Sargadelos. Sargadelos. Sargadelos.

Near a little town called Cervo in the region of Lugo, in the community of Galicia, located in the north west of Spain lies a fine porcelain factory founded over 200 years ago. This August I attended a three week international ceramics trends workshop at there at Sargadelos.

Where do I start?! An alternate universe full of good people, good clay, good times and beautiful scenery! I almost didn’t want to come back! But here I am now in Madrid, settling in for two weeks before heading off to England.

For starters in this post, I present to you: 
SARGADELOS — THE FACTORY

I love discovering the process’ of how things come to be — of anything really, I remember going to a paper factory with my siblings when we were young. I bet they recall it too, we were given earplugs and fluro hats, the noise was outrageous and that sense of discovery about paper — a product we use every single day made an impression on me.

There in Sargadelos I enjoyed seeing the production of numerous half finished pieces — all on their way to becoming cherished objects. 

There were many relatively low tech processes used. From a camping stove to heat plastic and make ridged stencils to fit, or specially made stands from timber to hold an object while a handle is being attached.

The design department was my favourite of course. Researching new lines, drawing, colour, form. They had all the different pieces there… sculpture, table ware, packaging. It struck me as much more varied work. Although hands on, and with a marvellous material, working in the decoration team did not seem nearly interesting enough to sustain a healthy interest in the job… for me that is — many people have been working there for 40 years!

People painting, glazing, decorating, joining handles, cutting stencils — I’m not sure what I was expecting… but I was surprise with the amount of work that was done by hand. There are currently 94 workers in the factory.

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the design department <3

the design department❤

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Kaolin mountain, this particular source is more likely used to coat paper — the kaolin used by the factory is more pure, it comes from closer to Foz (a nearby city to the west of Cervo).

Kaolin mountain, this particular source is more likely used to coat paper — the kaolin used by the factory has less impurities, it comes from closer to Foz (a nearby city to the west of Cervo).

Filtro prensa... filter press used to wash the porcelain and then remove water content.

Filtro prensa… filter press used to remove water content from washed porcelain.

These square sheets are what come out of the filter press.

From the filter press comes these square porcelain sheets.

The squares are then put through a giant pug mill to further compress it and remove air.

They are then put through a giant pug mill to further compress the body.

Porcelain slip, as good as liquid chocolate!

Porcelain slip, as good as liquid chocolate!

Colada a presión, plates in 7 minutes. Each machine produces 20–30 a day.

Colada a presión, plates in 7 minutes. Each machine produces 20–30 a day.

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decoration department

Decoration department

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Stencils made to fit using  a camping stove and a sheet of plastic.

Stencils made to fit using a camping stove and a sheet of plastic.

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Check out the difference! Porcelain has a shrinkage rate between 14–15% !!

Check out the difference! Porcelain has a shrinkage rate between 14–15% !!

motivational words?

Motivational words?

The two bisque kilns!

The two bisque kilns!

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7 meter tunnle kiln. Built by the factory in 1983. Turned on 24 hours a day. 1400°c ... H O T

7 meter tunnle kiln. Built by the factory in 1983. Turned on 24 hours a day. 1400°c … H O T

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Third firing to ensure a pleasant rim!

Third firing to ensure a pleasant rim!

A modern Galician take on the traditional Spanish botijo!

A modern Galician take on the traditional Spanish botijo!

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Don Antonio Raimunde Ibáñez. Founder of Sargadelos in 1806.

Don Antonio Raimunde Ibáñez. Founder of Sargadelos in 1806.

samples from the old factory

Samples from the old factory

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'drunken cobalt' plates were all the rage between 1845 and 1862!

‘Drunken cobalt’ plates were all the rage between 1845 and 1862!

copper plate used to transfer images to, sheets and then on to ceramic wares.

Copper plate used to transfer images to sheets and then on to ceramic wares ready for firing.

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remains of the old factory

Remains of the old factory

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original watermills!

Original watermills!

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