In Buño, there are two types of clay. The most common and most widely used is the brown tone earthenware clay, although there’s also white clay, even though pieces are made out of this type of clay, it’s more commonly used to decorate the pieces.
- 1. Selection and mixing
- 2. Production and drying
- 3. Glazing and loading of furnace
- 4. Firing and cooling
The elaboration process starts the moment we go to the clay mine to select and dig the dry clay. Once selected, we have to clear all leaves and stones, so that we can start producing.
Once the clay has been cleaned, we process it with a pug mill, adding water depending on the pieces we want to make. The taller the pieces we are producing the harder the clay must be, otherwise we run the risk of having problems working with it.
Afterwards, once the clay has been totally run through the pug mill, we move on to the next stage, which is the wedging. This is a really important stage in the process, as this wedging must be uniform. If the clay is not uniformly wedged out and air bubbles are present in the clay, there is a risk they will burst when the pieces are fired.
Then, the clay lump is placed in the potter’s wheel (in Buño that clay lump is known as “pelouro”) and we start handcrafting pieces. As pieces are handcrafted they are gradually left to dry; if they dry out too quickly they may crack since they lose dampness very quickly.
Once enough pieces have been made, we proceed to the next stage, which is the glazing and firing of the pieces. Glazing must be done with care because the piece has not been fired yet, so we run the risk of the piece breaking while glazing. Once glazed, we move on to the loading of the kiln with the pieces. If the pieces have been glazed they must not touch each other or they will get stuck whilst firing thus leaving them in a defective condition.
For the piece to be ready, we only have the firing left. Firing depends on the kind of piece and glazing we are using therefore the firing may last between eight and ten hours at a temperature of approximately 1,000ºC. When the batch has been fired, we have to let it cool gradually, otherwise the pieces may crack and break.