Watching Master Potters at Work in Úbeda, Spain
The walls of Alfarería Tito are lined from floor to ceiling with functional works of art—cups, bowls, plates, and objetos ranging from traditional to avant garde. Juan "Tito" Martínez Villacañas (and his son Juan Pablo) work out of this beautiful studio/store in the old center of Úbeda. Watch them at the wheel, spinning botijos and cántaros—the shapely water jugs that populate Baroque still-life paintings at the Prado (and still keep water cold in the summer with their clever evaporative design). The green-glazed vases with Andalusian Muslim designs and cut outs are a highly-prized specialty of Úbeda. On Calle Valencia, you'll find several other potters of the "Tito" dynasty, including the workshop-museum of sculptor Paco Tito, which houses the oldest working Muslim-style updraft kiln in Europe. The father-son duo, known throughout Spain for their sculptures of scenes from Don Quixote, are happy to show curious visitors around their "Remembrance of the Quotidian" museum, an homage to the simple beauty of hand-crafted everyday objects.