THE MAGIC OF LLADRO
Turning Porcelain Into Dreams
It starts with a humble piece of clay or plasticine and emerges into a great work of Lladró!
From Valencia (the factory) to Canterbury (The Chinashop) and then into your home, every wonderful ornament will not only stand the test of time but add elegance and beauty as well.
That’s the innovation and creativity of Lladró. Except to say, we are proud to be the UK’s leading independent retailer of these magnificent Lladro porcelain creations.
But, of course, there is so much more that goes into crafting a captivating Lladro figurine or beautiful home accessory.
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Lladro is the eponymous brand that has carved an exalted position amongst collectors and lovers of sculpture alike. One buys “Lladro” in the same way one might acquire diamonds – that’s how much the name is revered and recognised.
The story behind this iconic brand started nearly 70 years ago, when three Spanish brothers, Juan, Jose and Vicente Lladro began making plates, vases and ceramic figurines in their home village of Almassera in the province of Valencia. From those modest beginnings, they have created a global phenomenon, a business that employs over 2000 people and is as much in demand as ever.
The core of the product is so called “white gold”, comprising minerals such as kaolin, quartz and feldspar. From these minerals, Lladro creates up to 32 different types of the finest quality porcelain, which go into the making of its beguiling range of products. Figurines, sculptures, candles, jewellery, vases and votives – they make them all – and you can buy each one through The China Shop.
What sets Lladró apart is the unique way in which each item is lovingly and lavishly handcrafted, using highly skilled and intricate techniques.
Interweaving a mixture of chemistry and modelling, through to delicate carving, etching and painting, Lladro’s artists and designers keep alive the ancient crafts and methods of turning porcelain into dreams. They even use live modelling where human figures are being created.
Once past the initial stages of clay and plasticine, technicians visualise and define the fragments in which each piece will be broken down, for later reproduction. Some of these creations are so complex and detailed, they need to be divided into more than 400 fragments. This initial fragmentation enables the first reproduction of the different parts – in alabaster. This is a highly resistant material on Lladro’s sculptors etch the faces of figures to the smallest detail.
These fragments will form the basis for the die set to create the matrix moulds that are used to obtain the definitive moulds. This carefully executed artistic process, from the birth of the idea, until the model is ready to be reproduced in actual porcelain, can take up to five years for the most complex creations. Each mould is filled with liquid porcelain. Once it is set, it is carefully extracted and then recomposed. Where flowers are used – a signature Lladro element – artists set the petals individually by hand, to ensure the uniqueness of each piece.
Then comes the intricate process of decoration. Lladro’s constantly evolving palette currently consists of over 4000 different colours and the subtlety of toning is a testament to this rich spread. This tapestry of colours is linked to an impressive array of decorative procedures and textures incorporating liquid colours, enamels, as well as lustres with finishes that might switch between gloss, matt and satin. Each one requires a delicate touch to ensure no detail is overlooked.
It is then, and only then, that each individual masterpiece is brought to life in the kiln. Subjected to temperatures of up to 1300 degrees Celsius for a whole day, each piece is set and brought to life. It’s amazing to think that during this kiln process, each sculpture loses water and about a 15% reduction in size. What’s even more incredible is that this reduction in size is uniform across the entire sculpture, ensuring that it isn’t compromised or damaged. In the most complex pieces, a porcelain support system is used to balance the piece, ensuring each Lladro creation is almost a feat of engineering in itself. Another key moment in this creative phase is the decoration of the piece.
This complex and laborious process has won Lladró worldwide recognition. The search for perfection also extends to quality control, where the finished sculpture undergoes various tests to certify that it fulfils the high standards demanded by the brand.
Excellence is also applied in the packaging, customised to the individual features of each piece, in order to ensure that it reaches its final destination – you the customer – safely and in perfect condition.
The results are to be seen on The Chinashop® website, or you can browse our in-stock selection at 20 Burgate, in the heart of Canterbury, Kent.
From Lladro angels to animals, from dancers to Disney figures, all these ornaments are guaranteed to provide magnificent memories and keepsakes to celebrate anniversaries or special occasions. For that indisputable level of luxury, let Lladro be your inspiration.