("Vision In Stone") is a porcelain engraving that virtually comes to life when
illuminated from behind. Invented in France in 1827, today's versions of Lithophanes
can be extremely detailed pieces of artwork. So much so that they are often mistaken
to create a Lithophane is very artistic in nature and quite interesting. In essence,
each section of the kiln-fired translucent porcelain is worked to a different thickness to
create the desired lighting effect. Less light passes through the thicker sections of
the porcelain and a darker effect is created. The opposite is true for thinner sections of
A design is
first carved into beeswax on an artist's light table. A master mold then working molds
are then produced from the wax impression. Porcelain is then poured or pressed into a
working mold for drying. The dried piece of porcelain is then hand finished and
high-fired in a kiln to 2300°F. The high temperatures in the kiln make the porcelain
vitreous and translucent.
colorized Lithophanes, ceramic glaze is then hand applied to the back side of the porcelain
panel and returned to the kiln for a second firing. This process permanently fuses the
coloring into the porcelain. The difference that results from adding color to many
images is quite remarkable as you can see here.
of creating a Lithophane is so difficult to master that over half of the pieces usually
don't make it through the process. But when they do ~ a beautiful Lithophane is born!