Visit to the brickyards

The creation of different oven designs provokes insightful questions about how an oven works.  Bricks become another protagonist in our connections to the oven and to clay. 

Luckly, the vast majority of the brickyards in Cuenca are located in the Cabogana, since clay is a crucial element in this place.

We visit a nearby brickyard. Rosita welcomes us. Rosita is the fourth generation of brickmakers. She tells us stories about burning bricks and tiles in the wood oven.

We learn about the process that clay goes through to transform itself into bricks and tiles; process that reminds us of the constant transformation that clay is capable of.

Today, machines are used to make tiles and bricks. Rosita tells us that very few brickmakers use horses as in the past.

Tiles go through a transformation process before entering to the oven.

The tiles as well as the bricks are carefully organized like a true work of art inside the oven before being burned. The position of each one is so important, because the fire must reach all of them to evenly burn them.

These moments reconnect us with memories of what Wilma had shared with us.

While Rosita tells us about her memories of the oven, she remembers that the oven has been working for 70 years and that her parents and grandparents were the ones who transmitted this knowledge to their children and now grandchildren.

Like Wilma and Vero, Rosita takes us back in time, allowing us to learn more about our history through her memories

Little by little, the wood oven brings us closer to the memories and stories of Vero, Wilma and Rosita.

The oven is connecting us with the past, with family stories, and memories.

These stories allow us to see the temporalities of the oven (past, present and future).

The desire for storying and drawing intensifies as the children speculate about possible encounters between Rosita and Vero in which their lives interconnect.

When Rosita recalls her past, she brings to mind that her mother had told her that, before using horses, they used dogs to stir the mud used to make the bricks. Her great-grandfather Anastacio was the one who started this. Rosita says that before there were few people who made bricks. Then Anastacio passed his knowledge to his grandfather Jacinto and his mother Rosa. Rosita tells us that her father was a bricklayer and that he came to his grandfather’s house to build his house.

When Rosita was a child, she remembers working a lot in her grandparents’ brickyard. She says “I had to have all these bricks to be able to go to school.” She also recalls an older oven that existed. She says that these were deeper than the “modern” ones. Today’s ovens are wider and shorter, therefore the work is now easier.

Rosita, along with her parents and sisters, worked in the brickyard while she grew up. She remembers learning to cook with her mother, for which she had to go to the forest to collect wood and bring water from the Yellow River. Rosita says “it was a pleasure when we turned on the oven, because we would gather around it and have coffee with bread.” At that time, bread with coffee was a delicacy.

Rosita tells us that, as time went by, she entered a sewing academy where she learned to make traditional skirts and that 12 years ago she used them all the time. Now she uses them only when there is a traditional festival in her neighborhood.