Technically speaking, ceramics are made from natural materials that are permanently changed when they’re heated. In this article we touch on two different ceramics: porcelain and stoneware, to compare their properties and take a look at how Lladró uses the two materials to enhance the visual impact of their figurines.
What is the difference between porcelain and stoneware?
Porcelain is made of small amounts of glass, granite, feldspar minerals, and kaolin clay. Porcelain is fired in a kiln at 1,200–1,450°C to produce a smooth, white coloured material that has a delicate translucent appearance.
Stoneware is non-porous, denser ceramic that is made from clay. It goes through a process called vitrification in the kiln which means that it is fired at a high temperature of 1,200°C until it reaches the consistency of glass. This results in a more durable material that has a stone-like quality, hence the name. At the end you get a waterproof material that doesn’t need to be glazed so any glaze added is purely aesthetic.
It is impossible to perfectly fire the combination of porcelain and stoneware in a kiln together because they are both fired at different temperatures. If you think about it, so many things have to be taken into account when the piece goes into the kiln; water loss, shrinkage, balance, etc., and that’s just with the one material. If you throw in another material with different properties, it only adds more room for error.
Lladró designs porcelain pieces with a combination of what looks like stoneware in a few of their pieces to compliment and contrast the clean look of porcelain and add texture to the piece. It looks like stoneware, but isn’t. These stoneware-like finishes are special finishes with enamel layered onto porcelain, so that the entire piece shrinks and sets together at the same temperature, but still achieves that mixed-textural look.
The subtle texture on the light blue-green stoneware finish used on Lladró’s Protective Angel Figurine for the angel’s wings adds a soft and feathery look to an otherwise white piece.
This couple share a passionate kiss while sitting on a rock. The use of dark grey stoneware-finished base in Lladró’s Passionate Kiss Couple Figurine contrasts the matt white porcelain finish of the couple which helps the details of their anatomy stand out even more.
In Lladró’s True Friend Woman Figurine, pastel blue stoneware-finish is used for the woman’s clothes with drapes over one of her shoulders as well as used for the horse’s mane. It enhances the look of purity of the delicate pastel colours used in this piece.
The stoneware used in Lladró’s Gorilla Sculpture is a black textured satin glaze with hints of teal and green finished with a subtle shimmer that mimics the shiny fur of a gorilla. This piece is completely made in stoneware.
For more articles about the porcelain craft: