I’ve just roofed the little terrace at the front of ‘chez nous’, using some old tiles which were part of the original house roof. The house is 300 years old and I’m sure some of the tiles were recycled from even older buildings. They are low-fired, hence fragile, and without doubt from a wood-fired kiln. They are hand-made, irregular, weathered, and charming. They break if I stare too hard at them. Could they be medieval? Possibly. Older? Maybe. Holding one is holding a silent witness to perhaps one tenth of the span of that anthropoid hubris otherwise known as civilisation.
By contrast the new tiles I bought recently are machine made, extruded, high fired, and blandly uniform. I can walk over them and they don’t break. To hold one is to hold evidence of an efficient modern industrial process.
Is there a lesson here for the kind of pots I should be making?