…no regular manufactory, no division of labour, no machinery, not even the potter's wheel, none of the aids to industry which I had conceived almost indispensable to a trade so artificial as that of making earthenware. At the door of one of the poorest huts, formed merely of branches and covered with long grass, having a hide for a door, sat a family of manufacturers. They were seated on sheep-skins spread under the shade of a little penthouse formed of green boughs, at their work. A mass' of clay ready tempered lay before them, and each person according to age and ability was forming jars, plates, or dishes. The work-people were all women, and I believe that no man condescends to employ himself in this way, that is, in making the small ware: the large wine jars, &c. of Melipilla are made by men.
Some of the old-time women were very skilled in the art of pottery; making various pitchers, jars, pots, plates, cups: all kinds of clay vessels…. When the clay was well mixed a handful was taken to work with. First a round vessel bottom was formed from the clay. Then another handful was molded into a strip or “piulo” using the palms of both hands. When this piulo was long enough it was placed on the round bottom following its circumference, and was pressed into the base with the fingers. Then a second handful of material was pressed onto the previous strip and the grove between the two piulos was smoothed inside and out. The later work proceeded in exactly the same way. According to what they wanted to make, the width, height and form of the vessel were formed. As they were very experienced in their art, they produced many different shapes.
…born in Pomaire in 1915, learned the craft from her grandmother and mother. She has practiced it since she was 16. She works in the old style, forming the shapes by hand and repeating the patterns made by her ancestors. She obtains the clay, already prepared, from the same area. She is one of the few artisans who maintain the tradition in the way she works and in the patterns she follows. 
Today Pomaire is an attractive tourist destination for Santiagueños and visitors, who come on weekends and holidays to window-shop, buy pottery and other handicrafts, and to enjoy the Chilean Creole cuisine.
Prices are reasonable. The casseroles to the right were 3,500 CLP, about $6.50 US.
In addition to utilitarinan ware there are figurines, such as these crèche figures.
And other, non-religious novelties.
And restaurants serving traditional Chilean Creole cuisine in pleasant shady patios.
But back to the pottery: it is unglazed earthenware, thick and relative good at even heat distribution. It can be used in the oven, over a flame or on charcoal, for roasting, sautéing, boiling or simmering, and for serving. It keeps food warm for a long time.
- For long simmered sauces, etc., that may burn on the bottom, use a heat diffuser
- Pre-heat casseroles that will be used in the oven for lasagna, baked chicken, etc. or expect to add 10 minutes or so to the cooking time.
- Preheat bowls for serving soups and stews, cazuela, paila marina, etc.
- Cook individual pastel de choclo, shepherd’s pie, mac & cheese, pot pie, etc. in greda bowls.
- Use some caution in adding cold liquids to a hot casserole or immersing one in cold water. Greda is durable, but it’s not cast iron.
- Don’t be overly cautious. Sauté onions and garlic in the casserole, brown some meat, add wine, vegetables, simmer or pop in the oven. Take to the table and serve out of the pot with crusty bread and more wine. Enjoy.
Casuela de ave from a Pomaire restaurant