Spain is famous for it’s handmade ceramics, mostly for the pieces that come from Toledo such as the ones that we offer here on our website, fromspain.com. We are happy to share with you the true artisan process that takes place just to create one single plate, bowl, mug or decorative item.
First the clay is extracted from the shoreline of the Tajo River. It is taken back to the artists workshop where it is cleaned of impurities and then mixed with water to make the clay suitable for ceramic making.
With the artisans bare hands and the help of a potter’s wheel, the clay is molded until it has the desired shape… A pitcher, a vase, a plate….
These clay objects require extra care during the drying process. The clay is left to air dry. If the weather is good, the ceramic dries more quickly. If it is damp, the drying process is exceptionally slow. Either way, the process needs to be done slowly to avoid cracks in the ceramic.
When the ceramic is sufficiently dried, it is placed in an 1100 degrees Celsius oven for the first of several kiln firings.
This first cooking results in a ceramic that is hard enough to easily handle. The ceramic has passed from a raw piece of ceramic to what is called “bizcochada” or bisque ceramic.
At this point the ceramic can receive it’s first glazing by placing it into a large bath which varies depending on the finish that is desired. Some bathes are white, some cream colored, etc…
When this glaze is dry to the touch, the artists are able to being decorating it, completely by hand, using paint brushes and lead-free metallic oxide glazes. Here is where the painter can be creative and make each piece of ceramic completely unique.
The next step is to fire the decorated ceramic at a temperature of 1000 degrees Celsius, more or less, depending upon the type of glaze used.
After the firing, we can see that the colors have changed. Lilac becomes blue, brown is now green…
The result is a beautiful piece of ceramic that can be enjoyed in our home, equally as decoration as on a table.
2 thoughts on “The Art and Tradition of Making Ceramics in Spain”
I have some hand painted glazed plates that were made in Toledo, Spain in the late ‘60’s. Do you know if the glazes used then contained lead?
Thank you for contacting us! Since your ceramics were not purchased from us at From Spain, we are unable to say if they have lead in the glaze, but I can fully guarantee that the modern glazes in the ceramics that we sell are completely lead-free. We have had several samples of our ceramics tested by an internationally recognized laboratory and all of our ceramics, in all of our patterns, have been confirmed lead-free.