During the first week of classes, we already had activities prepared for us. (As we do for the entire trip.) As it happened, the first activity with the program happened on the same day as activities for both of my classes. But right now I'm going to focus on the guided tour of the Lladro factory, the middle event of the day.
Lladro is a world renowned porcelain manufacturing company. When I say world renowned, I mean, their porcelain can be found not only in the same shopping area as Swarovski, but in the same store. I haven't been in one, but I'd imagine that some of the jewelry costs less than the porcelain.
When we got to the factory, we were welcomed by a tour-guide, and taken to watch a short video about the process of making the porcelain. The video was a brief glance at everything that they make, and a bit about the family Lladro. After the video our group was taken to see more of the process, albeit, sped up, with most of the waiting cut out. The porcelain is made in a mold, and the guide spent a little while explaining the negative and positive aspects of the process. He also told us that one mold can have up to 30 pieces. Once the porcelain has dried for a specified time, the porcelain in the middle of the mold is poured out, leaving the hollow figure. This has to dry for much longer. We got to walk around and see how the pieces are put together. The people working in the Lladro factory are professionals, and have exquisite talent. Each piece is hand-painted, and then fired according to specific instructions. I won't go into the process much deeper here, but if you ever have a chance I definitely recommend taking a tour. Whether it's Lladro, or elsewhere similar.
After the tour, the group was taken into the show room. Pictures are not allowed, so I can't show you the amazing things that they create, but -> here's a link to the website <-, so you can look for yourself. Since everything they make is of such high quality, even the slightest defect makes a figure unfit to be sold. However, there is a small shop at the factory, with said imperfect pieces at discounted prices. They are still beautiful, and to the untrained eye, there is nothing wrong with any of them.
I wish I could leave you to one last picture. But, as I said taking pictures was prohibited. Definitely take the opportunity to look through the galleries on the website. The pieces are varied, and subject matters cover a wide variety of feelings, cultures, and time periods.
Just because no blog post is complete without pictures, and I want to share the cool things I find with you, here is one of a building that I found while I was wandering Valencia one afternoon.