20090116_2369, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

A visit to the factory ….

A good many of our guests remark upon our floor tiles which are very beautiful but also hard wearing, and, best of all, don’t show the dirt – a priceless asset in the damp, mud-producing winter!
They’re made in southern Portugal, principally around the Algarvian village of Santa Catarina and a few days ago we had to go down there to buy some more for a new floor we’re making this winter, so I thought I’d make a small “photo diary” to show everyone how and where they’re made.
The “factories” are usually small family affairs, employing approx 5 people each, and are situated right on top of the raw material, a band of red clay that stretches the length of the Algarve, but which is of a particularly fine quality around Santa Catarina itself, and this village gives its name to the tiles.

First of all the raw, red clay is dug out of the ground during the summer and stored for the year’s work ahead.