Triana's Ceramic Scene

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The Triana neighborhood in Sevilla, is home to countless artists, bullfighters and flamenco performers, past and present.  It was the old gitano (gypsy) quarter until the 1950s and is considered the spiritual heart of Sevillian culture. Among these other art forms, Triana is perhaps most famous for its azulejos (ceramic tiles), named after the particular type of “blue” clay found in the area.  

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I explored this history in an old tile factory turned new museum close to the Triana Market and Santa Ana fabrica: The Centro Ceramica Triana.   The CCT is a museum divided into three main exhibitions: on the first floor you will learn about the raw materials, including barro azul (clay from the Triana riverbank) and various kilns for firing, as well as view examples of Roman, Moorish and modern uses of these materials.  

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On the same floor you can learn more about the history of the neighborhood itself and see photos and video footage of Triana before and after construction of the bridge and sea walls that changed the ceramic industry significantly over time including old black-and-white film of the raw materials being brought out of the river, and carried by mules; potters creating work by hand and on pottery wheels; glazes (coloured pigment) in jars; and the hand painting of tiles that Sevillian artisans are most famous for. The process is illustrated through the use of four elements; earth, water, fire and air.

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Triana was and is the home of Sevilla's most famous ceramic studios. Almost any tile you see in a local church, hotel, bar or home was made here. Even the Plaza de España, was created specifically to exhibit the variety of styles and skills to be found in these local workshops.  The industry dates back to Roman times, using clay from La Cartuja, the north end of the neighborhood.

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On the second floor of the museum, photographs from the 1950s and 60s show the extent of ceramics factories in the area including the tall, industrial chimneys we find today within the CAAC, the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (http://www.caac.es/), which was a ceramic factory founded by Englishman Charles Pickman in the 1800s, and Ceramica Santa Ana, now closed, though the company still has the shop with its famous façade next door.

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Some of the historical works of note include:

Moorish and Mudejar well heads and small jars

White tiles with blue stars, dating from Renaissance times

Arista tiles made using an industrial process of wooden moulds.

Also Pisano the 15th-century Florentine artist who came to live in Seville and created large-scale murals painted over panels of tiles, an important stage in the development of the tile industry in Seville.

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Our Triana Market Experience contains much more information and photos about the history of ceramics in this amazing barrio, so be sure to check it out here.  And if you would like to visit the museum yourself, they are open from:

Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00-14.00 and 17.00-20.00, Sundays and holidays 10.00-15.00. Closed 1, 6 January, 25 December, Holy Thursday and Good Friday (Holy Week – Semana Santa)

At:

Centro Ceramica Triana, Calle Antillano Campos 14. Tel 954 342 737

Meeting Point