The word ceramic is used to describe any object made of clay, terracotta, and sometimes painted, whether produced by hand or through an industrial process, made of various types of clay and fired at various temperatures, including majolica, stoneware, porcelain, etc.
Majolica art has been created in Italy since the Middle Ages, with items made of terracotta covered with painted majolica. The artisan makes a mixture of water and clay that is characterized by high plasticity and cohesion. Items made of this mixture or dough are dried and then fired in an oven which hardens the article to its permanent state. An item of terracotta is an article made of a clay mixture and then fired. After the first firing at 990°, the solid yet porous terracotta is coated with paint or enamel. The most known enamel is white, shiny, and made opaque from tin oxide, which forms the coating called “majolica”. Both paints and enamels can be tinted with colours made with metal oxides, which, when mixed with the necessary fluxes, can produce different effects, according to the temperature and the type of oven (oxidizing or reducing). The oxide colorants used to paint majolica are fixed by melting under and within the coatings, at a temperature of 920°, producing a waterproof surface marked by warm, bright colours. One last decoration can be applied by brush using a technique known as “low fire”, setting the colours in a firing at around 700°.