Ceramic Production - The Production of 'Cini'
The base materials used in the production of the cini comprises of basically calcite and caolin which are high in cilicium (quartz) content.
The raw materials are brought into the workshop from the mines and are crushed and put into a grinder with flint stones. The mixture is grinded and left in settling basins for a couple of days and filtered through cloth presses. Here they are washed and filtered numerous times to get rid of all foreign materials and left to stand for about 20-25 days.
Depending on the type of shaping to be used the clay mixture is prepared in three different states. These include clays for hand throwing, molded pieces and pieces to be pressed.
The mixture prepared for throwing is used for the making of plates, bowls, vases, jars and containers whereas the molding blend is used for glasses plates with a raised pattern and knick knacks. The press mixture is used predominantly for wall and floor tiles.
Once the mixture is matured it is shaped using various techniqies and left to dry slowly. When dry a layer of slip (undercoat) is applied to provide a white background and a smooth surface to paint on. This is fired in a kiln at 1000-1100 degrees celcius and is refered to as a bisquit.
The painting is carried out over the surface of the bisquit using hand made brushes by the use of oxides prepared both locally or purchased from foreign suppliers.
Once painted the pieces are glazed by the use of special glazes. The glazing technique consists of either dipping/submersion or pulverization. The glaze is a transperant glaze which is basically a layer of glass. The glaze firing is carried out at 870-1000 degrees celcius and the coating of the pattern with the glass layer is thus completed.