Wednesday, June 09, 2010


A word keramikos comes from Greek and it means clay or fired clay.
κεραμικος (keramikos)
κεραμος (keramos) = soil, clay

The ceramics is both a field of art and a science devoted to manufacturing items from inorganic, non-metallic materials by the action of heat on them (sintering or roasting). These materials may have crystal structure or may be made of glass. Products are formed usually from the liquid mass which hardens under the influence of cooling or already formed products 'ripen' by the action of the high temperature.

After forming a desired shapes and dried the mass, items are being fired once or repeatedly. Various types of furnaces are used to do that. Depending on the type of technology these are: tunnel, ventricular, graphite, etc.

The temperature of burning is from 900 to 2000°C. During the termal tratment water is removed and desired density of material is obtained. Finally, the ceramic surface can be covered with enamel.

Ceramics can be defined as any inorganic, crystalline oxides. They are solid and inert. Ceramic materials are brittle, hard, resistant to compression and easy processing.

Traditional raw materials used in the manufacture of ceramics are types of clay such as kaolinite, newer materials contain inter alia aluminium oxide (alumina). Modern substances for the manufacture of ceramic products are classified as 'advanced' and these contain inter alia silicon carbide or tungsten carbide. Both these compounds are valuable because of the abrasion. Because of it they are usually used to the manufacture of spray equipment used in mining for grinding. Such a 'advanced ceramics' is applicable also in medicine and electrical and electronic industries. Because of their properties, ceramics are often used in locations exposed to weather or corrosive substances.

Artistic ceramics took roots in Europe in the XV century. Mass production has been started in the XIX century when technological processes were improved. In the XX century the most prominent artists have used the possibility of artistic ceramics. One of them was Pablo Picasso.

The basic methods of making ceramics are: pasting, casting, turning on the wheel, turning and compacting semi-arid masses.

Products can be decorated by: enamel or glaze cover, manual or mechanical painting, printing, gilding, embossing, affixing ornaments, use the stylus.

Depending on used materials we identify such products: pottery, earthenware goods, stoneware, porcelain.

Below you can see photos of ceramics thimbles from my collection (ceramics thimble Bolesławiec spots, Bolesławiec - Poland, ceramics thimble Bolesławiec yellow and forget-me-nots, Bolesławiec - Poland, ceramics thimble Bolesławiec in peas, Bolesławiec - Poland).

You can find ceramics raw materials at Art Ceramika.

Writing this article I used information and pictures found at: ceramics' studio Berkanan, ceramika site, Tajga photos, Mocoloco, Putnam Arts Council, Polish Wikipedia and English Wikipedia.

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Pictures of thimbles used in this article are my property.
I kindly ask for not using my articles and photos without permission.
If you have any questions, just write me.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

German variety

People often think that Germans are strict and 'stiff'. According to this way of thinking we should not expect  to much artistic imaginativeness of them. Thimbles made by German creators put straight and show designers as one of the most creative and original in the whole world.

I will start with one of the leading examples - the thimble made by Kaiser Porzellan manufacture. I have five specimens from this factory in my collection. The most beautiful I received as a presents from my grandfather. Below you can see the most popular Kaiser's pattern - crimson-coloured country scene (porcelain thimble: Country scene, Kaiser Porzellan - Germany). All thimbles made by this manufacture are characterized by elaborate patterns and perfectly white porcelain. The top is always crowned by a convex flower.

Another example is a flower-decorated thimble with a single, pastel pink edging, made by Reutter (porcelain thimble Violets and roses, Reutter - Germany). The shape you can see in the photo is a Reutter's flagship. The majority of thimbles from this factory has a simillar shape.

German thimbles are characterized by a variety of decorations and forms. Below you can see a few examples from my collection. The first two are decorated with a subtle, gold-coloured flower motives. Both have both interesting shape and colour. The majority of thimbles is white thanks to its clear porcelain and these fascinate me the most. But in my collection I have also colourful beauties (porcelain thimble Green daisies, Eminence Ludwig - Germany, porcelain thimble Blue daisies, Lindner Porzellan - Germany).

Our werstern neighbours' art work cannot be missing animal motives. And it does not. Below you can see a beautiful forest scene on a quite high thimble with an interesting shape (porcelain thimble Deer, Sophienthal - Germany) and untypical for this part of the glob. It is simmilar to a Japanese art, because of its decoration, work and - first of all - with regard for a typical for this region dragon. It is one of the thimbles with the most interesting shape in my collection (porcelain thimble Dragon, Sherzer - Germany).


Next specimens which I would like to show you are those with beautiful floral motives. The first one is a well known item of German manufacture Hutschenreuther (porcelain thimble Blue pattern, Hutschenreuther - Germany). The thimble is made in a traditional techinique of the 'onion pattern', so a simple, but very striking blue ornament is placed on a white porcelain.

A next thimble with a beautiful floral decoration is a big, porcelain item with a charming bouquet in its central part (porcelain thimble Bouquet, Royal Franconia - Germany). The additional trump is the amazing, glossy gold top.

And last but not least floral beauty is small product of Classic Rose manufacture (porcelain thimble Roses, Classic Rose - Germany). Small dimentions are gracing this item.

Finally, I will show two German thimbles which - in my opinion - are the most interesting. On the first one you can see grey kittens (porcelain thimble Cats, Martinroda - Germany). The thimble is pastel pink coloured. The combination of all its features, so the colouring, decoration, small dimentions makes this thimble one of the most lovely specimens on my shelves.

And the last, very original position is big, hued thimble showing grazing sheeps with their guardian (porcelain thimble Shepherd, Gerold Porzellan - Germany). Decorations are being created in a very interesting way. Sheeps' contours are not filled with a paint and the green and blue background shows through them. Very interesting technique and the original pattern.

I think I have successfully broken stereotypes of German nature - at least in a thimble subject. Beyond all doubt works of German creators are one of the most beautiful and original in my collection. Designers excellently join subtle, delicate pattern-designing and perfect - as it befits for Germans - work.

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Pictures used in this article are my property.
I kindly ask for not using my articles and photos without permission.
If you have any questions, just write me.
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