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“Liz, will you please take me to the Galleria? I want to pick out a Lladro figurine for my new great grand-baby,” said Mother, her white wavy hair feathering her youthful face as she hunched over the kitchen phone. Many times, we had made this trip to Bailey, Banks, and Biddle, and always the selection had taken a while.

I look back on these occasions, and so many more, when Mother had introduced me to beauty, given multiple expressions in the arts, here and abroad. Unfortunately, chronic knee pain washed much of it over me. Yet, a residual remained, enough to see the Sacred’s co-creating within the artists.

The impoverished Lladro brothers, Jose, Benjamin, and Juan, evidence this revelation. So right was their hunch about using their hands for something other than their parents’ farm in Almassera, Spain. Instead, they experimented with bowls of wet porcelain in their courtyard, then fired rudely-shaped molds into the kiln they had built. Excitement mounted as life-like figurines emerged. That was in 1953.

More training at the School of Arts and Crafts in San Carlos, Valencia, honed the basics of their craft and drew around them sculptors, ornamental artists, technicians, painters, and flower artists. Then, as well as today, many hands hand-crafted each piece, unique in design and color, with no urgency for mass production. Time was unimportant. 

While waiting for Mother’s selection, I used to invite each Lladro piece to speak its unique beauty. I was not disappointed.

From this vantage point, I honor Mother’s knack of opening my psyche to beauty wherein I still discover the Sacred.

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