The terracotta of Impruneta is made of a particular kind of clay, known for its special characteristics of strength and colour, present only in a restricted geographical area around the town; a type of clay with a unique durability in time, which requires great craftsmanship in order to be processed.
The Firm Artenova of Impruneta makes vessels and large wine jars entirely by hand using the ancient technique called “a colombino” (similar to coil pots). The craftsman moulds thick clay cylinders called “wicks” overlapping and circling them around the pot.
The layer on top is compressed onto the layer below and layer-by-layer, the pot is built up. The jar has to be dried out at different stages before proceeding in order to harden the sides to prevent sagging. After many days of painstaking work the vessel begins to take its final shape.
Once completed, it is placed in a special room to dry for a period that varies depending on the size of the jar and climatic conditions. The last, delicate stage of the production cycle of terracotta is of course the firing.
The jars, once they are perfectly dried out, are placed in the firing chamber of the kiln at a temperature of about a thousand degrees and it is this union of earth, air and fire that produces the wonderful rose pink colour typical of Impruneta terracotta.
The jars are made entirely by hand using the ancient technique known as “a colombino”.
Each jar is a precious and unique work of art, a labour of patience and perfection done entirely by hand and the result of a craftsmanship that has been passed down for centuries.
Overview of the Terracotta works. On the right the kilns which reach a temperature of about 1000° C.
The Drying room.