The Basque Pottery Museum is located in the Ollerías district in the town of Elosu. This museum stands in a rural setting of great natural beauty, between the Natural Parks of Urkiola and Gorbea, on the banks of the reservoirs of Álava.
The building is an old restored pottery, opened to the public in 1993. This ambitious full restoration project was set in motion by Blanka Gómez de Segura. The pottery, built in 1711, was the old pottery workshop where several generations of the Ortiz de Zárate family worked. The potters were forced to abandon their trade in 1958 when the Urrúnaga reservoir was constructed, as the land from which they took their clay was flooded.
Adjacent to the building is the enormous old kiln. It has a quadrangular floor plan and is nine meters high. For centuries thousands of pieces were fired in its interior until this activity finally stopped in 1958. Since 1993 it has been included as a Monument on the General Inventory of Basque Cultural Heritage.
One of the most popular activities at the Pottery Museum is to visit to the production workshop. This where you can watch the potters at work and receive all kinds of explanations about techniques and work methods.
In the workshop you can see how the pieces are made and all the intermediate work before being fired for the first time at temperatures close to a thousand degrees Celsius.
The glazing and decoration of the pieces represents the end of one process. Once glazed and decorated, they are fired for a second time to mature the glaze and fix the colours. The finished pieces are then put on sale.
There is also a shop at the Museum where the pieces made in the pottery workshop can be purchased. Reproductions of old pieces, with the original characteristics and dimensions, are produced. Similarly, designs based on original pieces and decorations have been incorporated and new dishwasher and microwave safe ceramic materials have been introduced. Pieces are also made to order.
One hour from Bilbao via the N-240, the Museum is on this road between the villages of Ubidea and Legutio.
20 minutes from Vitoria-Gasteiz via the N-240 in direction Barázar.
From Donostia via the A-8 motorway as far as Durango and then via the secondary road that links Durango with Legutio.