished, they were set aside to be glazed and baked in a special oven for eight hours. To continue our hands-on visit, we then gathered around the coloring table, mixed the colors, and carefully painted some already-baked clay pieces, which had turned white. The excitement was real when the pieces started to come to life with the vibrant colors.
We spent around three hours at the workshop and could have easily spent a whole day decorating and creating pieces that would later be sold as magnets, key chains, Christmas tree ornaments, and much more. We highly recommend a visit to Nisf Jubeil Ceramic to spend a few hours relaxing, experimenting with clay, and chatting with the amazing women who run the center.
Visit Ahlan Palestine on Instagram to see more images from our trip to Nisf Jubeil and to find out how to contact Nisf Jubeil Ceramic.