The production of handmade terracotta is labour-intensive. Our producers use clay and sand from their own quarries, which contains minerals such as salt crystals that determine the tile’s structure after baking, and mix it with water.
They the clay is shaped using (walnut) wooden moulds when making tiles or stone moulds when producing pottery. Large pottery is made by hand without the use of moulds.
Each molded tile is laid flat on the ground for several days before firing to complete its natural drying cycle.
The tiles are then placed side by side in the oven and cooked for six days at a maximum temperature of approximately 1000°C.
Usually energy efficient gas ovens are used to bake the clay, but some of our producers still use a traditional wood-fired oven to achieve the beautiful shade variations that are characteristic for hand made terracotta. The shades are the result of the spot where the tile is placed in the wood fired oven. As the temperature in the upper parts of the oven are higher and in the lower parts are less high, the flames create a natural cooking pattern in the tile. This shade pattern gives any ambiance a warm and welcoming feel.
After the tiles have cooled down, all pieces are removed from the oven, checked and carefully selected before being further refined.
Pottery is baked only after the decoration has been applied by hand.
Machine made production
Terracotta tiling is also available in machine made versions.
Here the production methods are similar to the production of hand made terracotta, but the clay tiles are pressed into moulds by using mechanic systems.
Although machine made terracotta is proportionally cheaper than hand made terracotta, some might feel that there is some ‘charm’ lacking. For this reason hand made terracotta is mostly used for industrial projects in large areas where tiles are required in sizeable dimensions.