Since 1894 Ino Schaller has made figures in papier-maché, a craft that they pass on from one generation to the next.
The glittery double mushroom is handmade in the original antique mold and hand-signed at the bottom. It's about 4.5" high and has a diameter of 4". It takes about seven days to make one.
PAPIER MACHE CRAFT
The production of papier-mâché figures as filling figures for sweets began as early as the 19th century and had its cradle in the Neustadt/Sonneberg area. The method of manufacture from that time can still be seen in the toy museum in Neustadt: In the beginning, a mixture of flour and glue was used. Later, in the 1920s, this process was refined, and since then, Ino's papier-mâché figures have been cast according to the old family recipe. A production method that, by the way, is only mastered by a few artisans today.
The production process of a figure takes about seven days. A liquid mass of paper, paste, and other additives are prepared. This is then poured into a handcrafted two-piece mold the following day. Excess water initially escapes into the porous mold. The next day, the slightly dried cast is carefully removed from the mold and slowly dried further in a temperature-controlled room. On the fourth day, the figures are prepared for further processing. In the remaining days, the figures can be artistically hand-painted and decorated with creative details such as landscapes and decorations. Glimmer, glass beads, and fur provide appealing special effects. This makes each figure unique.
A family tradition since 1894
When the company founder Carl Schaller laid the foundation for his family business with the production of filling figures made of papier-mâché in 1894, he could not have guessed that even 120 years later, his company would still be around and that the famous papier-mâché figures from Meilschnitz would be distributed and sold all over the world.
The trained embosser from Neustadt modeled and produced the templates for his figures himself. Then they were decorated and painted by the whole family – including the children. Carl's son Ino, a trained baker, took over the family business in the 1940s. He gave the Ino Schaller manufactory its name.
In the 1950s, the papier-mâché figures were pushed out. Both Ino and his son Dieter Schaller rely on the new plastic figures. The old papier-mâché technique was almost forgotten. But the beautiful old forms stayed with the family and with them the knowledge of the material and production. In the 1980s, Thomas Schaller rediscovered the good old figures. He was so fascinated by them that he started making papier-mâché figures again with the help of his father, Dieter Schaller. This line of business is experiencing its renaissance today. The figures are more in demand than ever among collectors and enthusiasts and are not only very popular in America.
Even today, the family business is structured in such a way that everyone is involved in the production. The Ino Schaller manufactory remained in family hands throughout. Dieter and Ursula Schaller ran the business in the 3rd generation and are still engaged in the business. The children, Thomas Schaller & Christina Franke-Schaller, now continue the business as representatives of the 4th generation.