Manolis Limpertas: Ceramist in Damalas

Manolis Limpertas is a fourth-generation ceramist who has carried on the family tradition of pottery-making. This art form originated with his father’s grandfather, and Manolis continues to uphold the family legacy. At his workshop in Damalas, he creates ceramic objects that can be found in households across the island, offering visitors a wonderful opportunity to observe his craftsmanship and admire his unique creations.

Using locally sourced red clay from the soil of Naxos, Manolis produces exquisite pieces that, when glazed and painted, are not only visually stunning but also safe for food and drink. His collection includes a range of household items such as cups, bowls, plates, vases, and casserole dishes, all of which can be used in the oven, microwave, and dishwasher without any risk of breakage or damage.

In addition to his more conventional pieces, Manolis also creates extraordinary designs inspired by ancient craftsmanship, some of which date back over 1000 years. One notable example is the “Sfouni” jar, a Naxos design used as a wine carafe in every household. This jar keeps the wine cool and has a unique method of filling it. A bamboo or reed stick, or even a plastic tube, is placed on the handle, while the other end is gently inserted into the wine pit. By inhaling from the small pit of the Sfouni, the air is displaced, and the wine fills the main body. Manolis can demonstrate this technique upon request.

Another remarkable design is the “cup of Pythagoras” or the “cup of justice“, which was conceived by Pythagoras on Samos Island. This cup ensures that everyone drinks the same amount of wine. It features a hole at the bottom, but as everyone drinks equally, the wine remains in the cup. However, if someone fills their cup more than the others, all their wine will be lost through the small hole. This secret siphon mechanism is activated by the pressure, completely emptying the cup. It serves as a symbolic reminder of the consequences of greed.

Manolis also employs the Raku technique, originating from Japan. Each Raku piece is highly unique and made with white clay, resulting in distinctive colors and textures.

You can find Manolis at his workshop in Damalas, where he can be visited every day. Although he doesn’t speak English, his daughter is available to assist you in finding the perfect pieces. Additionally, his ceramic creations can be found in another shop located on the main street connecting Chora with Chalki. Visitors are often treated to a tour of the pottery workshop, complete with a demonstration of Manolis’s work on the pottery wheel.

Visiting Manolis’s workshop is a truly exceptional experience that provides insight into the rural life of Naxos. You may have the opportunity to meet other members of his family and encounter friendly neighbors from the village of Damalas. Don’t be surprised if you spot chickens wandering around the parking area amidst the olive trees and ceramic creations.