collectibles

reSettling Life’s Treasures – Lladro Porcelain

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In honor of our upcoming auction, which includes over 50 of these figurines, we are discussing the unique pieces of Lladro porcelain.

Considering its large following and collectability, Lladro porcelain got its start relatively recently, in 1953. Three Lladro brothers, Juan, Jose, and Vicente, combined their artistic talents and started created plates, vases, and figures in Almassera, Spain. At the time, they found their inspiration in the other great ceramic artists throughout Europe.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that their signature look started taking shape. The brothers began experimenting with elongating the lines in their figurines, giving them a contemporary, more elegant look. They also switched from triple-firing to a single-firing technique that left the colors pastel instead of bright. In 1965, they brought this unique look to the U.S. for the first time. Their first U.S. gallery and museum was opened in 1988 on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and their second opened in 1997 on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

Creating a Lladro figurine is not a quick process. Each piece starts with a picture, from which an artist sculpts a clay model. The model is reproduced roughly in alabaster, sculptors carve the intricate details to create the molds. This process alone can take up to five years.

Once the molds are complete, liquid porcelain is poured into molds representing different sections of the figurine. The exact formulas for Lladro porcelain is a closely guarded secret, but it includes feldspar, quartz, and kaolin. Different proportions of these components are used for different purposes. The pieces are assembled and painted after the porcelain dries and fired at 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. During the firing process, the more complicated and delicate figurines are supported with porcelain pieces to keep them from breaking in the kiln.

Each completed figurine is given a name in Spanish and in English; the names often have different meanings rather than the English one being a direct translation. The names of pieces are also often changed partway throughout the line, which can sometimes make them difficult for collectors to identify.

In addition to their recognizable figurines, Lladro makes other lines of porcelain:

·         Jewelry – necklaces, earrings, pins, hair clips

·         Lighting – table lamps, floor lamps, sconces, pendant lights, chandeliers

·         Home accessories – candleholders, vases, bowls, trays, teacups, salt and pepper shakers,            mirrors

Throughout the decades, Lladro’s subjects have included flowers, human figures, animals, and religious traditions. The 21st century brought with it new concepts, including pieces with a matte white finish, black-and-white creations, and pieces with bright colors rather than pastels, showing Lladro’s ability to progress and create new art.

Whether you prefer the muted pastels from decades past that made them recognizable, or the bright colors or monochromatic palettes of their more recent creations, Lladro figurines can make a unique collection. Check out our upcoming auction that includes Asian and Christmas figurines, and a piece of talismania jewelry from Lladro.

To view these beautiful items in part one of our upcoming auction, click here.

 

 

reSettling Life's Treasures- Slag Glass

Much like the depression glass we discussed in a previous post, slag glass is often found in homes as a collection or a few treasured pieces, despite its slightly unappealing name.

Slag glass gets its name from one of the components in it. Early manufacturers of this type of glass would add the waste content of metal ores from iron-smelting works, or “slag,” to their molten glass to create swirls of color within it. These swirls gave the glass a marbled look, and people often refer to slag glass as “marble glass.” Some companies achieved a similar look by mixing two colors of molten glass. The end result is often called “mosaic glass.”

It is believed that slag glass got its start in England, which remained the main manufacturer of this type of glass in Europe. It caught on in the U.S. and was made by several companies, mainly located in Pennsylvania, including H. Northwood Glass Co., Challinor Taylor & Co. and Atterbury. Another company that came to be known for slag glass was Akro Agate, which made a name for itself in the early 20th century with its unique swirled marbles made by their patented process.

Slag glass has been around since the late 1800s and became very popular in the early part of the 1900s, during the arts and crafts period. One of the most common uses for this type of glass at that time was in lamps because the white or off-white swirls within the color allowed the light to shine through. Tiffany lamps made with leaded stained glass were in vogue, but many people could not afford them because they were expensive to make. Companies started using slag glass fit into metal frames to create similar-looking lamps but at a much lower cost, making them available to more people.

Rather than being blown, slag glass is pressed into the desired shape. In addition to lamps, it frequently appears in vases, bowls, figurines and candy dishes. Chunks of this unique glass are also often used as a decoration on outdoor patios and in gardens where the sunlight accents the swirled pattern. Purple is by far the most common color, and was one of the original colors created by Sowerby in England, but it can also be found in blue, pink, green, red and various shades of brown.

Slag glass is still manufactured today, and many people enjoy collecting it because of its beautiful colors and unique patterns.