One of the excursions out of Dresden was a morning visit to the town of Meissen. That told me nothing until it was announced that we were visiting a porcelain factory. Then a memory stirred in the back of my mind about Dresden and porcelain, and I had the sense to appreciate what I was in for.
The Meissen tour was quite educational, with the group being slused from one demonstration room to the next, being shown the forms the potter uses, how the forms can be taken apart to get at the clay shape inside, and how it shrinks by 17% so one has to work large. We were shown the stages and types of glazing, types of glazes, including the famous Dresden cobolt blue, and how repeated firings at different temperatures can alter colors. Most impressively, it is all hand-made. The intricate designs are painted on by a very steady-handed artist, and little hands with fingers and feet with toes are sculpted by another steady-handed artist.
After watching the employees demonstrate the process of making a porcelain item and their skills, accompanied by a pre-recorded guide in Swedish, walking through the museum part became all the more impressive. Keep in mind that everything shrinks by 17% when fired.
Outside the museum, a porcelain horse stands, decorated with all the Meissen porcelain logos used over the years to prevent copying.
This was the only place I bought anything: A small candle holder for about 60 Euro. Yes, it’s expensive stuff.