Santa Catarina


Terracota do Algarve

Terracota do Algarve

The company “Terracotta do Algarve” is producing genuine Portuguese and handmade terracotta tiles, preserving the manufacturing process of the ancient craftsmen.

 

© Terracota do Algarve


Sta. Catarina: Clay Extraction

Sta. Catarina: Clay Extraction

Two types of clay are extracted, red and white, that after combined in the right proportion will lead to the raw material that is used in tiles and other products. During the extraction process is necessary to be careful and to do a good cleaning around the lode of clay so that it is not contaminated with stones, dirt or any other material that may damage the quality of the clay. Both types of clay, red and white, are transported on trucks for the ceramics and are stored in two separate lots, being mixed only at the time that the paste preparation phase takes place. This is because we don't always use the same ratio of the two; it depends on the type of Terracotta we want to produce and the end result we want, tone, etc.


Sta. Catarina:  Preparation of the paste

Sta. Catarina: Preparation of the paste

The clay is first mixed in the desired proportion, before being crushed and crumpled, earning a consistency similar to plasticine. The paste is left to rest for some time in order to gain better consistency, so then it can be molded in various shapes and sizes. This is the only phase in which machines are used to facilitate the process. Until relatively few years all the work of preparing the paste was done exclusively by hand, which besides being very hard work, eventually became unbearable expensive.


Sta. Catarina: Manual tile production

Sta. Catarina: Manual tile production


Sta. Catarina: Molding the terracotta

Sta. Catarina: Molding the terracotta


Sta. Catarina: Molding the terracotta

Sta. Catarina: Molding the terracotta


Santa Catarina: Molding the terracotta

Santa Catarina: Molding the terracotta


Sta. Catarina: Drying

Sta. Catarina: Drying

The clay needs to dry completely before going to the oven. The drying time can take a week in the summer or more than a month in winter. This happens because the drying is done naturally at room temperature. At this stage some parts may crack or warp, if there is a large temperature variation. This occurs particularly with larger pieces: terracotta 40x40 cm and 30x30 cm.


Sta. Catarina: Baking

Sta. Catarina: Baking

After being dried, the clay is carried into the oven where it is put into the furnace by layers: at the bottom of the furnace we place the brick "tijolo burro" brick, then the tiles with the various shapes and sizes, and finally at the top the smaller pieces and tiles. And then after a few hours of preheating, the tiles are baked slowly in the oven, over more than 30 hours, acquiring a natural hue. The furnace is powered with wood, sawdust and olive pomace.


Sta. Catarina Tijolos

Sta. Catarina Tijolos


Sta. Catarina: Tijolos

Sta. Catarina: Tijolos


Sta. Catarina: Telhas

Sta. Catarina: Telhas

These roof tiles are typical for the old houses in the Algarve


Sta. Catarina: Ladrilhos

Sta. Catarina: Ladrilhos

Tiles in various formats. After the installation they require a special treatment.

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