Bosko Petrovic, called Bole – Piroćanac, was born in 1940, and has been working since the age of twelve. As many pottery masters in Serbia, he comes from Pirot, eastern Serbia.
A specific aspect of the Pirot’s school of pottery making is that the potter is positioned next to the wheel (on the right hand side), whilst in other schools across the world potters turn the wheel that sits between their legs.
Bole tells us that he finished the school for the crafts at 16, and took him 4 additional years of apprenticeship to become a master or ‘Majstor’.
In 1956, the business he was working for had to close following the introduction of very large taxes. As many other skilful pottery masters from Pirot, he continued to get contracts across former Yugoslavia and used to work from spring to autumn. In 1966 he opened his first own business in the outskirts of Belgrade, and he was advised to sell at the Kalenic market.
I asked Bole how he could still make pottery at his age. Forty years ago Bole began a daily program of one hour exercise before going to work, following a doctor’s advice. Bole is, indeed, full of energy and strength, and he still works about four hours in the workshop every day.
Bole’s son, Dejan, has taken the workshop over in 1985, and invested in development and research of material and ways of firing the pots.
Bole and Dejan welcomed us at their workshop. After taking the photos we were offered Turkish coffee in beautiful and well-kept house garden. I asked Dejan, father of two daughters, if he has any apprentices keen to learn the art. He reckons that, as it takes about ten years to become a master, it is more convenient for young generation to continue studying at university.
The family business sells at the Kalenic market, in Belgrade.
Their website at http://www.grncar.rs/