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Florence Ceramics : Introduction

Florence Ceramics

Florence Ceramics started out with the ingenuity of a single woman, Florence Ward, and it has today become one of the trademark styles of ceramic ware that is seen across the world. The Florence ceramics are today very prominently placed in all ceramic shops and are indeed their prime attractions. However, how that came to pass and how Florence ceramics has become so unbeatable today makes for an interesting story.

The Evolution of Florence Ceramics

Florence Ward lived in Pasadena, California with her husband Clifford, and two children. When her younger son died, she was heartbroken. But she combated her loss by joining a hobby class at the Franklin School for pottery and ceramics. She already had immense talent in sketching and drawing; now she wanted to put it in three-dimensional form. Once she had gone to fire her clay models in a studio. Impressed with her models, the manager of the studio hired her as an assistant. Thus began Florence's fascination with ceramic art and she became much educated in the various tricks and trades of the craft. Then Florence became lonely as her son got a Marine posting, and Clifford went for government service to Utah. This is when Florence spent all her time on her craft, and gave birth to Florence Ceramics in 1942.

Since then, Florence's rich legacy has been kept alive. Her trademark style has been retained from the forties until today, duplicated by countless artisans, who do not dare to fiddle with the waiflike beauty she so very easily creates in her art.

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Image courtesy of The GPSA Gazette

Unique Aspects of Florence Ceramics

Even someone without a deep knowledge of ceramic art will be able to easily identify a Florence ceramics from a lot, if shown just a few samples beforehand. The designing of Florence ceramics is quite unique and even a bit peculiar, and that is why it has existed until today. Today Florence Ceramics makes a range of products – most of them decorative – such as bowls, cosmetic boxes, candy dishes, candlesticks, decorative curios, paperweights, bird and animal figurines, etc.

The human figurines of Florence Ceramics are well known for two things – the beauty in their perfectly proportionate figures and their very expressive look. No wonder then that ceramic producers manufacture a wide range of crib figurines around Christmas each year. Apart from that, Florence ceramics are very well-noted for their figurines of real people, such as Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, Louis XV and Madame Pompadour, among several others. Then there is also a large number of fairy tale figurines which have become immensely famous.

There is also heavy accessorizing on the figurines, which is again a trademark of Florence ceramics. The artist always creates the impression of long flowing dresses, which blend perfectly well with the biological shape of the figure. Lace and other accessories are used profusely. These ceramic figurines are also known for their small accessories and jewelries such as dainty little shoes on the feet, and sometimes ornaments like bracelets and necklaces.

Most Florence Ceramics art is made from high grade kaolin and is carefully fired and dried, and then painted manually. A lot of time is spent on each figurine, and there is a conscious effort to convert each into a piece of art.

Florence ceramics are among the most widely recognized ceramic forms in the world today. Seeing one figurine is enough to identify the others. If you are looking to buy a Florence figurine, you would do well to check the base for its genuineness. All Florence figurines will have some mark on their bottom. Generally, this mark could read Florence of Pasadena, but it can also read Florence Figurines of Florence Ceramics.

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