The History of Moroccan Blue

Moroccan Blue is the idea of Ayumi, a Japanese designer based in London who has been travelling to the town of Safi on the Moroccan coast to study pottery there since 2007.

It was during a visit to the Moroccan coastal town Safi in 2007 that Ayumi first encountered the electric blues of the local pottery. At the time she was working as a make–up artist in London, having moved there from Osaka, Japan four years earlier. She soon found herself more interested in ceramic finishes than make–up.

A key inspiration during the trip was Ayumi's encounter with Zouhra Lourrachi, an instructor of the Regional Pottery School at Safi, Le Delegation Regional de L'artisant de Safi. They found a common meeting point for discussions about Japanese and Moroccan pottery because Madame Lourrachi had visited the town of Isikawa in Japan twelve years earlier to learn the local pottery traditions known as Kutani–Yaki. Ayumi ended up moving out of her hotel to stay with the Lourrachi family and Madame Lourrachi introduced her to Abdelhak Khanboubi, her first pottery teacher.

Ayumi already had a personal interest in pottery, but she had only visited the country for a holiday and didn't imagine Moroccan pottery would come to play such a key role in her life. Since then Ayumi has returned to Safi many times to learn the indigenous pottery techniques. Over the course of this study, she has developed her own unique design inspired by Moroccan arabesque. By 2011, after two years of planning, she was ready to make the break from painting the faces of models and launch Moroccan Blue.

What is Moroccan Blue? It is a 100% handmade earthenware product from Safi, Morocco. Each stage of production from the potter's wheel, to painting and glazing is completed by specialized workers. It is not made by robots.

There are three different Moroccan Blue designs, Berber, Merry–Go–Round and Horizon, and they all come in two different colours—blue and camel. Ayumi's basic guideline for designing her pieces is that they should be neither too complex nor too simple, but maintain a good balance of the two. This is a concept shared by both Moroccan and Japanese artisans.