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Ibiza winter days out: San Rafael Ceramics

The ceramics of San Rafael village were awarded special status in 1990 and as we discovered, with good reason!

In and of itself, the village of San Rafael is enough to merit a recommendation for a winter's day out on Ibiza.

Located just off the main dual-carriageway which connects San Antonio and Ibiza Town, and within walking distance of two of Ibiza's super-clubs, Privilege and Amnesia, San Rafael still manages to maintain an air of tranquility and tradition.

As is the case with most Ibiza villages, it is dominated by its eighteenth century, whitewashed church, and it boasts a large selection of restaurants and eateries, from French and Mediterranean to the rustic bars with their tapas.

But what really sets San Rafael apart is the fact that it was declared the island's only Craftwork Special Centre in 1990 by the Balearic Islands Artisan commission - Zona de Interes Artesanal - because of its traditional pottery shops and workshops, and this is the reason your Spotlight team set out to investigate one Ibiza winter's day.

Ceramics Icardi was the first of the two shops we called into, where we had the pleasure of meeting owner Carlos Icardi, who first opened his workshop in 1977. Everything here is hand-made…Carlos even made the kiln and the display shelves himself.

We found ourselves in a kind of hushed awe as we took in the huge variety of items displayed…some shiny, some black, some clay, which Carlos explained all depended on which techniques he used, and it is interesting to note that these techniques have barely altered at all since they were first brought to Ibiza by invaders thousands of years ago. Everything from goblets, to masks, to vases, to jewellery, a lot of influence from the Phoenician era with busts of the goddess, Tanit, in fact the whole ambience of Ceramics Icardi was one of ancient skills brought forward to the modern day.

For more of an insight into Carlos's craft, this interview with the Daily Telegraph (English subtitles) is well worth watching.

Just a few short metres up the road is San Rafael's second famous ceramics shop, Ceramica Can Kinoto, established in 1978. Yet another Aladdin's Cave of painted and engraved hand-made pottery; dishes, jars, plates, lamps, jewellery…again all unique pieces, with a style surprisingly somehow very different to its neighbour.

It is difficult to feel anything other than respect for these craftsmen who are keeping the ancient traditions alive in the twenty-first century…and very easy to understand why people come from all over Ibiza when they are wanting that "extra special" gift either for themselves or a loved one.

Quick Facts

What Taller de Ceramica Icardi and Ceramica Can Kinoto

Where San Rafael

When We tried to pin them down on their opening hours, honestly we did, but this is Ibiza in its true best tradition and being in the family for so many years, they will open and close when they like! As a general rule, think 10.30 - 13.00 and 15.00 - 18.00 Monday to Saturday, but if travelling in especially, it might be an idea to contact them first just to be sure.

Why For a taste of an authentic, ancient craft in the modern day. Plus some gorgeous, unique pottery.

Average Spend Per Head Anything from five euros to hundreds of euros.

Top Tip Take some spending money!

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