made in: Tenerife

After several months on Tenerife, all I’d learned about the history of the Canary Islands was that they were so named because of the plenitude of large dogs seen there by early explorers. Maybe. Because according to another local expert, the name definitely came from the birds that were used to lead miners out of the many caves on the islands. What exactly was mined remains a mystery, and someone else pointed out that obviously the birds would have to be named for the island, not the other way around. At some point I was also assured that, for a fact, the name Canarii originally belonged to a group of people who lived a few thousand years ago, just a few thousand kilometers away, across the water, in what are now called the Atlas Mountains. In Morocco. It’s said that the Canarii had a thing for dogs. So. There. Of course.

[No wonder most visitors’ discussions of Tenerife’s history focus on whether it’s always been necessary to wear three sweaters and wool socks on your holiday vacation, or if the frigid wind is just some mean cold-weather fluke].

So I was glad when, Fran, a sort of audiobook of Canary Island history, invited some of us over to his house to learn how to make pottery the way the Guanches, the aboriginal inhabitants of Tenerife, used to make it.

Click on a photo to open a slideshow and (abbreviated, beer-enhanced) history lesson:

Fran’s oven is also perfect for making pizza. And he often opens his home to friends and travelers for late-night dinners, bonfires, and candle-lit explanations of how the Guanches made stone walls.

Fran will happily open his home to you, too. If you’re interested in a Guanche pottery/history/cooking course, you’re welcome to contact him directly at  He’d love to organize a session based on your interests and availability. He will try to do it for free, or at least a lot less than his time is worth. Please don’t let him.

©, 2013-2016.


  1. Pingback: flowers on mars | zhevni

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