Lithophanes are made of fine sheets of translucent white porcelain with a decorative motif etched in negative, usually views of famous cities, landscapes, historical events, indoor family scenes or children subject matters. When lit from behind, these sheets show the scene in positive, creating a three-dimensional effect.
Lithophanes were produced from about 1830 to about 1900, mostly in Germany, by the Royal Factory at Berlin and by Meissen. In England the main producers appear to have been Minton and Copeland and in Hungary the world famous Herend factory produced various lithpohanes.
Most lithophanes were plaques, ranging from miniatures to larger sizes that were framed and hung with the light (either natural or artificial) behind them; some examples were set in the bottom of beer tankards, where they could be seen when the vessel was emptied.
Ilona is one of the few artists making 3D lithophane objects.
Ilona Romule is a studio artist from Riga, Latvia and has received international recognition with her slip cast porcelain figures examining the figure as a hollow vessel which through exquisite painting that is simultaneously two- & three-dimensional. Her human or animal figures are at the same time meticulously drawn on the sides of her pots meanwhile partially emerging from those pots as three-dimensional forms.
Ilona is known for her use of ironic and erotic imagery both in the form of her fine porcelain pieces and also in the surface decoration with the china paints. In ceramics Ilona is interested in the opportunity of three dimensional expression, using the scope of graphics and painting.
Traditionally she works with porcelain. Ilona supplements her sculptural works with fine painting in overglaze technique, thus developing plastically expressive compositions, participated by human, animal and peculiar hybrid figures. In the motives chosen by the artist, figures settle in form and material in the game of symbols and character situations.
Ilona’s unique and high quality artwork has allowed her opportunities to work inside world-known porcelain industries such as the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory in St. Petersburg, Russia. 18 years ago in the International Ceramics Studio, Kecskemét she first used the high quality porcelain available here and now most of her works are created here.
Ilona Romule is member of the Latvian Artists Union and the International Academy of Ceramics (IAC). Her recent achievements in international competitions include the 6th International Contemporary Porcelain Triennial in Nyon, Switzerland, the 2nd World Ceramic Biennale in South Korea and the 1st , 2nd and 3rd International Triennial of Silicate Arts in Kecskemet, Hungary. On a regular basis Ilona holds lectures in USA - at the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana, the Southwest Craft Center in San Antoni, the Clay Studio in Philadelphia, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas State University, Ohio University, University of Illinois, The University of Michigan, etc. Ilona has lectured also in various other universities, art centres, studios all across the world - Culture and Art Centre in Finland, Australian National University in Australia, Ege University in Turkey, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Israel, etc.