Andonis Atsonios, 4th generation potter
Originally, the ceramics were fired in a two-storey, wood-burning kiln outside, which still works perfectly. “There was no electricity and no road here until the mid-‘90s.
We worked at the pottery all week, then walked up to Artemonas [an inland village 13 km away] on the weekends,” recalls Andonis, as he effortlessly throws terracotta bowls, alongside his son, Yiannis. More than a business that’s been handed down through generations, this is the family’s vocation.
“Everyone on Sifnos used to work in the ceramics industry – potters, mule drivers, boat captains,” says Atsonios. “Now tourism has taken over as the biggest employer.”
There used to be eleven potteries on Vathy beach alone. Now there are around a dozen potteries on the whole island. But travelers can play their part in keeping this ancient tradition alive. We can arrange private pottery workshops with Andonis, who will teach you the difference between the tsikali, mastello, foufou, and armeos, as well as the secrets of the perfect flaros.