Lladró artists experiment with colour in the brand’s Valencia factory.
Getting the colour onto a porcelain piece should be easy right? But for the skilled artists of Lladró, achieving the perfect colour is both a science and an art.
Colour in porcelain is not something that can easily be predicted or calculated. It is easy to get a colour, but getting the exact colour that you want can be a difficult process. During the process of making each Lladró piece, the colour is painted onto the porcelain before it is placed in the kiln to be fired. However, during the firing process, the paints react chemically with the kiln’s heat and the tone and shade of the piece can change, often quite drastically. This means that achieving any specific colour takes significant trial and error, and requires considerable knowledge and experience from its makers.
Because the palette of each individual piece can change so much during the firing process, pieces that have a monochromatic or uniform colour scheme must also be made with all parts painted and fired together to achieve the same look. For instance, when creating a Belle de Nuit chandelier, each of the individual hanging beads must be coloured and fired at the same time. If one was to be even a slightly different colour from the rest it would immediately be very noticeable, so it is vital that all the pieces are made together.
Read more about Lladró’s unique single-firing method.
Lladró are renowned for their iconic pastels, like in the Romantic Feelings woman sculpture.
The delicate pastels that Lladró is known for are some of the most difficult shades to achieve in porcelain art. Anyone who has ever painted will understand that even mixing a pastel-coloured paint can be incredibly tricky. In the traditional triple firing process that colour will change significantly with each time it goes in the kiln. This makes achieving the subtle colours almost impossible. Many brands will try to negate this by painting the colour after the piece has been fired, but this will cause the colour to fade quickly as it hasn’t been properly sealed into the porcelain. Instead, the Lladró brothers developed their unique single firing method in the 1950s, which allowed them to produce a softer, almost translucent palette for their classic pieces. Pastels have been a signature of the Lladró brand ever since.
Learn more about how Lladró achieves these delicate pastels
The difference in black tones is easy to see in the matt and glazed black Origami Panthers.
Another colour that is incredibly difficult to get right is black. It is unique in the fact that while it technically contains every colour, it is also not a colour itself at all. It is the absence of light, but when we create objects, even in the darkest shades, some light and shadow are always reflected, meaning that they are not truly black. In fact, a black hole is the only truly black thing in our entire universe.
However, Lladró’s talented artists have been able to create many pieces that are a deep, rich shade of black. For example, the Bold Black collection. The collection features much-loved Lladró pieces reimagined in the deepest of matt blacks, and finished with 24kt gold lustre. it explores the beauty and depth of the absence of colour, removing visual clutter so that the true artistry of the sculptures can be seen. Black also appears very differently in matt and glazed pieces. This is because glazed porcelain absorbs and reflects much more light than matt porcelain, meaning that the piece appears to have a much richer, darker tone. A good example of this is the Origami Panthers. The matt black panther is generally a lighter shade of black that may sometimes appear almost to be a dark grey. The glazed black piece, however, is a glossy black that feels rich and deep. So even though it is the same piece in the same colour, one appears ‘more black’ than the other simply because of its glossy finish and the way that it reflects the light around it.
Lladró’s talented sculptors and artists are continually experimenting with new colours and finishes in order to get the perfect look for every one of their handcrafted porcelain pieces. They have been pushing the boundaries of what colours are possible to achieve since the brand’s conception in the 1950s, and continue to be the undisputed leaders of the porcelain industry, creating long-lasting rich colours that have not been achieved by anyone else.
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