|Bulldog with Lollipop, The Third Piece in a New Series|
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Lladro is Spain's pre-eminent porcelain collectibles creator. I remember falling in love with their pieces when I was a little girl. It was distinctive and it seemed as if I could spot it a mile away. Each design originates with the sculptor. whose original sketch is then molded into clay or plasticine, using his hands, tools, and imagination. Now they have turned their talents to dog collectables (and some cats!) The world of pets is, frankly, one of its favorite themes. The sizes are proportionately accurate and there is a certain playfulness to this new collection. Additionally, each dog sits on a hand-knitted mat, made just for the occasion.
Interestingly, once the model is finished, it's broken down into various fragments which are then reproduced in plaster. The next step is to etch on each surface of the plaster all the ornamental patterns and motifs which the sculptor conceived in the initial sketch. This phase is when the expression of the face, motifs, the relief work on clothing and floral compositions all come to life. These fragments will be reproduced in porcelains in molds in a fascinating process. The living material of white liquid porcelain then sets and gives life to the pieces in a magical puzzle that the brand's artists will put back together.
|Chihuahua with Marshmallows|
Once the piece has been reconstructed, expert hands take over the process and begin the decoration. The first step in this phase is the choice of decorative technique best suited to each element. Dissolved colors, paint paste, luster. Can you begin to imagine a palette with 4000 different tonalities?! It exits at Lladro. In close collaboration with the laboratory, the artists experiment with the variety of color tones called for in the particular model, their densities, saturation, textures, nuances and, if required, they often create specific colors expressly for the pieces. As Rosé Lladro clarifies, "..for us creativity, experimentation and research are everyday challenges." Later the artists paint the pieces with a steady hand, bringing to life the expression of facial features and delicately outlining the tiniest detail. It has also to be decided whether the pieces will be matte or glazed, because glazed pieces require a layer of varnish before being fired in the kiln.
And, finally, the moment of truth: the test of fire. Back in the 1960's Lladro pioneered a system of single firing, leaving behind the second and even third firing still being used by other companies. In the kiln, the piece is subjected to a temperature of around 1300 degrees Celsius (2599 degrees Fahrenheit) for a whole day and the chemical reactions that take place define the final colors of the piece. On the other hand, because it loses water, the size of the piece is reduced around 15% during the firing. Ensuring that this reduction in size is uniform, and that the piece does not suffer in any way is one of the biggest miracles that takes place at Lladro. Porcelain is alive and it is in the kiln when each piece is put to the test.
|Jack Russell with Licorice|
Lladro's reputation is based on quality, in never disappointing, in never lowering they goals. As Rosé Lladro explains, "we could not conceive of working any other way than to the maximum quality, because it is part of our DNA." The highest standards of quality are also applied in the packaging, adapting to the individual features of each piece in order to ensure that it reaches its final destination in perfect condition.
List of dogs (and cats) in this collection: http://www.lladro.com/themes/temas.Perrosygatos-CATALOG_DOGS_AND_CATS/