Archives for June 2008

Modern Day Art Pottery Masters

Think the American Arts and Crafts movement is history?  Think again.  It may be the 21st century, but there are still artists who create beautiful art pottery pieces in the style of the early 1900s.  The simple elegance of Arts and Crafts style has inspired a new generation of potters a hundred years later.  Many contemporary potters are using the clean lines, nature themes, and custom glazes that are reminiscent of a bygone era. 

The old art pottery masters left very few records about their methods, and many of their techniques died with them.  It is up to the modern day artists to experiment with forms, details, and glazes to create their own style.  Most of the contemporary artists use the antique masterpieces as inspiration, not as objects to be copied.  The result is a fresh supply of modern masterpieces that have their own, unique qualities, but still remind us of the art pottery from another time.

If you’re a collector or art pottery enthusiast looking to establish a stronger Arts and Crafts feel in your home decor, adding some of the new pieces in with the old is a great way to do that.  Investing in contemporary art pottery is also an investment in future collectible art.  Discontinued Door and Ephraim pieces, for example, often sell for multiple times their retail prices when they return to the secondary market via auction or pottery shows.

Of course, the modern day art pottery masters are not limited to the Arts and Crafts style.  In the coming weeks, we’ll introduce you to a several potters that produce high quality art pottery in a variety of styles.  Keep checking back to find out about more contemporary art potters like these:

Door Pottery

Scott Draves opened Door Pottery in 2001. Three years later, he moved his studio into the old LakesidePict1918a_3  Pottery facility in Madison, Wisconsin.  He wanted to get back to the roots of the Arts and Crafts movement, which put more emphasis on creativity and handmade quality than on production.  He has become well-known for his unique forms and stunning, handmade glazes.  Scott currently employs a small staff of artists who hand make each Door Pottery piece and teach the Arts and Crafts style to students.  Door pieces are made to order and ship within four to six weeks of ordering.  Just Art Pottery always maintains a variety of Door Pottery in stock including many hard to find and one of a kind experimentals, trials, and limited production pieces. 

Chris Powell Pottery

Chris Powell’s interest in Arts and Crafts style pottery began in college when he Dsc09449 saw an exhibit of Teco pottery.  He was inspired by the variety of glazes and the elegant simplicity of the forms.  Chris worked as a production potter until 1994, when he opened his own studio in Westerville, Ohio.   He does the throwing, decorating, glazing, and firing of each piece C. Powell Pottery.  He also creates all of his own forms and glazes.  Chris’s work has elements of Art Nouveau and Art Deco in addition to Arts and Crafts. 

Ephraim Pottery Collectors Society – First Annual Convention

The Ephraim Pottery Collectors Society is hosting the First Annual Ephraim Pottery Convention on June 20-Pict2528a 21, 2008 at the Sheraton Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin.  The convention is open to the Ephraim Pottery Collectors Society Membership only. The Society is dedicated to the collection and preservation of Ephraim Faience Pottery.  Specific Society goals include researching the history of the pottery, facilitating the sharing of information about the pottery, establishing a network of collectors, and encouraging the buying and selling of Ephraim Pottery. 

The convention will feature seminars by Kevin Hicks, owner and founder of Ephraim, as well as other notable Ephraim employees and collectors.  The convention will also offer the opportunity to purchase Ephraim Pottery.  There is a full schedule of events for the convention at the Society’s website. 

Greg Myroth – Just Art Pottery

Ohio Art Pottery

You can’t study art pottery very long without noticing that many of the great American potteries were in Ohio.  Roseville, McCoy, Hull, and Weller are some of the better known names that came from this region.  Between about 1840 and 1967, Ohio was home to hundreds of potteries, and most of them were located in one of two areas in east Ohio.

East Liverpool, which is located in along the banks of the Ohio River, was known as the "Pottery Capital of the World" and "America’s Crockery Capital."  The ceramics history of this area began in 1840 when an Englishman named James Bennett discovered that the clay along the Ohio’s riverbanks was ideal for making yellow ware.  Homer Laughlin introduced white ware to the local companies in 1872, and it soon became as popular as the yellow ware.  Companies like Hall China, Homer Laughlin, American Limoges, and Standard Pottery produced over 50 percent of American ceramics between 1840 and 1930. 

The area around the towns of Roseville, Zanesville, and Crooksville was the other Ohio pottery hotspot.  This southeastern Ohio region is rich in clay, and its pottery history goes all the way back to the Native Americans.  When European settlers came to the area, they set up "bluebird" potteries in their backyards and sheds.  Naturally, there were entrepreneurs who saw the pottery’s profit potential, and an industry was born.  McCoy, Weller, and Roseville were some of the first potteries to establish successful businesses in the area that would eventually be known as the "Pottery Belt" and "Clay Corridor." 

The World’s Columbian Exposition, which was held in Chicago in 1893, introduced the Arts and Crafts movement to American potters and greatly influenced Ohio’s pottery industry.  Potteries began creating art pottery in addition to the utilitarian jugs and crocks they had been producing.  After the turn of the century, the art pottery business was booming, and Ohio was a leading producer.  Here are some of the better known pottery companies from the Roseville, Zanesville, and Crooksville Ohio areas.

Most of these companies closed at some point after WWII, when foreign competition entered the American market.  But Ohio remains true to its pottery roots and has many functioning potteries today.

Just Art Pottery

Art Pottery Museums to Visit this Summer

Summer is here, and that means many of us will be taking vacations.  If you’re an art pottery collector, you might be interested in visiting a pottery exhibit during your trip.  Lucky for you, there are museums across the country with stunning art pottery on display.  There might just be one near your next vacation destination.

1. The National Ceramic Museum & Heritage CenterRoseville, Ohio

Located in the heart of "Pottery Country," this museum has a vast collection of Ohio pottery.  It’s the best place to see Weller, Roseville, Brush, Brush-McCoy, Hull, McCoy, Zanesville, and much more all in one building.

2. The Charles Hosmer Morse MuseumWinter Park, Florida

This museum’s main attraction is the extensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, but their 11,000 square foot building is home to plenty of art pottery, too.  Visitors will find over 800 examples of American Art Pottery, including approximately 500 Rookwood pieces.  Arts and Crafts enthusiasts will also enjoy a furniture gallery that features Galle, Louis Majorelle, and Stickley.

3. Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of ArtBiloxi, Mississippi

Visit this museum and see over 250 works of art created by the "Mad Potter of Biloxi," George Ohr, as well as original documents, photographs, and other resource materials about Ohr and his family.  If you’ll be closer to Texas than Mississippi this summer, you might catch the George Ohr Rising Traveling Exhibition at the San Angelo Museum of Art.

4. Cowan Pottery MuseumRocky River, Ohio

Currently housed in the Rocky River Public Library, this museum has a collection of over 1,100 Cowan Pottery pieces.  There is only space to show 15-20% at one time, but the most important pieces are always on display.

5. Everson Museum of ArtSyracuse, New York

Everson boasts a collection of over 2,000 pieces of American Art Pottery.  Not only do they hold the largest collection of works by Syracuse native Adelaide Alsop Robineau, but they also have impressive displays of Rookwood, Fulper, Grueby, Tiffany, George Ohr, Newcomb and Marblehead.

6. Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of ArtLos Angeles, California

Among the diverse exhibits of this museum, you’ll discover several collections of art pottery and other items from the Arts and Crafts movement.

7. Pewabic Pottery Museum and Education CenterDetroit, Michigan

If you’re looking for a piece of living history, Pewabic is the perfect vacation activity for you.  This Arts and Crafts era pottery is now a non-profit museum and education center that was recently recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a "Historic Artists’ Homes & Studios" site.

Please let us other great art pottery exhibits and museums that should be added to this list.

Just Art Pottery