The colorful and eye-catching ceramic buttons of Golem Design Studio come from the creative minds and skillful hands of Vladislav and Kremena Ivanov of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. Together they call themselves Golem Design Studio after the mythical man of clay who rebelled against his maker. Vlad and Kremena are known for their high-quality beads, cabochons and pendants, incorporating a variety of ancient and contemporary art forms. Even though they have worked since 1992 to develop their techniques and glazes I hadn’t been able to persuade them to make buttons until 10 years after our first meeting, when I saw Vlad in Tucson in February 2018. The buttons he has now created for me are outstanding examples of his imagination and skill. I am delighted to be able to offer them to you! Vlad and Kremena use several different techniques to create these appealing buttons. Their main technique is carving. Each button is shaped by hand and dries to a leather hard surface. Then a sharp tool is used to engrave or sometimes stamp the design lines. After drying, the buttons are bisque fired at a temperature of 900°. Then the opaque glazes are applied by hand with paint brushes and the buttons are fired a final time at 1100 to 1200° depending on the clay. The carved lines keep the glazes separate as they melt. Vlad uses three different types of stoneware clay. A white clay shows off the brightly colored glazes. A red clay is high fired and much harder than terra-cotta. Black German clay is the third type. Vlad uses nontoxic commercial glazes that he blends according to recipes he developed.
We know you will enjoy them for years to come!
Oh, yes, it was Vlad’s favor buttons that were the hit of the 2019 NBS convention in Portland!