The Earthenware Ceramics of Ubeda, Spain

Ceramics were first made in this part of Andalucia during Neolithic times. The Romans, Moors, and Renaissance era Spaniards introduced many innovations, in fact, their influence can still be seen in the unique pottery of Ubeda. As the demand for pottery shifted from utilitarian ware to decorative pieces, modern potters survived by adapting traditional vessels to meet the needs of the new market. Ubeda is the home of several fine potters - only a few of them are featured here. Historical pieces and the contemporary process may be seen through the virtual studio tour below. 
 
In order to preserve the history of utilitarian pottery and to celebrate its potential as an artistic medium, Paco Tito established the "Memory of the Everyday" museum above his studio / showroom at 22 Calle Valencia. The ceramics seen below that were at one time essential for food and drink storage, transportation, and preparation, are exhibited alongside baptismal fonts, lamps, and figurative sculptures. Amazingly, Paco made all of the pieces himself!
 
 
Paco's most recent work celebrates the 400 year anniversary of Don Quijote. His exquisite web page lists his impressive accomplishments and artfully shows the ceramic process from mixing to firing. You may email Paco or call (in Spanish) at  953 751 496.
 
Paco's son, Pablo, carries on tradition as he carves through engobe on a large greenware bowl. His post modern style is inspired by local forms and motifs. Father and son both have studios at 22 Calle Valencia in Ubeda. You may email Pablo or call (in Spanish) at  953 751 496.
 
Paco and David Exposito work together in another studio on Calle Valencia. Paco pours engobe onto a greenware jug. David cuts a pattern into the damp greenware. Cut and carved pieces are left in the sun to dry.  
 
Juan Pablo Tito (the son of Melchor Tito below) throws on a wheel next to the front door of Alfareria Tito, located near town hall, while Paco Exposito Cobo decorates the pieces in a studio next to the showroom. Both are happy to explain (in Spanish) what they are doing and why they love it. Their excellent web page not only features their production, but also provides an historical perspective for the work. You may email Juan Pablo Tito or call him (in Spanish) at 953 751 302.
 
Melchor Tito works at 44 Calle Valencia with his other son, Melchor. Their excellent web page features area ceramic history, their studio, and the process. You may email Melchor or call (in Spanish) at  953 753 692. Although most Ubeda potters use electric kilns, Melchor and his brother, Paco, still fire in updraft "Arab" two-level kilns fueled with wood and ground-up olive pits. 
The flue of Melchor's kiln is on the left. Next is the top interior level of the kiln. Then we see Melchor unloading the back bottom level of the kiln. The front entrance of this lower level is also the firebox. Melchor's showroom in on the right.
 
Paco Tito's sculptures range from intimate to monumental. The conceptual bronze and clay sculpture below is in Jaen, but the models are in Paco's studio. The bottom of the first maquette illustrates the "Arab" kiln that he and Melchor use to fire their work. The rounded kiln in the second maquette is actually a section of the interior of the kiln.
 
LINKS:  
Tiles and Ceramics of Seville, Spain  
Tiles and Ceramics of Talavera de la Reina, Spain
Monje Ceramics of Lora del Rio, Spain
Earthenware Tiles of Portugal  
Majolica Ceramics of Caldas da Rainha, Portugal
Blacksmithing in Andalucia, Spain   
Sculpture of Seville, Spain
Silversmithing of Seville, Spain  
Metal Spinning of Seville, Spain
Marquetry of Granada, Spain  
Spain History and Culture Links   
Capelo of Guanajuato, Mexico
Angelica Escarcega Rodriguez of Guanajuato, Mexico
José Luis Méndez Ortega of Guanajuato, Mexico
Guevara Ceramics of Guanajuato, Mexico
Tecpatl Ceramics of Guanajuato, Mexico
Maya Reproductions of the Yucatan
Pottery of Western Cameroon
Traditional Dunzi Production in Yaoli, China
Porcelain production in Jingdezhen, China
Roof Tiles in Bali, Indonesia  
Carol Ventura's Home Page 

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Web page, photographs, and text by Carol Ventura.