Hand-pressed terra cotta is NOT the same as the much cheaper, paper-thin ceramic slip castings used to produce teapots, china plates, and bowls! Slip casting is a condensation process, with the clay particles condensing by gravity, slip castings are usually very weak, very thin, and easy to break, this process is used for cheap mass production.
Hand-pressed clay involves real work, physically taking the moist clay and both pressing and ramming small amounts of it into the plaster mold, pressing and working it in to remove air and squeeze the clay into all of the fine details. As the sculpture is built up to the top surface of the plaster piece mold it is then leveled off on the back and hollowed out by hand, leaving the clay walls about 3/4 of an inch thick. The clay is physically compressed into a very dense shell by physically ramming it, the walls are much thicker and the sculpture is extremely dense and high quality brick.
Once the pressed-clay has remained in the plaster mold used to form it for a few hours, it is carefully removed and laid on a rack to begin drying. The pressed-clay sculptures are completely gone over by hand with sculpture tools to add back any fine details, accent others, and generally clean up the whole surfaces, this is exactly the same processes used to create all of the architectural terracotta found on old buildings my work is based upon.
The dried sculptures are then kiln fired to 2,070 degrees F over about a 36 hour cycle, they are designed for the garden, or incorporating into a brick or stone wall.
Someone mentioned they "hate" terracotta because they had some in the garden that "fell apart," please do not confuse that type of cheap, mass produced in China -JUNK with fine hand-made sculpture! The reason their "terracotta" in the garden and flower pots fell apart was that it was poorly made earthenware fired at the lowest possible temperature to save time and money, this junk is not genuine terracotta, I even suspect some of it is just tinted red plaster passed off as "terracotta" or so called; "composite terracotta."