This morning, several of us took a tour of Artesa Ceramics, sponsored by the Cuenca Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has created a great program for expats, that includes tours, speakers and email notices for upcoming events, like concerts.
It was so noisy in the Artesa work area that it was hard to hear the guide, but my observation was that a staff of about thirty people turn out this ceramic ware, from start to finish. I was surprised at how few people were working, considering the stacks and stacks of drying ceramics that filled the workspace.
One of the first steps - vats of clay, waiting to be processed. Once the water has been pressed out and the clay has been formed into cylinders, it's ready for the molds, shown in the photo below.
The warehouse work area was filled with stacks of drying mugs, plates, lamp fixtures, bowls, pitchers, ladles - and much more...
I've never seen such a large kiln! Pieces move through this kiln in an assembly line.
Once fired, they are ready to be hand decorated. The artwork is applied with wax, which melts when glazed and fired, leaving the finished design.
I'd say there were about fifteen women applying the designwork. It takes a steady and deft hand to do this!
In the photo above, you can see the black wax pencils that are used to apply the designs.
Howdja like to do this all day, every day?!
Once glazed and fired, the pieces go through a rigorous inspection, and if perfect, they are ready for sale. Artesa also makes pieces that are solely for museum display.
The adjacent showroom is a colorful and cheerful place, and the finished pieces are beautiful. It's hard to pick just one!
There is a seconds shop for bargain shoppers, which is open every Friday morning.
Artesa is located at Av. Isabel La Catolica 1-102 y Av. de las Americas in Cuenca
Tel: 2881 755