pottery workshops

Located in the Moroccan Rif mountain range, a region still untouched by mass tourism, Mama Aïcha and her family will welcome you to their house perched on top of a mountain with a stunning view.

The emphasis of the workshops is on welcoming simplicity, respecting tradition, and turning back the clock, making your stay unforgettable. While sharing the daily routine of a potter for a week, you will also get the chance to taste the typical regional family dishes, like tagines, couscous or mejmars (barbecue), all made by chef Samira, an excellent cook.

the potter's week

S
M
T
W
T
F
S

day II

coil forming session

You will keep on making various pieces according to your likings.

day IV

painting & drying

You will keep on painting your pieces and prepare to fire all pieces the following day.

day VI

local market

Saturday is souk day, an age-old tradition and cultural experience that cannot be missed. Unlike other Moroccan cities, the souk here is a small area outside of the city for merchants to display and sell their goods. Mama Aïcha's son will be your perfect guide since he used to exchange her pottery for food there. At the magical market, you will enter another dimension, a vibrant mix of colour and energy. The souk will hit all your senses at once, from the smell of spices mixing with the shouts of vendors to the intense colours of the goods. Keep your eyes wide open and enjoy!

earth day: the dna of a pot

In the afternoon, equipped with shovels, sacks, and (hopefully) a strong back, you will be led into the mountains where mama Aïcha will help you retrieve the local ocher soil.

M
T
W
T
F
S

day I

the art of crushing the clay

Mama Aïcha will teach you how to turn the collected soil into workable clay, following her own special recipe.

coil forming session

Coil forming is the most common technique to create pottery in the Rif. The woman potter uses the most basic, yet highly complex tools to make her pieces: her left and her right hand. Mama Aïcha will teach you how to make different types of pieces (bowls, earthenware vases, plates…).

day III

coil forming session

Again and again for the last beauties!

painting & drying

The pieces are decorated on slip, using only natural pigments from minerals or vegetables, and goat hair brushes. These techniques have barely changed since the early beginnings of pottery making. Mama Aïcha will show you how to paint the intricate traditional Berber symbols, but you will also get the chance to create your own patterns and designs.

day V

birth by fire

Very little has changed in the pottery making process in this area over the last three thousand years. Together with mama Aïcha, you will build a firing pit in which your ceramics will be fired and hardened. As simple as it might look, this is the most crucial step and requires careful accuracy.  And now you are all done! It is time to be proud and enjoy the unique potteries that you have made during the week.

M
T
W
T
F
S

day I

the art of crushing the clay

Mama Aïcha will teach you how to turn the collected soil into workable clay, following her own special recipe.

coil forming session

Coil forming is the most common technique to produce pottery in the Rif. The woman potter uses the most basic, yet highly complex tools to make her pieces: her left and her right hand. Mama Aïcha will teach you how to make different types of pieces (bowls, earthenware vases, plates…).

day II

coil forming session

You will keep on making various pieces according to your likings.

day III

coil forming session

Again and again for the last beauties!

painting & drying

The pieces are decorated on slip, using only natural pigments from minerals or vegetables, and goat hair brushes. These techniques have barely changed since the early beginnings of pottery making. Mama Aïcha will show you how to paint the intricate traditional Berber symbols, but you will also get the chance to create your own patterns and designs.

day IV

painting & drying

You will keep on painting your pieces and prepare to fire all pieces the following day.

day V

birth by fire

Very little has changed in the pottery making process in this area over the last three thousand years. Together with mama Aïcha, you will build a firing pit in which your ceramics will be fired and hardened. As simple as it might look, this is the most crucial step and requires careful accuracy.  And now you are all done! It is time to be proud and enjoy the unique potteries that you have made during the week.

day VI

local market

Saturday is souk day, an age-old tradition and cultural experience that cannot be missed. In Ourtzagh, unlike other Moroccan cities, the souk is a small area outside of the city for merchants to display and sell their goods. Mama Aïcha will be your perfect guide since she used to exchange her pottery for food there. At the magical market in Ourtzagh, you will enter another dimension, a vibrant mix of colour and energy. The souk will hit all your senses at once, from the smell of spices mixing with the shouts of vendors to the intense colours of the goods. Keep your eyes wide open and enjoy!

earth day: the dna of a pot

In the afternoon, equipped with shovels, sacks, and (hopefully) a strong back, you will be led into the mountains where mama Aïcha will help you retrieve the local ocher soil.

sessions 2019

We are fully booked for this year.
Please contact us if you are interested in attending our workshop in 2020, we will get back in touch with you shortly.

  • Pottery workshop for 6 days
  • Homestay accommodation in single, double or triple room for 7 days
  • Wholesome meals cooked daily by talented chef Samira using fresh, local produces and traditional recipes
  • Pottery supplies are provided. You will be able to take your pottery pieces home with you (extra luggage might be needed). Do not hesitate to bring your own tools if you want to work with them.

April 21 - 28

5 spaces left

April 14 - 21

0 space left

sold out

June 16 - 23

5 spaces left

June 09 - 16

0 space left

sold out

June 16 - 23

5 spaces left

June 16 - 23

0 space left

sold out

July 07 - 14

5 spaces left

June 30 - July 07

0 space left

sold out

July 07 - 14

5 spaces left

July 07 - 14

0 space left

sold out

September 15 - 22

5 spaces left

September 08 - 15

0 space left

sold out

September 15 - 22

5 spaces left

September 15 - 22

0 space left

sold out

October 06 - 13

5 spaces left

Sept. 29 - October 06

0 space left

sold out

October 06 - 13

5 spaces left

October 06 - 13

0 space left

sold out

info

Our workshops are within everybody's reach. You don't need to be a professional potter to take part and Mama Aïcha will be happy to accommodate to beginners.


Only five spaces are available for each session, that will give you the opportunity to entirely connect with the family and other peers.

payments

We offer payments in two parts as well as the option to pay in full at the time of the booking. If booking a trip more than 30 days prior to departure, all remaining payment is due at least 30 days from departure. If booking within 30 days of departure, full payment is due at the time of booking.

All sessions require a non-refundable deposit of 50% of the total booking amount to reserve and confirm the participation.

Refunds will not be provided for cancellations within 15 days of departure.

special diets

Chef Samira will gladly accommodate your dietary needs (vegetarian, vegan, allergies etc.), just let us know in advance.

what to bring

  • Two pairs of shoes: One pair of sandals or flip flops to wear indoors) and another pair of shoes to wear outside (a pair of boots might be good if we go for a hike)
  • Clothes that will ideally cover your knees and your shoulders, a towel and a hat.
  • Books to read or anything you like to enjoy your free time.
  • Moroccan dirhams to pay for your ride to Mama Aicha's from Fez or to buy anything you might want from the locals. You will be able to exchange your currency or withdraw money at the airport.
  • Medicine if you have a special treatment. There is a first-aid kit here and basic drugs just in case.

field trips

Customize your stay by adding other unique experiences, from cooking lessons to visiting an organic honey farm or spending an evening with a folklore band. If you are lucky, you might even be invited to a local wedding!

Please let us know in advance so we can plan your week before your arrival.

additional expenses

  • Airfare: We are happy to help you arrange transportation to Fez or put you in touch with a travel agent.
  • Airport transport: We will ask a skilled, trustworthy local driver to safely take you to and from the airport. The cost of the ride is 50 euros each way. Usually, there are five available seats in the van, we will be happy to put all attendants in touch to share the fare.
  • Personal Travel Insurance: We require all attendants to have personal travel insurance to cover any medical expenses as a result of an accident or illness during their stay, trip cancellations, flight delays, lost baggage, theft, etc. We will gladly help you arrange the required insurance, just let us know in advance.

“Thank you sumano for a week that felt like a dream. An absolute master of her craft, Mama Aïcha is so generous and full of life. Nearly 70 years of making pottery with only her hands and resources from the mountains around her. She and her family live so simply — everything is shared, grown, or made, and nothing is wasted. Everyone we met treated us not like guests participating in a workshop, but like part of the family. I've come back humbled and inspired, with a new appreciation for process, materials, and simplicity. I would encourage anyone to visit this magical place.”

Elise Santangelo @es.ceramics

"There are no words to describe how grateful I had joined this wonderful and meaningful journey organised by sumano. Learning the local traditional ceramics skills from the strongest woman I have ever met, Mama Aisha taught me how to appreciate the nature though her pottery. I enjoyed every moment in the workshop and with the lovely local family and Marta!! Thanks sumano again for organizing this totally authentic experience beyond expectations."

Roxy Lee @the.status.of.zero

reviews

My week with Mama Aicha and her family in the Rif mountains was an truly magical experience. Being fully immersed into their family, culture, craft and heritage was an incredibly moving and grounding experience. I left feeling completely inspired after learning new techniques and an even greater appreciation of artisanal roots - I feel proud to call myself an artisan and am grateful to sumano for building this connection to the Berber traditions."

Robyn Landau @orendaceramics

"My week with sumano and Mama Aicha was simply unforgettable.  I had been to Morocco before, but the experience of being in the beautiful Rif mountains and staying with Mama Aicha's family was something exceptional. The family was so welcoming. We were fed with delicious food cooked by Samira (and even got to try our hand at cooking some of our own food). The pottery workshop itself introduced me to entirely new ways of working with clay, and it was fascinating to watch the whole process from getting the clay to firing the pieces being carried out in the same way it has been for generations."

Guy Brain @guybrainceramics

The idea behind these workshops is to give you the chance to experience one of the most important cultural traditions of the Moroccan Rif region and to further new relationships through cultural exchange. Thereby we hope to raise awareness and build a sustainable future for this endangered craft and the world that surrounds it.

Most of the proceeds will be used to support the potters and to create better work conditions for them.

If you have any requests, please feel free to contact us, and we will customize your stay with the potter according to your preferences.