As part of cultural enrichment of our program, our lovely program director took us to Herend, near the city of Veszprém, less than 20 km away from Lake Balaton. Herend is known for its quality porcelain manufacturing and we allocated a rainy afternoon to observe the handworkings of beautiful Herend porcelain wares.
We went to the Herend Porcelanium (cool word), which is the porcelain manufacture factories and museum. We had a short guided tour of how the dedicated artists create the ceramic wares with intricate details and how they painted them with beautiful colors.
The particular clay they used was a very pure Kaolinite (an aluminosilicate clay!), which is imported from the Czech Republic since its not found in Hungary. Herend manufactures particular pieces such as plates and cups, but also a few well known "artsy" wares such as horses or bears or roses.
Much of the classic pieces are created from molds that usually take 20 minutes to dry and pop out. Intricate details and actual modeling may take from 4 hours up to 8 hours for one piece.
Their specialization in porcelain and their pride in tradition keeps their products consistent and of very high quality. They were known for being the go-to porcelain for the Hapsburg as well as the aristocracy throughout Europe. More recently, Hungary's wedding gift to Prince William and Kate Middleton were special hand-painted pieces of Herend Porcelain.