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Besnik Harizi: A potter in Caltagirone

Posted by Suzanne on 02 Sep 2016



A lucky find in Caltagirone

It was a June morning this summer, in the fabled ceramic town of Caltagirone, when I came across a potter’s studio on a street corner near the town’s botanic gardens.

My fellow traveller and I had left our B&B set halfway up the long, tiled staircase of Caltagirone, La Scala Santa Maria del Monte, to walk to the gardens.

We took the backstreets. And, as we neared the gardens there on the corner stood a potter’s studio with the name Ceramiche Besnik Hariza above the entry. 



The name felt so familiar; I slowly recognised it.

It was the name of the artist of the lovely Sicilian Moorhead vase that sits in the entrance room of The Sicilian House in Polizzi Generosa.



I couldn’t believe my luck; I had stumbled across the potter who made the beautiful Sicilian head vase I had bought many years ago in Taormina.

We entered the rooms of Ceramiche Besnik Harizi.  They were filled with his unique ceramics.


Wandering the potter's studio

Dressed in a paint splattered, white duster coat with his hair pulled back in a ponytail, Besnik Harizi greeted us and we talked.

He had come to Sicily, in 1993, from Albania where he had worked as a ceramic artist and a teacher and he started his pottery making in Caltagirone a couple of years later.


He creates all the moulds for his intricate vase heads. They are adorned with tremendous, colourful  detail: ripening pomegranates, Fico d’India (Indian figs), wreaths of daisies, jewels, beards, turbans, crowns, full lips and striking, beautifully structured faces.


I wandered the rooms and met his assistant working in the studio’s back room.

Besnik Harizi told us that he ships to the world and he asked us to see his upstairs workroom.

We took the narrow stairs into a room with a low ceiling filled with many pieces and he showed us how he ‘ages’ his pieces just a little; with near perfection. 

He gently wiped a stain (which was already applied) from the face of a striking beauty adorned with pomegranates. 

He tilted her head; she looked radiant.



Downstairs I wandered the rooms a little more and enjoyed looking at his distinctive ceramics: heads, plates, bowls, holy water fonts adnored with palms and pilgrim shells plus more and, I saw the slabs of clay he works.


Another beauty


Before leaving I couldn’t resist this beauty, with her large, dark, almond shaped eyes and a garland of daisies around her turbaned head, topped with a golden crown. 

She is now at The Sicilian House in Polizzi.






A Note: The name above the door reads 'Hariza" however on the website and on his pieces it is written 'Harizi".

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