|Masini potter at work, photo from Masini archive|
|pots and vases of all shapes and sizes; if they don't have it, they will make it for you|
|the ones in front are called 'orci', once used to store wine and oil|
|There is a vast range of different designs|
|Masini's work is very finely crafted|
|cupola Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, completed in 1436; tiles from Impruneta|
|a charming unfired hare, reminiscent of Dürer's painting|
Interestingly, the local administration obliges the larger, industrial terracotta factories to supply the smaller artisanal workshops with the raw material they need. Which appears a very civilized and enlightened policy.
The earth is kept outside in the sun and once the stones are cleared it is ground and sifted and stored under cover. The ratio of water to earth to create the clay is as much a question of experience as of science.
|the raw earth, stored outside|
|orci drying out before being fired|
|drawing for orcio above|
|another pot or vase drying out|
|a typical festoon mould for pots|
|the vaulted ceilings and ancient brick floors denote the oldest part of the building|
Upstairs the workshop contains hundreds of moulds, items being prepared for the kiln and the workstations of some of the artisans.
|pot with striking gargoyle|
|the two chimneys of the old kilns which must have heated the workshop very efficiently in winter although I dread to think what it was like in summer|
|artisan working on acanthus leaves on ornate conca|
|moulds, some going back to the 19th century, for making tlles of various shapes, as below|
|view of workshop with materials for decorations|
|contemporary and traditional styles|
|weathered pots are more prized than brand new ones: history is respected here|
|terracotta upupa epops - hoopoe - upupa|