Monday, 7 May 2012

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

As a kid, I was always warned by my mother to stay away from the wall of white plates… You know… the round stuff hanging in your grandmother’s house that has blue pictures on it. I have heard something that was called White Gold…. but soon found out that the real name was: Porcelain. I was told that is very expensive…. Well… after another weekend of sightseeing… I believe that it was an understatement!

We were a group of friends who decided to visit Meissen, a city which is well known over the world for their prestigious porcelain ornaments. We left Dresden on 29th April at around 9am after having a nice muesli breakfast at home. The infrastructure here in Europe still amazes me… we bought our train ticket using a vending machine… a mere €5.6… The train trip lasted about 40min before we arrived in Meissen.
There was only one thing on our minds when we left the train station… Meissen Manufaktur – the Porcelain Factory.  The factory is quite unique on the inside. After you pass the reception, you enter an area displaying amazing jewellery. But don’t worry, the price only varies between 3000€ and 60000€ per necklace… something quite nice for the woman…
After the intimidating rocks dangling on small silver chains, one enters the porcelain section. Now this was an experience… You can pick up any piece of porcelain to examine it; the body whiter than white, flow of lines telling the history of the creator’s mind and the rays of light reflecting from the golden edges while wondering in the back of your mind how it could be made by a man’s own hands… It is quite an experience! I wanted to buy something for myself a souvenir… but be warned… even a nice shooter glass will own approx. €40 of shares of your wallet.
After admiring all the cutlery and kitchen stuff… we proceeded to the presentation area… this is where they tell you the history of the factory and also showing you how the porcelain artefacts are made. From learning things about Feldspar and Kaolin, to showing how mud is transformed into something beautiful, it is a tour which will entertain anyone, from the biker gang to the ballerina club! Below are some pictures of the visit:
First step of pottery: The moulding process.

Second step: Assembly of parts.

After assembling, the object is placed in the oven for curing… an object loses approx. 30% of its initial volume during this process.

Next step: Adding colour using either under-glaze or over-glaze technique.

After baking in oven, the final product…

After we were hypnotised by the elegance of the white gold, we headed to the town centre. We visited the Cathedral of Meissen. The trip from the town centre to the cathedral is an experience. You walk through narrow passages, surrounded by old ruins, passing little vineyards, all the way to the top of the hill… Once you’ve reached the top you are surrounded by the beauty of this city. There is a nice viewpoint over the whole city which could be accessed on the south side of the cathedral. The cathedral was constructed in the 13th century. It was first a Lutheran church but is used as a Catholic church today. Below are some photos of the cathedral and also the lookout point:

After we visited the cathedral, it was time to fulfil the dream of a hungry student’s stomach… food and something to drink… We stopped to eat something in the town centre, drank really good beer and headed back to Dresden afterwards.

This trip was short, but worth it. To take mud and turn it into something priceless…. Beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder!!

Bis sp├Ąter