E. M. B. Inc
Edward Marshall Boehm, a farmer, veterinarian, and nature lover living near New York City was convinced by his wife and friends to translate some of his clay animal sculptures into pieces for possible sale to the gift and art markets. So E. M. B. Inc was founded. Boehm recognized that porcelain was the best medium for portraying his creations because of its translucent beauty, permanence, and fidelity of colour as well as form. But the finest of the porcelains, hard paste porcelain, was largely a secret art about which little technical literature existed. Boehm studied this art relentlessly, absorbing whatever knowledge art books, museums, and the few U.S. ceramic factories offered. Then after months of experimentation in a dingy Trenton (N.J.) basement, Boehm and some chemist friends developed a porcelain clay equal to the finest in the world. Next Boehm had to master the complex art of porcelain manufacture. Each piece of porcelain sculpture is a technical as well as artistic challenge. A 52-step process is required to convert a plasticine sculpture into a completed porcelain piece. For example, one major creation took 509 mould sections to make 151 parts, and consumed 8 tons of plaster in the moulds. Sculptural detail included 60,000 individually carved feather barbs. Each creation had to be kiln-fired to 2400 degrees where heat could change a graceful detail into a twisted mass. Then it had to be painted, often in successive layers, and perhaps fired repeatedly to anneal delicate colours. When Boehm's creations first appeared no one understood the quality of the porcelain or even believed it was hard paste porcelain. But Boehm began to create in porcelain what he knew and loved best: nature, particularly the more delicate forms of animals, birds, and flowers. In his art Boehm tried 'to capture that special moment and setting which conveys the character, charm, and loveliness of a bird or animal in its natural habitat'. After...
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