The ceramics produced by Polia Pillin continue to gain increasing interest from mid century modern art pottery collectors. In the years since Polia’s death, her art pottery has appreciated significantly in value. Pillin’s work is often decorated with abstract figures of women, birds, trees, fish, horses, and related characters. Pillin’s undecorated examples often exhibit striking and complex glazes.
Polia Pillin perfected the technique of painting on wet clay with colored clays. After decorating each pot, the pottery was fired then covered with transparent glaze and re-fired. The end result was abstract art on a piece of pottery with a luminous, glass like finish that is unmistakably recognizable.
Polia Pillin was born in Poland in 1909. She came to America in 1924 and settled in Chicago. While in Chicago, Polia studied painting and sculpture. In the late 1920s, Polia married William Pillin.
Polia gained an interest in decorating ceramics in the 1930s and produced her first art pottery in the early 1940s. Pillin first work at Hull House but moved her studio to her Chicago apartment in 1946. In 1948, William and Polia moved to Los Angeles. Initially Polia worked out of a small studio set up at the Pillin’s home. As interest and demand for Pillin Pottery increased, the family moved to a larger location.
William Pillin worked closely with Polia in the production of art pottery. William assisted Polia by throwing and firing pottery and assisting with the development of glazes.
William was also a recognized poet; publishing nine collections of poetry in his lifetime. William passed away in 1985. Polia passed away 1992.
Pillin pottery is typically marked Pillin in stylized letters. Pieces thrown and glazed by William are marked W+P.