In this section we will explain what is behind the creation of our works.
What are the materials, the timing, the various stages of production.
You will better understand the value of craftsmanship that makes Caltagirone ceramics truly unique.
Perhaps the most suggestive part of our work, that of the clay which is worked with the lathe manually giving the desired shape, other working techniques are molding through plaster casts after having created the original shape or casting a new technique which making the liquid clay allows you to obtain very precise three-dimensional shapes.
The moulded, printed or cast objects need a drying time which can allow the residual water contained in the clay to evaporate . This process can occur naturally by exposing the objects to the air, or forced through the use of dryers.
3. First cooking
Once dried, the manufactured articles are placed in an electrically or gas-powered oven. The first firing lasts about 12 hours , it will bring the objects to a temperature between 980/1000°C.
Subsequently it is essential to avoid damage or injury a gradual cooling, which occurs naturally thanks to the dispersion of heat, the cooling time varies according to the size of the objects and the mass that has been placed in firing, on average between 8/12 hours.
After the first firing phase, the objects move on to the glazing phase which is carried out manually by immersing the object in a solution of enamel powder mixed with water.
The enamel is made up of a composition of glass, opacifiers and fluxes very finely ground in a special mill , in the composition ratio given by the temperature to which it will have to be subjected. Glazing can also be done with an airbrush in a special booth. Glazing is a delicate phase for ceramics as it will serve to prepare the surface of the object on which the decoration will then be applied.
In ceramic craftsmanship , the decoration is done by hand by skilled decorators , capable of expressing on the surface of the glaze, decorations applied with suitable brushes in order to cover the object with fascinating decorations.
For this purpose, ceramic colors are used consisting of mineral or metallic oxides mixed with fluxes, in the right quantity in relation to the temperature of the second firing. The greater or lesser harmonization between the applied decoration, the use of color and the shape of the object will then constitute the elements of qualitative evaluation of the artefacts. Fascinating some curious changes between the color applied before firing and the subsequent result after firing (for example the copper green before going into the kiln is black).
6. Second Firing
After decoration, the object is placed back in the oven to be subjected to a second firing which in 8/10 hours will bring the objects to a temperature of 920/950 C° with a further cooling time of approximately 18/24 hours . The result is a high quality artifact, known as majolica, which has made Caltagirone one of the major production centers and in any case the most famous in the world.