You live and you learn. Yesterday I was talking to the guys at the factory about the black clay or Volcano garden pots. We walked through the production process, from the soil piles in the stockyard, through the clay purification, clay preparation pot forming, drying and then kilning The clay purification process is quite extensive and time consuming, and critical to top quality pots. It is not like making bread dough and popping in the oven an hour later. Batches of clay are made and dated so “lots” can be tracked by clay date.
There is a limited number of sources of black clay pots in the world. This factory I was at yesterday is the only one in Spain that produces a black clay product. We know of one factory in Italy, where the same pot costs between 20-30% more than our “unpainted” pot.
I know there is a black clay product produced in Vietnam, and I was under the mistaken impression that there the garden pots are kilmed at a higher temperature than ours, which is wrong. Our black pot is superior in quality for two reasons. #1. Our pot is made with a better and purer quality of clay. The Vietnam pots contain more “sand”, which means they are more porous and lower quality. #2. Most of the production processes in Vietnam are “artesenal” in nature. The factories or productions processes are less sophisticated and in most cases the kilning is done with firewood which means the kilning heat is not more than 800 degrees C – leading to a poorer quality pot. So there you go – an important clarification.