The Province of Padua in Italy is renowned for its craftsmanship traditions and the exceptional quality of the region’s clay, as well for being the home of some of the oldest ceramics factories in Europe. Half an hour north of Padua, the village of Massanzago houses the Clay Factory, a maker of specialist clays for children.\n\n\n\nHow we found it\nWe already knew that the Veneto region and Padua, in particular, were known to make the world’s best clays. When we heard there was a factory in the area that had taken the lead in preserving energy and minimizing its environmental footprint, we knew we had to learn more.\nThe Clay Factory makes a self-drying dough that can be shaped in molds or by hand. The drying time depends on the thickness of the layers, but the clay needs a little longer time to dry than industrially made clays. That means one can spend more time fine-tuning and shaping the clay, allowing for more defined and detailed work.\n \nThe process and way of working\nThe Clay Factory’s chemists check the clay to make sure it adheres to their quality standards. Each package gets a batch tracking number. After that, workers carry out continuous randomized inspections. They pick packages at random and weigh them to ensure the quantity is correct. They also inspect the packaging with the naked eye and double-check the batch tracking numbers. A solar plant covers 50% of the Clay Factory’s electricity needs. And they purify the water used to clean the big containers with a natural system, so much that they can release it into the public sewage.\nAbout the owner\nThe Clay Factory was founded in 1953. It remains a small-scale family company to this day, still making the clay from the founder's original formula and hiring all staff locally.