Saturday, 24 November 2012

A visit to our favourite potter

Tinajas Moreno León is a pottery in Torrejoncillo North of Caceres, about 1 hour 20 minutes from Finca al-manzil.
 It is well worth a visit, one of the few potteries, alfarerias, still making the huge clay storage pots called tinajas. For hundreds of years the same family have been digging the clay at Torrejoncillos and making these wonderful vessels. Most days of the week one can visit and see the whole process from lumps of clay to the finished articles towering over the busy potters.
Not only do they make traditional tinajas but all manner of pots for home and garden at surprisingly reasonable prices. 

Although they do not make small domestic kitchen articles they have a fine stock bought in from other potters in Spain and Portugal. Some very pleasing shapes, sturdy terracotta caseroles, baking trays, jugs, platters and bowls. I have bought many of my kitchen pieces there, always in constant use, they seem to improve with age, gaining a lovely patina after many a succulent dish has been slowly baked and enjoyed straight from the pot, they are perfect for the hearty rustic dishes of Extremadura.
Here are some freshly made clay ovens drying before being fired in the massive kilns.

Here is a poster advertising the pottery, they have used an image from one of Fernando Gallego's  stunning retablos, this one can be seen at Ciudad Rodrigo. The miracle at the wedding feast of Cana, water into wine, just look at those tinajas, obviously made in Extremadura since Roman times and here portrayed at the end of the 15th century.

 I like this image of tinaja transport in the 1930s, in this manner these huge pots were taken to the nearest rail transport and then on to bodegas all over Extremadura

The visit to the pottery can be combined with a visit to the monastery of Palancar which is on the way, see my post about the monastery

Also just a few kms further on from the pottery is the interesting old town of Coria with some lovely walks along the Alagon river

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