Blessed with high-quality clay, SifNÓS boasts a thriving pottery industry that dates back to antiquity as Geometric-era terracotta urns and clay figurines at the Archaeological Museum in Kastro attest. While pottery production was once confined to the island’s hinterland for protection against marauding pirates, in the 19th century it moved to SifNÓS ’ coastal villages in order to facilitate exports, with dozens of workshops lining the seafronts of the villages of Kamares, Faros, Platis Gialos and Vathi producing utility-based ceramics such as tableware and cooking pots which were shipped all over Greece and the Mediterranean.
Although most of these workshops have closed down since then, the craft has not been lost with numerous studios and small pottery shops across the island keeping centuries-old traditions alive. Founded in 1870, Atsonios pottery workshop in Vathi is one of the oldest on the island, operating one of the last traditional kilns. Visit the workshop to buy hand-made ceramics as well as see the artisans in action, led by fourth-generation potter, John Atsonios who carries on his family’s craft filtering traditional craftsmanship through a modern perspective.
Other notable workshops include Apostolidis Ceramics outside Kamares which has been producing ceramic since the late 19th century, and Lembesis Ceramics, whose hand-crafted and hand-painted ceramics have garnered international recognition. Founded in the 1950s in the small village of Cheronissos, the third-generation workshop of the Lembesis Family moved to Artemonas in the 1980s where it continues to produce plates, cups and other ceramic tableware in beautiful floral and marine motifs which you can also find in the family’s ceramic shop in Apollonia.