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Safi: The Pottery Capital of Morocco

Chances are if you have a piece of pottery from Morocco it’s signed “Safi” on the back. Safi is not a person’s name, it’s the name of a coastal city where the bulk of Morocco’s pottery is made. In fact this is one of the only things Safi is known for, but what a reputation to have! When my mom was visiting we decided to go to Safi and see the process. From Marrakech it was a day trip and while the roads in some places were not so great it was well worth the trip.

Moroccan Potters in Safi Morocco

Why Safi for pottery? The clay that is used is found in the area near Safi (and also near Rabat) and so for generations it’s been the seat of the trade. I was shocked to learn just how many steps and how much work goes into creating each piece of pottery. Yes, they are nearly ALL made individually and by hand. From the extraction of the clay from the ground, to preparing it, molding it, drying it, shaping it, painting it and firing it – all by hand.

Handmade Moroccan Pottery from Safi

This man is a master potter, although I don’t know for certain, like many Moroccan artisans this is not something he’s picked up later in life. He’s likely been involved in the trade for his entire life. Watching him work was amazing. I have thrown pottery before and it is NOT easy.

Firing kiln for Safi Pottery

There are two ways of firing pottery. This picture is in a gas powered kiln. The heat is more even allowing for less breakage and waste. But each piece still is separated and put in by hand.

Traditional Pottery Kilns Safi Morocco

These domes are the traditional wood fired kilns and while incredibly interesting (and still in use!) they’re not very reliable. Pottery breaks much easier because the temperatures are difficult to regulate. But, some potters who can’t afford to use the gas ovens still use these for their work.

Master Potter Safi Morocco

The best news? Safi is not hot on the tourist visit map. It’s a sleepy seaside town where life goes on in much the way it has for decades. The people we met were welcoming and kind – one even offered to share his lunch with me, and gave us a personal tour of the workshops.

That’s Moroccan hospitality!

Safi The Pottery Capital of Morocco

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Sam

Thursday 22nd of April 2021

Hello! Thank you for posting about Safi; I was wondering if you know whether the ateliers had either a website or an email? I'm looking to organise a wholesale purchase on my next trip over for export.

Cheers!

Amanda Mouttaki

Thursday 29th of April 2021

I'm honestly unsure. Things may have changed now given the current state of the world but previously few sellers were online directly.

Monica

Sunday 9th of February 2020

Hi! Can u send me the link of the tour you took from Marrakesh?

Amanda Mouttaki

Thursday 13th of February 2020

So sorry this wasn't a tour we booked - we drove ourselves.

Pat

Sunday 12th of January 2020

I love the ceramic ware and have bought safi in Essaouria. Are the prices better in Safi? I will be in essaouria in Feb 1 to purchase more ceramics . Where can I buy wholesale ? Most Moroccans will not give you this information

Amanda Mouttaki

Monday 13th of January 2020

I think in Safi you can find larger quantities and probably get it cheaper as it's where the pottery is coming from. I'm afraid I'm not sure where in Essaouira to buy wholesale - there is an area in Marrakech for this and I'm sure in Safi it would be easy to arrange.

Line Louise Ofsti

Thursday 11th of July 2019

Hi ..I like go make work shop course potter ..any ideas whom and were stay , prices?

Amanda Mouttaki

Thursday 18th of July 2019

In Safi no sadly. Truthfully it's quite hard to find courses like this in any cities. It's a shame because I think many people would really like it!

Morocco: Country Spotlight – Companach

Friday 19th of October 2018

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