Sant Rafel, meeting point for ceramic artisans
he historical crossroad of paths, Sant Rafel de Sa Creu occupies a central position on the island geographically, a link between the roads that connect Sant Mateu, Santa Agnès and Buscastell. The slender silhouette of its church – perched on a puig (Catalan for hill) that offers beautiful views over the Ibiza pla (Catalan for plain) and the walls that surround the historical old town Dalt Vila – is one of its key attributes. Another is the extraordinary gastronomy that it offers and that adds a touch of zest to the village throughout the year. However, there is another sector in which Sant Rafel stands out, and that is the field of crafts.
Ibiza has been home to a host of artists and artisans who have found on the island the refuge and inspiration they were seeking to give shape to their creations. The local artists, for their part, have contributed to consolidating a solid base from which a strong cultural personality has been built weaving rapport and intrigue with the new perspectives introduced by national and international artists arriving on the white island.
Sant Rafel is a good example of this hodgepodge of artistry and artistic wealth, a characteristic which was acknowledged at the time when the town was officially declared an area of artisan interest (zona de interés artesanal). In various corners within its reduced urban framework you can find the workshops of ceramists and artists who combine their workspaces with exhibition rooms and shops. There are names that deserve a special mention, for example the workshops of Carlos Icardi or Kinoto.
Carlos Icardi’s workshop is located on the main crossing of the town and his artistic production dates back to the 1970s, when he began to make his first creations. This award-winning ceramicist stands out for the colourful intensity of his pieces, made with very diverse techniques of Arab, oriental and engobe origin, with a mixture of different clays.
Kinoto is another big name and pottery artisan master within the artist community. This workshop and exhibition is located only a few metres from Carlos Icardi’s premises. Miguel Angel Ratto was the artisan master who established it and his works are still exhibited in the gallery, his pieces are shown together with the creations of Carmen Corominas in close collaboration with Adrián Ribas on the potter’s wheel.
Can Kinoto workshop, Sant Rafael
Julio Bauzá is another name with a proven artistic reputation that has chosen San Rafael as a base from which to create his artistic work. Architect, painter, sculptor … the profile of this multifaceted artist delves into a universe of shapes that play geometrically to support visual structures of mysterious magnetism.
This creative buzz is also accompanied by other initiatives that promote the distribution and sale of art and craft production. The clearest example of this is the artisan market that takes place every Thursday during the summer months on the main street of Sant Rafel. At the market you can witness the skill with which expert hands weave a carrycot, a basket made of esparto (a course grass native to Ibiza) or some Ibizan espardenyes (Catalan for espadrilles), or how the most delicate pieces of the typical clothing of the island are woven and sewn. All of this allows for an immersion into the authentic artisan essence of Ibiza.
Sant Rafel, as would be expected, also has its own exhibition space, Can Portmany. Bordering the intersection that leads to Buscastell and Corona, Can Portmany is a colonial-style building built in 1933 and designed by the renowned architect Joan Gómez Ripoll called “Campos”. A beautiful space where exhibitions and cultural events are held that further consolidate Sant Rafel as the great artisan centre of the municipality of Sant Antoni.