These diggings invariably fill with water during the winter and provide a haven for wildlife of many varieties – water is always in short supply this far south.
The clay is then ground down to a finish paste inside a rock crusher and water added to produce a uniform but rough paste. This is put by hand into a simple mould, (coated with ashes to ease its leter extraction), and flattened with a wooden spatula.
… which is fired by sawdust, pine cones, almond shells and olive pips. The average loss during the process is 15%, and this, coupled with the hand made process explains their relatively high cost of approx half a euro each. No two tiles are ever exactly the same as there is always some distortion during firing – which produces the authentic “country-style” uneven floor – so destructive to furniture movement!
A special thanks to Artur and Edgar for taking the time to show us around and explain everything to us.