Art

Paquita Sanjuan on how she creates petal by petal

Complex and beautiful: The artist at work

Complex and beautiful: The artist at work  

Paquita Sanjuan, senior artist at Lladró, tells us why sculpting flowers out of porcelain is particularly demanding

Crafting with ceramics demands high levels of skills. Every year before the festive season takes off, Lladró, a Spanish company which specialises in porcelain figurines, gives us a peek into this world with a demonstration. During a session in porcelain flower making, their most senior artist, Paquita Sanjuan, shared the intricate techniques that go into creating each exquisite flower.

Paquita’s association with Lladro started at the age of 14, she has spent 40 years creating flowers there. Paquita’s favourites are large, delicate, almost translucent petals and intricate garlands for pieces inspired by the iconography of India. She has already shown her art in Japan, Korea, Philippines, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Los Angeles and New York. Edited excerpts from an interview:

One of her creations

One of her creations  

Can you give us a brief glimpse into the history of porcelain flower making? How did the tradition start?

The tradition started with the Lladro brothers, Don Juan was one of the brothers who was artistically inclined. It started with basic colours.

It was all white initially, and was followed by pastel shades. Then the palette evolved, now they even use brighter colours depending on the theme.

How did you get into it?

My father had a company which was an intermediary to Lladro, they delivered materials to Lladro. He visited the factory and told me that I would love it because I love art. I took part in an exam at 14, which was followed by a three-year training programme. I was then put into the flower department where I am an instructor now.

How popular are the flowers?

Flowers form a very important part of Lladro’s creations. They have always been in demand and they bring about uniqueness in the pieces.

Unlike other components and sculptures, this is done petal by petal and moulds aren’t used to create the piece. It's a highly-skilled task.

What are the challenges involved? How malleable is the material, for sculpting something as free flowing as a flower?

The primary concern for artists like me is managing to do it each time.

The pieces are evolving constantly. The whole act of making new designs and unthinkable things is the most thrilling part of the process for me. The material that they use, although malleable, is not easy to work with.

One would need at least three years of training to know how to work with the smaller pieces. The bigger pieces require six or more years of training.

Are there any flowers whose shapes easily lend themselves to it?

The snowflake flower is relatively easier to make, the rose is more complicated to make. That is the challenge.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 8:18:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/paquita-sanjuan-on-how-she-creates-petal-by-petal/article25095548.ece

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