Forty years after the purchase of my beautiful Burrita, I find myself among a group of Lladró admirers in the Hardy Brothers gallery in the heart of Melbourne. We are welcomed with a glass of wine to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Lladró brothers who made their dream a reality – creating a huge world-class porcelain collection now sold all around the world.
Adela Oller sat quietly at a desk in the center of the room showing us how she made the delicate flowers and decorated a basket with the soft porcelain paste. My father introduced us in fluent Spanish and Adela was quietly delighted to have someone who could translate the conversation to the small crowd clustering around us. We watched entranced by her professional artistry and her elegant Spanish manners.
We had a little laugh about my love affair as an eleven year old with my Lladró donkey and then Adela warmly said “Sí, tócalo” (Yes, touch it) as she gently placed a small lump of soft porcelain in my hand to feel its texture.
I beamed at my husband standing nearby and felt so very honored to be touching the porcelain in its raw state while Adela and I conversed in Spanish, as she carefully cut out the flowers and placed them on the statuette in front of her that would return to Spain with her after this tour and be put in the kiln for its final firing.
Hearing her speak and watching her work, I felt as if I was in the shop in Madrid again. The Lladró figurines on the sparkling shelves seemed to whisper, “Look, are we not beautiful?” My husband and I toured the cozy space, another glass of wine in our hands, giggling with delight to be sharing such a special event together. We circled the shelves commenting on each Lladró piece and then, spontaneously, he touched my arm and said,
“Would you like me to buy one for our anniversary?”
My eyes widened, bright with anticipation and as if I were plucking daisy petals just like Señorita Burrita. I replied, “Yes…no…yes…no…YES PLEASE! But you choose.”
His gift, ‘Bella Gloria’ now radiates memories of Spain from the mantle piece of our home in Australia. Each time my hands gently glide over her elegant design, she rekindles the fondest of family memories and speaks straight to my heart through the unique language of Lladró
Maribel Steel is a writer and lives in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is: http://www.maribelsteel.com