Moroccan ceramic artisans are renown for their intricate, complex geometric designs. Beautifully arabesque, rich patterns have been hand-painted on clay and ceramic items for centuries. Many cultures have influenced Moroccan design patterns, but the Arab nations had the greatest influence on the Moroccan designs of today. Spanish and Moorish influence can also be seen in the geometric, floral designs in blue and multicolored patterns.
Berber tribes are indigenous to Morocco, and the Islamic influences in the painted ceramic designs are quite visible. Some of these designs have been handed down through the generations using the same patterns for hundreds of years. One of Morocco’s most beautiful places is the Imperial city of Fez, where many uniquely intricate patterns and colors have been perfected over six centuries. The pottery from Fez is hailed as Morocco’s finest, using cobalt oxide to create the most amazing shades of blue. Another main center for beautiful ceramics is in Safi, and inlaid metal is common in their designs.
The ceramic art , among the world’s most ancient, occupy a special place in the realm of Moroccan crafts. the Arabs brought the persian practice of tiled ornamentation to Morocco. since then Morocco is very well-known for their wide range of ceramic pottery. All were hand painted with fine details, deep colors, and a variety of hand spun designs. The main centers for ceramics are Safi, which produces pottery inlaid with metal or covered tightly with leather, and Fes, which produces the very distinctive blue and white fassi pottery. Each ceramic masterpiece is filled with meaningful designs, styles and colors. Some of the pieces are trimmed with tooled silver overlay which gives a sort of richness to the design and adds to its uniqueness. In pottery making, the potter first works the clay on a spinning wheel. The process can take from ten minutes for an item like a bowl, to more than three hours for something as large as an urn. The molded clay is then set outside to dry. Large serving dishes and jugs are separated according to their kind. Once dry, the pottery is taken to the kiln. Once the ceramic wares have been fired, the decorative stage begins and designs are dependent upon the region where the pottery is produced. Some of the more traditional Berber tribes have patterns that they have been using for over 200 years. Then the pottery is fired again, where the paint used for decorating the pots, jugs, bowls, mugs, and tagines settles. By Alma Galvez