Chimineas (pronounced “chi-mih-nee-ah”) were said to have originated centuries ago in Mexico as local tribe people’s means of providing heat for their families as well as a vessel for cooking and baking. Chiminea was traditionally crafted by Mexican craftsmen from clay and designed to keep the rain off the fire. In the olden days, a family warms up using merely a couple of sticks.
Modern chimineas still function as an excellent heating source especially when the air gets nippy outdoors. Because of its quaint look, homemakers are discovering that chiminea is a perfect decorative accessory for a rustic patio or a country-styled gazebo. For those who like the glow of open fire in their gardens, with real crackling wood fire, Chiminea makes a lovely addition to a landscaped garden.
Today, there are a number of outdoor equipment manufacturers that still adapt the traditional way of making chimineas: hand-made using clay as the main raw material. Three types of clay are mixed to get the right consistency and sturdiness. The clay mixture is then placed in a mold to achieve the desired form, such as a “grapevine” shape.
Craftsmen are skilled in opening the mold and removing the hardened clay careful not to inflict even a slightest crack. After completely air-dried, the newly molded chiminea is then fired in a kiln fueled by gas for a more controlled heat. They are then left to cool in an open air before they are polished – leaving raw, natural imprints of the clay as a sign of its authenticity – and, finally, painted.