I returned to Moreno León in Torrejoncillo, Extremadura, three weeks ago, to see my tinaja, and my dear friends Antonio, Rafa and Carlos the tinajareros, and was lucky enough to arrive on a friday afternoon when they were in the middle of loading their huge kiln.

the kiln is the one place they can’t use the jack trolleys and the huge pots, not yet fired and quite delicate, have to be manoeuvred by hand. also the kiln is lined with ceramic insulating fibre which is dangerous to breathe in, so masks are the order of the day.

the big dark jar on the right is one of four commissioned for a garden in Madrid – this will be spectacular!

they have started using manganese oxide to give an aged appearance, which I think works quite well. we also saw a large ridged jar treated with a white slip in their Caceres  shop which looked very impressive.

but the orange terracotta au naturel is very beautiful.

they have a collection of old pieces for sale in the storeroom. Jimenez was the potter in Arroyomolinas de Montanchez. this cono is as tall as me. “FABRICADE JUAN PEDRO JIMENEZ AÑO 1944”

In the local bodega where I bought wine they have this sort of thing, not used any more, but kept for interests sake.

I love this; the shape is gorgeous, and the surface bears all the marks of its making and its age.

old and new

this is a beauty too. I hope to buy some old pieces to keep in Spain.

they can keep my jar company.

double signature; the six-sided star, the star of David, is Moreno León’s stamp and indicates a very old origin .. possibly Catholic converts who stayed in Spain after the Jews were expelled.