The Albense pottery

The love to the earthy entrails, to the mud, is the ancestral origin of this Albense people, which goes parallel its history to alfar, to the mud and to all the creative expressions that its artisans manifest in their different modulations through the times.

Alba de Tormes has traditionally been a village dedicated to mud. Great masters of pottery have transmitted the vocation and secrets of the profession from generation to generation, symbolizing a form of expression and making pottery the emblem of Albense culture.

For a long period of time, the pieces that were made had a marked utilitarian character: pots, pots, botijos, plates, jars... At this time there were 40 potteries that carried out their work through medieval work systems.

With the appearance of new materials, traditional pottery went into decline, so in many other localities it even disappeared.

However, in Alba de Tormes, and thanks to the skill and skill of the potters, who have transformed their pots into pieces of art and decoration, there are still 3 potteries.

In addition to the utilitarian pieces, the original and exclusive filigree of the Villa Ducal has been introduced, thanks to the creative spirit of the artisans, famous for their dexterity in the handling of the winch, that after a long process of learning from children and with a sacrificed dedication, they manage to transmit the tradition to successive generations.

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The Albense pottery

The Albense pottery stands out for the exclusivity of its works, a mixture of tradition and innovation.

It is the result of the union of several components that make it unique: the quality of the mud, the dexterity of the potters in the handling of the winch and, especially, of the decorative qualities incorporated even in the works of utilitarian character.

Albenses decorations are famous for the showiness and variety of their models.

There are many types of pieces of pots that we find, such as for example: the consumption and conservation of food (casseroles, dishes, barrels, soup pots..) pots for transport (jars, barrels, pots, barrels...) pots for fire (pots, calves..) or for other diverse uses (pots, pots, toys.)

Several decades ago, filigree emerged as an evolution of the traditional procedure of sanding vessels overlapping different levels of handles interspersed with figurines and ornaments on a plate or a botijo, becoming the most representative and exclusive figure.

The mud process

Preparation, realization, decoration and cochura

1. Mud preparation

Making a piece of mud involves a slow and laborious process that begins with the extraction of the mud in the borehole or deposit. The process continues in the sieves where it is battered, filtered, left to settle, it is ored and soba until obtaining homogeneous bowls of high quality, famous for its hardness and plasticity.

When the clay is taken to alfar, it is time to transform it into a piece of art.



Usually, the potter places the bolus on the stand and turns it with his wet hands to then polish and smooth it. The stand is the basis of the potter’s work, although it uses other techniques, such as the mould.

The pieces are placed on a plank to move them to the dryers in order to lose moisture, then to pray to the sun.

Depending on the piece in question, the handles, feet, whistles or spikes are added.

The only utensils with which the potter is helped in addition to his hands, mud and water, are the heels (pieces of wood to stretch the mud), the pellejas (piece of claw to smooth the mud), the barb (fine stick to remove excess mud), the wire (to separate the pieces from the stand).

When the clay is taken to alfar, it is time to transform it into a piece of art.


Considered of great beauty and quality, the decoration of the pieces is one of the reasons that have marked the difference of the Albense pottery.

The most characteristic method is the decoration with two colors in greda and juaguete obtained from two types of natural engobes, being the greda of reddish color and the juaguete of white color.

When the piece is already dry, it is decorated with one of the engobes according to the color you want to give the piece through the aguamanil (a brass container similar to a small shower).

Once the pot is made, it is glazed and left to dry to proceed to bake.

Other colours are also traditional, such as black with manganese or mottled pieces.


In the past, the ovens were made of firewood and in the upper well they could bake up to 1,500 pieces for 15 hours on a slow and constant fire.

When it reached the right temperature the last broth was poured and allowed to cool until the next day... is the time when the potter sees, satisfied, his work finished.

As a sign of pottery’s association, Alba de Tormes is a founding member of the Spanish Association of Ceramic Cities.


Links of interest


Spanish Association of Ceramic Cities


Pottery in Alba de Tormes Castilla y León awaits you!

Pottery museum

The Pottery Museum is located in the Church of Santiago, Romanesque-Mudejar style, dating from the late 11th century and early 12th century, and declared a Cultural Interest Site

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