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Masterclass with Shaima Ahli in Pottery

Cooking jar with corded pattern decoration
Shaima demonstrates how to make a hand-built vase inspired by the Jar with cord-patterned decoration.


Shaima Ahli was born in 1990 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Ahli started learning ceramics in Montreal, Canada under the founder of Gaia Ceramique, Catherine Auriol. After moving back to Dubai in 2017, she continued her own independent experimentation in the medium. She uses both wheel throwing and hand building techniques in creating her ceramic ware.

Her pieces can be found in a few restaurants and cafes across the UAE such as Maisan15 in Dubai and Eggcellent in Abu Dhabi.

Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi/ Photo Sylvie Van Roey


Cooking jar with corded pattern decoration
Jomon culture
Japan, North Kanto
3500–2500 BCE
Louvre Abu Dhabi



Perseverance and hope, found in nature and the life around us, are my inspiration when I make art.

Nature turns the processes of birth, growth, and healing into a masterpiece with every changing season, that is reflected in the imperfections of wood, plants, and rocks; I mirror that whenever I create ‘perfectly imperfect’ objects using clay.

As a ceramicist, I’m inspired by how we choose to beautify functional, everyday objects to express hope and gratitude. This is what fascinated me with the Cooking Jar from Japan.

I mainly use the wheel to create my pieces, but for this masterclass I wanted to reference the coiling method that was used to create the ancient jar.

My vase has a rough, tactile exterior, and a mixture of different textures on its body that represents the kinetic nature of the elements.

Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi/ Photo Saad Aldin Kharouf
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