The porcelain of Sargadelos
Past and present of the Sargadelos Group, which has been producing original porcelain since 1804 in Galicia with a strong identity, in the opinion of an Italian ceramist. The Marquis of Ibañez has been sitting for a number of years outside the porcelain factory of Sargadelos, a small town in the Galician province of Lugo, in the north west of Spain. He has an engrossed look, nothing distracts him: he is indifferent to the bustle of cars and people who come and visit the factory. Not even the Galician rain, which pours down on him for a good part of the year, affects his composure. It seems as if the Marquis knows just what his role is: to bear witness to the link between the past and present, two considerations which one cannot but refer to when talking about Sargadelos. The current Sargadelos has evolved, historically, from immense experience in the field of designing and producing ceramics. The porcelain factory established by Antonio Raymundo Ibañez, that “Marquis of Sargadelos” had been active from 1804 to 1876 in the area of Sargadelos. Today, in the guise of a ceramic sculpture, it welcomes skilled craftsmen and interested visitors from afar. The factory is considered to be one of the first capitalist industrialist enterprises of Spain, because it had abandoned traditional working methods in favour of mass production. Today the Sargadelos Group, which includes the factories of Castro and Sargadelos, is a business which gives employment to three hundred people and produces a million and a half pieces of porcelain a year. In the world of the ceramists Sargadelos is also known as a place where, since 1972, it has been possible to meet and work. I too am a ceramist, and in August 2004 I was in Sargadelos as an artist invited to attend a summer seminar. The experience, from the personal and professional point of view,
was very interesting. Those who took part in the seminar had the opportunity to compare themselves with people with different backgrounds, age and training in addition to the chance to work within the factory, using high temperature materials which, because of their technological features, you are forced to reflect on problems of design and comparison between ones own methods and those posed by the actual situation. Meetings and discussions are organised with artists and exponents of the design world. Another element which positively enhanced my stay at Sargadelos is the guided visit of the factory, aimed at getting to know its “philosophy”, the production techniques and organisation. The ceramics of Sargadelos has some unique features. It is porcelain that is baked at around 1.400°. The pieces, both practical and decorative objects, are first designed and produced as prototypes which serve to create the moulds. The decorative part is produced by “masks” and airbrushed colours under varnish which, coated with crystalline, can well support the high temperatures. Aesthetically the shapes of the objects and decorations refer, in some cases, to the Galician culture, in others the shapes and décor aspire to be a clear tribute to the artistic state of the art of the 20th century. The Sargadelos Group sells a good part of its production in Galicia. Another part of the production is sold through the nine franchised galleries or the six galleries which the factory runs in major Spanish cities. In 1995 one was opened in Milan, at 16 via Spallanzani: to visit it can be an opportunity to immerse oneself in the history of Sargadelos and in the Galician culture and to become acquainted with a method of production which has the knowledge and skill to create a balance between local and international culture.
Elementi modulari geometrici Mod. C. Geometric modular elements Mod. C.
Italian Magazine about crafts