Archives for November 2010

Howard Pierce Pottery

Many of our clients don’t realize we have an entire section of other American art pottery.  On this page, we feature


many pottery makers, including Howard Pierce Pottery.  While many of us focus our time and attention (not to mention our money) on some of the more mainstream art pottery companies, there are some gems out there that might not always get the attention they deserve.

Howard Pierce founded his southern California studio in the 1940s after being artistically trained at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois.  Initially, he’d set up shop in Claremont; however, he eventually settled in Joshua Tree in 1968 – both in California, and in both locations, he enjoyed a robust business that served him well.  Most people equate Howard Pierce Pottery with the whimsical figurines such as cats and chickens that were his trademark for many years.  He appreciated the dimension a set of uneven heights allowed and as a result, he usually created pairs.  The subtle glazes and contrasting shades will draw you in to see the detailing up close and personal.  One example of just how intricate the detailing is can be found on the Howard Pierce “Two Chickadees”.  There are significant shading efforts, especially on the raised ceramic and they are perfectly placed as only a true artist can accomplish.

Murtle the Turtle - Joshua Tree, CA (Photo courtesy of Potteries of CA)

Most Howard Pierce pottery is marked with his name; however, those smaller pieces are almost never marked in any kind of way.  Unlike some of the other American art pottery companies, Pierce initially focused on distributing his wares to local florists, which he would have been content with maintaining.  During the mid-1950s, he had received so much positive feedback from the florists and their customers, he decided to take his business to the national level.  From there, his porcelain figurines were soon found on store shelves around the country.

After Pierce had relocated his business to Joshua Tree in 1968, he created several large statues for installation in parks and other public areas.  Many measured twelve feet or more in height and the vast majority remain in place today, where they are still enjoyed


by those who live within the communities they’re housed.

Howard Pierce continued to create his art pottery until his death in 1994.

“Almost a Miracle” – The Highly Anticipated Ohr-O’Keefe Museum Opens

First it was politics that kept a damper on the plans, then, after those issues had been worked out between the City Council and landowners, the plans finally got underway to build a spectacular new museum in Biloxi, MS that would showcase The Mad Potter, George Ohr and his world renowned American art pottery. It was to be a spectacular creation; and why shouldn’t it be? The international architect and Pritzker Prize winner, Frank Gehry, was behind the awe-inspiring design. Then Hurricane Katrina happened and suddenly, all of the hard work by so many was washed out into the salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In a split second, it seemed the museum would never happen. But not for the resilient Gulf Coast residents and the collective determination to make it so, it might not have.

Now, though, and several years later than anyone could have every anticipated, the museum opened to all the fanfare and festivities that define the grand southern tradition. Gehry, whose work includes the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain as well as other famous designs around the world, said during the ribbon cutting ceremony last weekend, “There is a special feeling of the people here that I’ve never quite experienced before”.

And with that, the world was finally able to see what even a devastating hurricane could not prevent from happening. The doors were opened and the result? A collective sigh that was unmistakable and a very proud moment for Biloxi, American art pottery, and certainly George Ohr Pottery, and of course, all of those who worked so hard to make it happen.

If you’re ever in the Biloxi, Mississippi area, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice if you don’t take a tour. It is the epitome of a “labor of love”. Courtesy of the state’s efforts to inspire tourism following Katrina, a series of videos and pressers were put together. Below, you can see a brief tour of the museum from last week. And if you do visit us down here in the south, be sure to let us know – we want to know what you think!  Also, don’t forget to become a fan of Just Art Pottery on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, too!

Roseville Pottery Ivory Collection: “Simplicity is the Keynote”

In 1932, Roseville Pottery introduced its Ivory Collection. It received praise from many in the art pottery in the industry. As was tradition in the 1930s, the company’s market was women. Some were concerned that while the matte finish on the Roseville Ivory collection was lovely in appearance, the familiar shapes and designs might not entice women to invest in any of these pieces. The price range in the initial line began at a mere fifty cents and went up to ten dollars. And, as one art pottery reviewer said in response to these concerns, “It is effect madam is after. And it’s effect she will get with this new line”. Indeed she did. The Roseville Ivory line was an instant success, so much so that the company would eventually offer 183 shapes.

Perhaps one reason this line of lovely American art pottery was so popular was because it was basically a “clean canvas”. Madam could easily add Christmas candies, thereby allowing it to become a Christmas decoration on her coffee table and she could also showcase it with her silver collection in her china hutch; the possibilities were endless.

Some of shapes include:
• Bowls in a variety of sizes
• Vases in a variety of heights and designs
• At least two designs of cornucopias
• Footed fern dishes, again, in varying sizes
• Ewers
• Candlesticks
• Wall Pockets
• Candelabras
• Even a reclining dog figurine

The Roseville Ivory collection remains a favorite for collectors and the first time you feel the smooth finish and areable to get a good look at the detail, you’ll certainly understand why.

Have your own Roseville Pottery Ivory collection? Send us your photos – we’d love to see them. Don’t forget to friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Rookwood Pottery – The Iris Collection



Rookwood Pottery created stunning collections between 1880 and 1967. During these years, there were many extraordinary releases. One of those releases was the favorite Iris line. Rookwood Iris, for many, is the most vivid and in fact, the most beautiful, of any Rookwood collections, and if you’re a fan of the Sea Green glaze line, odds are, you certainly are drawn to Rookwood Iris.

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What Merits a “Mint Condition” Classification for Just Art Pottery?

Apple Blossom

Often, we see or hear the words “mint condition” used in describing art pottery pieces. Most of us equate that term to “perfect”, and it is, but there’s more to it. Perhaps the biggest confusion is that this term is only used to describe the condition of any given piece, but not necessarily the grade of quality of the piece. For instance, a Roseville Pottery knock off might not be authentic, but it can certainly be in mint condition. Its value, of course, is nowhere near the true Roseville piece.

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Top Roseville Pottery Patterns for October 2010

Overall, we have seen a substantial increase in the number of searches for Roseville Pottery in October.  The increase in searches has translated into more active buying and selling as sales have been strong for many of the floral 1940s Roseville patterns.Pine Cone

It has also been encouraging to see an increase in interest in the more expensive middle period Roseville patterns such as Artcraft, Baneda, Blackberry, Cherry Blossom, Sunflower, Wisteria, etc. This is encouraging economic news for the antique industry in general and more specifically the art pottery market. 

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