Fornace Cotto Antico produces hand-made terracotta tiles using traditional techniques. We create made-to-measure unique pieces for internal and external areas. From the choice of raw materials, through to the firing, the entire process conserves the physical and chemical characteristics of the material, enhancing its shape and strength in a completely natural and sustainable way.
Handmade Terracotta Tiles
Our products are made from different types of clay.
The red and pink clays come from the same quarry in Siena. The two colours of clay are found at different depths in the quarry and are characterised by a low concentration of aluminium and high concentrations of iron, the element that gives them their colour.
Yellow clay, or ilite, comes from a quarry in Lazio, and differs in its clear base colour which is caused by the presence of copper compounds. The most striking property of this clay is the various changes in colour it undergoes during the firing process, with the final product bearing myriad shades and hues
Beginning with these raw materials, the master craftsmen of Fornace Cotto Antico start the production of handmade terracotta:
Aging the Clay
Once extracted, the clays are left. This aging process creates strength and resistance to ensure that the finished brick is indestructible.
The clay is combined with water and mixed by hand to form a paste. It is a delicate procedure as, to ensure maximum strength, it is paramount that no air is trapped inside the paste.
The paste is poured into bespoke wooden moulds unique to each project. Different types of clay require different amounts of pressure to ensure the tiles are compact and durable. Pressing and then smoothing gives the piece its final form.
Each tile is dried naturally, after being positioned in the perfect way to ensure uniform drying. This process minimises the risk of internal damage which could otherwise weaken the tile.
The firing process is carefully controlled. We have to be very accurate as each clay needs to reach a specific temperature. For our red terracotta tiles, they must be fired to 1020°C, a temperature that ensures molecular stability and increases the tiles durability.