Many times on the road, I have no idea what people are saying because I don’t speak the language. Communication happens anyway. Not only through the charades of gesticulation or the subtle cues of body language, but often I learn by watching what people do.

I don’t speak Croatian, but this potter’s quick, precise movements show me that he has probably dedicated much of his life to creating pottery. He’s a craftsman, even as he “mass produces” his dishes. Watching him pile perfectly chopped wood around a pile of pots makes me think he’s a traditionalist, whether by choice or necessity.

And, finally, seeing the dishes in action, I gain a deep appreciation for his craft, as well as the history of his technique. Even without talking directly to the craftsman, I appreciate that these portable ovens represent a culture of movement, whether diasporic, or simply the lifestyle of herding livestock.

While I would love to hear about the history of his craft through the potter’s words, it is his actions that offer a real glimpse into his life and the area he comes from.

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