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Engineer Quits Job To Bring Age-Old Traditional Pottery To Modern Kashmiri Kitchens

Saima Shafi

Saima Shaifi, popularly known as Kral Koor, quit her engineering job to take up pottery, becoming one of the first few in Kashmir to bring the art back in a modern form.

The Valley is home to several handicrafts and intricate artwork, among which is the art of pottery. But this age-old occupation has been on the brink of extinction lately, with the advent of modern kitchenware replacing the earthenware.

But Saima Shafi, a civil engineer in the PWD of Jammu & Kashmir, is attempting to bring pottery back to life and make it an integral part of Kashmiri kitchens again. For this, she has been christened Kral Koor, which means potter girl.

The 32-year-old was inspired to take up the art during a family trip in 2009 to a village in Chandigarh, known for its pottery. Fascinated by the craft, she headed all the way to southern India, Bengaluru to be precise, to learn the ropes of pottery.

“I have been an artist since my childhood, and was always inclined towards pottery and things made of clay. So I decided to learn the art,” says Saima.

Saima’s journey with pottery also helped keep her depression at bay, she says. “That’s where I decided to store my depression,” she says.

After completing a crash course, she went back to the Valley to start a pottery studio in 2019. This is the first among such modern pottery studios in Kashmir.

Saima now aspires to set up her own institute and guide the potter community of Kashmir.

Watch the story of Kashmir’s own Kral Kroor:

Photo credit: kralkoor/Instagram