Limoges Porcelain : Haviland’s Know-How
Haviland porcelain has always combined modern demands with creative craftsmanship. The finishing and decorating artistic work are all realized by hand, by highly skilled and truly passionate artists.
Kaolin, feldspar and quartz are the principal components of porcelain. These items are placed in a grinder where they are crushed and mixed with water. The mixing takes several hours. Depending on the manufacturing process, three consistencies of porcelain solution are used:
- For jiggering, a soft mixture
- For casting, a liquid form called « barbotine»
- For pressing, a dry granulated mixture
THE CREATION OF MODELS AND MOULDS
The mould gives the exterior shape to each piece while a steel calibrator creates the interior shape.
Pieces with more complex shapes are produced through casting. The liquid clay flows evenly over the walls of the mould and dries. When the desired thickness is achieved the excess clay is eliminated.
Pieces are pressed in a mould with a dry, grainy mixture.
Handles, spouts and knobs moulded independently, are glued to finished pieces using a liquid mixture of similar composition.
After drying, the finishing process removes «seams» left by the mould. Each piece is now perfectly smooth.
At this stage, the porcelain undergoes its first firing at approximately 950°C. This firing gives porcelain resistance and makes it porous, a necessity for enameling.
Silica, pegmatite, kaolin and lime are mixed with water. The porcelain is plunged into this enamel mixture that gives it brilliance, sheen and translucency.
The “Grand Feu” firing
The second firing lasts for about 24 hours at a final temperature of 1,400°C and produces physical changes that allow the enamel to fuse with the porcelain body. Enameled porcelain pieces are referred to as «le blanc». A quality control is performed on each item before it is sent to the decoration workshop.
THE CREATION OF DECOR
The Maison Haviland owns a Chromolithography printing atelier to master the excellence of the pattern. To adapt to the different forms with harmony, and to reveal the colours with alchemy of the kiln, require rigour and exigency. The know-how, the experience and the skills of the artisans of the Haviland Manufacturer, are essential to master all these constraints and to guarantee an optimal quality of realisation.
THE SCREEN PRINTING
is a printing technique that uses silk screens interposed between the ink and the support to print colours composed of mineral pigment or plants. The Haviland laboratory conducts research to find the most innovative solutions to create bespoke projects. From the traditional “bleu de four” that has made the reputation of the Limoges Porcelain, to the organic colours with the reactive enamel effects, the Maison Haviland works on the colours as a true artisan.
Une première opération consiste à protéger par un vernis les parties qui ne seront pas incrustées. La pièce est plongée dans un bain d’acide qui attaque l’émail et laisse en relief les parties qui seront polies. La pièce est ensuite nettoyée.
The porcelain jewels require artistic talent, delicacy and long hours of hard work. No less than eleven painstaking steps are required to create these marvels. A protecting coating is applied to all areas of the porcelain that will not be encrusted. The piece is plunged into an acid bath that etches the enamel and leaves in relief, the areas to be polished. The piece is then cleaned. A first coat of brilliant gold is applied with a brush. The piece is then fired at a temperature of 810°C. A second coat of matt gold is then applied and the piece is fired again at 850°C. The gold is gently rubbed with very fine sand, to accentuate the difference between the matt area (engraved portion) and the brilliant area (the non-engraved portion of the decor).
Among the exceptional inlay collections, the Maison Haviland presents prestigious museum reproductions: Feuille d’Or (1912), Grand Apparat (1883), and patterns inspired by unique oriental fabrics and ornaments of the 12th & 13th centuries: Bassora.