Hand-wheel pottery from the island of Veli Iž in Croatia

Traditional crepe-paper decorations making in Croatia
General Assembly of the Regional Centre Sofia
Hand-wheel pottery from the island of Veli Iž in Croatia
Traditional craftsmanship
Element inscribed on the National ICH Register of Croatia


The traditional pottery of the island of Veli Iž in Zadar County is one of the oldest traditions in Croatia. Hand-wheel pottery is an archaic technique, known from the prehistoric times, most probably passed on until our time via tradition within the families who kept the knowledge. Some archaeological finds place the appearance of this type of pottery in the Balkans in the 4th century B.C. The clay used by potters is obtained at the island near the pottery center and has several phases of preparation before kneading by hands and with the help of simple tools.

Today Nika Petrović Grilc is the only bearer of this artistry, whose father Predrag Petrović saved the technique from disappearing at the end of the 20th century. Nika promotes and transmits the knowledge to the public, usually through workshops and exhibitions. Furthermore, she presented the traditional pottery within the realm of contemporary art, which has raised the awareness of its value and possibilities of new ways of interpreting tradition. She has been making the artistic objects based on the traditional technique, opening in this way the interest for younger generations to get acquainted with the tradition in a different way. One part of the presentation of this tradition is aimed at tourists, who accept it very well.

In 2009 it has been officially pronounced as the intangible cultural good and inscribed into the national Registry. Since then, further efforts have been made to document and transmit the technique as part of the safeguarding measures. The projects and activities have been supported financially and logistically on the local as well as on the state level. Some further activities are also planned, both national and international. Due to several recent decades of promoting traditional pottery in Veli Iž, it has been more and more recognized as a symbol of the identity of the island and, as Nika explains, the memory of creative ancestors has in this way been kept alive.