Clay is the raw material of terracotta, a natural material, used since prehistoric times for its qualities and for its easy availability. Used on a large scale in the construction sector, at its origins it was used in many cultures to produce utensils and tableware, votive statuettes and architectural decorations.
Terracotta is obtained by mixing water with clay to create a modeling paste that can be extruded and cut according to the desired shape.
Both the ancient artisanal procedures and the modern industrial processes require that the clay be dried and fired at high temperatures in order to obtain a hard and consistent material with its use.
Among the ceramics, that is among the materials obtained from clays, terracotta is the most porous.
The typical color of terracotta changes from yellow to intense brick red due to the presence of iron salts or oxides in the clay which, in addition to being responsible for the coloring, contributes to the mechanical resistance of the material, reduces porosity and contributes to its vitrification.
Where is it
Clay is one of the most generous gifts that Nature offers us. In fact, it is found from 50cm to one meter deep in the vicinity of waterways, in the points where the ground comes off sharply, forming cracks and elbows.
Terracotta can therefore be considered an icon of Nature due to the coexistence of its 4 primary elements: the Earth, with the clay that is the raw material, is shaped by Water and dried by the Air while it gains strength and consistency from the Fire.
Initially the clay artifacts were dried in the air and in the sun, but over time it was discovered, probably thanks to chance and the spirit of observation, that cooking was able to make objects more resistant that could also be decorated and take on more shapes. complex.
The terracotta material was given the name of terracotta and for several centuries centers for its processing developed everywhere. Today the temperature used in the ovens to obtain terracotta is close to or slightly above 900 degrees.
The working of terracotta in Tuscany, particularly in the Impruneta area, originates with the Etruscan civilization. Its architectural use reached its peak in the Middle Ages and in the Gothic period. Thanks to the strong and warm color, it had the function of emphasizing the architectural lines in contrast with the gray of the stone.
In the Renaissance the activity of the furnaces flourished when the Medici and other noble families used to adorn the parks of their villas with vases and statues. Although in the great architecture of the time the infamous Carrara marble was favored for great works, terracotta retains its place of honor and the many palaces of the time are proof of this, one above all Brunelleschi’s Dome of the Florence Cathedral.
Resistant to frost, heat, thermal changes and brackish, over time it becomes almost a unique element with the surrounding natural environment. In fact, it is not uncommon for lichens and moss to settle on the surface, creating different textures and designs, which will make each object a unique, exclusive and personal piece.
Thanks to these unique characteristics, ITALIAN TERRACOTTA marries perfectly with the most modern concepts of design and architecture, combining refinement and durability, modern design and ancient material.
In recent times there has been a recovery of terracotta also in the artistic field thanks to prominent sculptors. From ancient times and still today it is always widely used for vases and other decorative elements, especially if intended for outdoor use, but also for immortal kitchen utensils, in particular plates, pans and pots (and in the latter cases it is enameled) .
Born above all to furnish outdoor spaces, this material over time has also come into use for the rooms of the house, becoming a sign that immediately moves the atmosphere towards retro, romantic and rustic flavors.