Tradition is a knowledge of hands that cannot be written in books, but passes from hand to hand.
As a painter knows that the brush dipped in the right amount of color and held on the piece in the right way and in the right inclination gives a certain effect, so a violinist holds the bow by measuring exactly inclination, weight and strength with something that is inside, for get a certain sound, that and not another, which has a precise correspondence in the listener.
There are many ways to present a product and the work behind it, as many to explain its value. Among these, we think the best way is to tell our story in a way as simple as possible, and to talk about the work we do every day to achieve our goals, with all the expectations and difficulties and defeats, but also with the successes and satisfaction that our path entails.
The model, or sculpture, is the basis of our work. Its realisation starts from a block of clay, which is shaped to obtain the face, the expression or the object it is meant to represent.
The plaster casts
The sculpture is cut into several sections and a plaster cast is made from each one, pouring chalk mixed with the proper amount of water directly on the sections. As each sculpture is made up of several moulds, each mould is made up of several pieces.
Porcelain is a mixture of kaolin, feldspar and quartz, carefully selected and mixed in water to obtain a dense fluid called casting.
The casting is poured into the plaster cast, where it begins to lose water and to solidify; when the desired thickness is reached, the piece is emptied from the still liquid part and after a short time can be extracted.
Finishing and assembly
Once removed from the moulds, pieces must be trimmed and refreshed; the original sculpture is then reassembled and finally details are applied. This must be handmade and it constitutes the value of the artisan craftsmanship.
Sibania conserves the features of traditional porcelain manufacturers, but here one of our most distinguishing elements is introduced.
As we performed in-depth researches on the properties of the materials, we produced thin sheets of clay and then perfected a method of impressing patterns on them that are typical of fabrics textures.
As tulle is traditionally mixed with clay and then fired, and it seems to turn from fabric into porcelain, so we also made our pieces look like they were produced with actual fabric.
While they still are in a malleable state, the decorated sheets are cut to the desired shapes and applied to the sculptures, carefully modelling the drapery on the figures.
In turn the hair is made from thin wires of porcelain, which are combed on the nude head of each figure. These processing phases are extremely delicate, because every mistake causes defects during firing and great care is required to manage the sheets without damaging the decorations.
It was not easy, but today, just for the fun of it, we like to say that although ceramics are 20.000 years old and print is 500 years old, nobody had ever succeeded in producing a print directly on a ceramic statue before us.
Each piece is then dried and then exposed to further finishing, in order to remove potential defects. During firing at 1300°C the material approaches the point of fusion, thus it is necessary to prop up all the excessively projecting parts or standing figures with special supports.
After the so-called high fire, the bisquit is cleaned and sometimes polished to prepare it for decoration. Decoration according to the Capodimonte technique, as handed down from artisan shop to artisan shop, is performed with an amalgamation of colour, turpentine and lavender essence. The colour is blended with special brushes or uniformed with a small sponge.
Finally the colour is fixed during the third fire, which we do at 950 °C, since we use lead-free colours.
Once out of the oven of the "third fire", the pieces are checked meticulously one last time and any details are added such as the shoulder straps of the bags or the strings of the violins, applied cold on the finished piece.