Qatari home-based business owner Talal Nayef al-Qasimi has been into pottery making for the past 19 years. What started out as a hobby has transformed into a passion to breathe new life into an age-old skill.
“Pottery has been engraved in the Qatari culture for centuries. Lately, because of the influx of many ceramic products from China, Qatari pottery has taken a backseat, which is why I am trying to reintroduce it to the market,” al-Qasimi told Gulf Times
To bring pottery closer to the public, al-Qasimi conducts regular workshops at the Souq Waqif Art Centre, where is official trainer but he has also conducted similar activities in other locations in Doha, including Katara – The Cultural Village.
He took part in local and international exhibitions to showcase his craft, especially the ‘Made in Qatar’ trademark. Only recently, al-Qasimi was among the 144 exhibitors of Qatar Development Bank’s ‘Made at Home’ initiative.
Pots and vases are popular products among Qataris, said al-Qasimi.
The five-day expo, which showcased home-based businesses specialising in the fields of food and beverage, technology, arts and crafts, perfumery and jewellery, and clothing, promoted household products and provided a periodic platform for the exchange of experiences and skills among entrepreneurs.
“I am trying to revitalise Qatar’s pottery tradition and introduce it to people through training sessions and by joining local and international exhibitions to showcase Qatari-made products in the global market,” said al-Qasimi, who owns two home-based studios and another one at the Souq Waqif Art Centre.
During most of his training workshops, al-Qasimi said many young Qataris, especially women, have shown great interest in pottery. “Teaching them the art of pottery is a good way of preserving this tradition, especially among the Qatari youth,” said al-Qasimi, whose works could also be seen on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Al-Qasimi said that while he imports clay from the UK, Denmark, and other countries, his products reflect Qatari tradition.
“I do everything from A to Z, from designing, sculpting to painting. Most of the products that are in demand in Qatar are handmade items like pots and vases,” he said, adding that his works are also exported to the US and other countries in the Gulf and in Europe.
Speaking about the economic blockade and if it had any impact on home-based businesses in Qatar, al-Qasimi said the Gulf crisis had only aroused patriotism among many Qatari micro entrepreneurs.
“There has been a great interest among Qatari citizens to express their patriotism and show their support for the state, especially to the leadership of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani by flooding the market with ‘Made in Qatar’ products.
“Qatari entrepreneurs are eager to promote their products to show the international community that Qatar can be self-sufficient, and that it will go on even without the products coming from blockading countries,” he stressed.