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Building works

20090114_2360, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

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.

New work – clay

20090114_2349, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

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.

New work – clay

20090114_2353, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

From here it’s passed to one side onto a simple metal plate which is then picked up and, on it’s way over to be laid out to dry, is striated by hand with a milky mixture made of a different clay.

Clay and floor tiles

20090114_2342, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

… 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.