Podcast in English
Text size
Bulgarian National Radio © 2023 All Rights Reserved

Festive Christmas tree idea - decorate it with... pottery

Photo: Ancient Karlovo tourist complex

There is no correct date to put up the Christmas tree, but in Bulgaria it is customary to do it on December 6 - the day of St. Nicholas. And, of course, there's nothing better than decorating the tree with handmade ornaments, especially if they're made of... clay.

The place where you can see how they are made and get to feel the magic of clay with your own hands is the pottery workshop in the Ancient Karlovo complex, where you will have an experienced tutor - Maria Vasilevska. The complex, located in Central Bulgaria, consists of five buildings of high historical value, one of which, the Renaissance Buhalova Inn, has been turned into a Centre for Crafts and Cultural Traditions.

Buhalova Inn

"In our workshops, everyone can make a ceramic with their own hands. For Christmas we offer blanks that are cut out of clay with special moulds," explains Maria Vasilevska. Different types of clay are used and the firing is done in refractory kilns. No special skills are required, only desire and diligence."

But the real craftsmanship lies in the details. The various figurines of Mary - angels, bells, snowmen, reindeer, snowflakes, stars - are made with great precision. Painting on the soft clay certainly takes a skilled steady hand, an artist's flair. Each ornament is shaped and then painted by hand to to complete the look.


"The craftsman puts his heart into the handmade products," says Maria Vasilevska.  - As for clay, it is a very rewarding material, yielding, cost-saving, very pleasant to work with. The raw clay initially requires more effort and strong hands to knead it nicely, then we roll it out to a layer of certain thickness, and we cut out the figurines and shape them gently and carefully."

Maria Vasilevska also uses an authentic potter's wheel to sculpt exquisite little bells. Let us see how she brings the Christmas spirit into her works:


"For inspiration, I light a candle, play nice Christmas songs and use the colours that are typical of Christmas - white, green, red, silver and gold. We all have an artistic side to us, we just need to unlock it and bring it out into the material world," Maria Vasilevska believes. When a person starts to create, whether it is painting, sewing or weaving, this creative process brings out the best in them. When a person tries and finds his own, it feeds his soul."

Every single item created by the skillful hands of the present-day craftsmen in the Buhalova Inn is not just an accessory, an object, a beautiful purchase. It represents a state of mind, a captivating magic that always makes one come back to Karlovo.

English version: Elizabeth Radkova
Photos: Ancient Karlovo tourist complex
Listen to the daily news from Bulgaria presented in "Bulgaria Today" podcast, available in Spotify.

More from category

Kyustendil celebrates 141 years since the birth of artist Vladimir Dimitrov-Maistora

"Genius, it is that ingredient that makes the grape juice to vigorously ferment and become wine. In every drop of juice there are millions of ferments that are bubbling, boiling, fizzing, coming to the surface to manifest themselves,..

published on 2/1/23 6:10 AM
The laboratory in Sozopol of the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research

Restoring Coastal Ecosystems - Mission Possible: Part 1

We present to your attention a part of the journalistic research entitled "Restoring Coastal Ecosystems - Mission Possible". The research has been done by BNR journalist Assia Chaneva. The research "Restoring Coastal Ecosystems - Mission..

published on 1/31/23 6:34 PM

Successful start for the first Education in Spain Expo in Sofia

The first edition of the Education in Spain exhibition was fruitful for both sides. As we already informed you, the event was organized by the Education Department of the Embassy of Spain in Sofia, the Spanish Service for the..

published on 1/31/23 2:55 PM