October 31, 2023
The Arabic Kiln in Úbeda. The poetic transformation of fire and earth
For over a year, Factum Foundation worked with Melchor Tito Sr. and Melchor Tito Jr., a family of potters, on a project to revive a traditional ceramic Arabic kiln in the city of Úbeda, Spain. On a night of full Harvest Moon between September 29th and 30th, the kiln was brought back to life for the first time since 2007, and more than 500 objects were fired over the course of 35 hours.
This project was funded by Factum Foundation and made possible by Nicolas Berlanga Martínez, founder of the Huerta de San Antonio Foundation. It counted on the support of Marcelino Sánchez Ruiz, former Mayor of Úbeda, and contemporary artist Rachid Koraïchi.
The slow, complex process resulted in hundreds of objects, all unique in their materiality and small imperfections. The shops supplying the tourist market have demanded uniformity and predictability and as a result, kilns fired with recycled materials were made redundant as the fire produces unpredictable results. Indeed, different parts of the kiln can perform in different ways. But thankfully aesthetic values change, and the result is a beautiful collection of objects produced by the poetic transformation of fire and earth.
The entire process, including the modelling, carving, glazing, and bathing of the pieces, was meticulously documented by two cameramen from the Factum Foundation and will soon become a short film capturing and immortalising months of dedication.