Elfu fabrika introduces a collection of porcelain handmade by Latvian artist Helena Savicka. She began her labour activity more than 30 years ago at the Riga Porcelain Factory, former famous Kuznetsov factory. She worked in a workshop, then in an art laboratory, where she created her first models. After graduation from the Latvian Academy of Art, Helena Savicka set up a small studio, where she has been working to this day. All her works are made and painted by hand under original sketches. Noble milky shade, exceptional lightness and transparency are peculiarities of her porcelain. Particularly valuable works are made in the technique of biscuit carving. A product not yet covered with enamel but passed primary baking is called a biscuit. Owing to this method, a master manages to express the finest details of finishing and to make an item more realistic and voluminous. High quality of raw material adds a special value to Helena’s masterpieces. For example, kaolin (white clay) is bought at the oldest European concentrating mill in England.
The history of porcelain is over 14 centuries old. Its recipe was invented by Chinese people, strictly keeping technology in secret. Spies were under a danger of inevitable and awful death. Only in the XIV century, owing to Portuguese sailors, Europe got an opportunity to get acquainted with porcelain. Up to the XVII century, it remained a rarity and cost fabulous money. Porcelain items were often inserted into jewellery along with precious stones. Only in the XVI century, monks of the Order of Saint Benedict managed to steal description of the technology and samples of raw material. Feverish searches for own material began all over Europe. A fortune smiled upon Prussia. They found huge reserves of white clay, the main raw material for porcelain production, not far from the town of Meissen. In the beginning, young scientist Johann Friedrich Böttger headed a small factory. His products had become so popular that Augustus, Elector of Saxony, having no wish to share his acquisition, imprisoned the master. Only in the XVIII century, they began bulk production of porcelain, starting to build several factories for enrichment of raw materials and production of famous bone china in England. More and more new factories were opened all over Europe. Vienna, Berlin, Serves factories began to produce wonderful porcelain and gradually pushed Chinese and Japanese competitors out of the European market.
Porcelain is the most noble and perfect type of ceramics. Kaolin, the top grade white clay, is its main raw material. The name comes up from Chinese “kao lig” – porcelain “china” clay.
Types of porcelain are divided into hard and soft, depending on composition of porcelain mass and enamel. Intermediate type is represented by so-called bone china. Porcelain properties depend on proportion of kaolin in a mixture. The more kaolin therein, the more difficult it is to melt it. The porcelain itself will be harder. They grind dry mixture, mix it with water and pour ready plastic mass into moulds or process it on a potter’s wheel. Then they dry moulded products and bake, at first, at 600-800°С. After baking, they apply enamel and send for baking again. A dull and rough biscuit acquires smoothness and specific matte finish. At last, they paint an item and send to a furnace for baking at 1,300-1,500°С. Owing to such severe impact, a drawing penetrates into porcelain, becoming a complete unit with it.