Archives for June 2011

Van Briggle Tiles

There’s no denying some of the most beautiful art pottery tiles came from the Van Briggle pottery lines. From the subtle grays and blues to the riveting golds, greens and rich browns, collectors appreciate this line for its eclectic offerings and general appeal.

It’s interesting, but the company likely never manufactured these tiles until after the death of its founder, Artus Van Briggle in 1904. Every tile used at the Memorial Pottery Plant was made at the “home base” of Van Briggle, located on Nevada Avenue in Colorado Springs, Colorado. With the success of their use at the new plant, it was a natural progression that the pottery company would begin producing and selling these tiles to the general public.

The production included incorporating a dry press tile machine and the glaze used was courtesy of “waste” glaze that had been saved from other Van Briggle pottery pieces. Decorative elements included incisions along with the use of many colors. They were advertised as ideal for kitchens bathrooms and interestingly, porches. Lovely flowers adorned these tiles as well as abstracts, leaves and textures.

The Memorial Pottery plant was located in Colorado Springs, as well. It was a grand red brick building with no shortage of “A” frames (perhaps inspired by the double “A” enclosed in a square that became the Van Briggle trademark?). Easily identified by the massive twin chimneys emerging from the center of the large building, some of the most distinctive tiles of the time period emerged from this location. They continue to inspire and strike awe to this day.

Be sure to take a look at our Van Briggle Pottery offerings. You’re sure to notice the unique presentation of this remarkable line of American art pottery. And if you have your favorites, we’d love to see your photos.

The Historical Lessons in American Art Pottery

When you stop to think about how long many of our favorite American art pottery lines were in production, it becomes clear there were many historical events that these pottery companies witnessed and adapted to. In looking through a book on Roseville Pottery recently, I found some of the old advertisements and before long, I found myself lost in the time periods and various world changing events many of these ads referred to.

Understanding these dynamics allows us to bring our appreciation for beautiful collections to an entirely new level. Even the various fonts that were used are indicative of an ever-changing world. For instance, in a photocopy of the Roseville Pottery letterhead, the date looks like this:

May Fourth

1 9 4 0

Of course, in our “go, go, go” world, we’re lucky if we even remember to date a letter, much less carefully spell it out and center it.

Ad campaigns can cost millions in today’s world and they were just as important in the late 1930s and 1940s as they are today. One full size color ad reveals the three Roseville Bushberry colors. The attention paid to detail in arranging the art pottery, along with the carefully selected blue-green and rich ivory backgrounds is nothing short of stunning. The shorter of the two vases in the ad is perfectly placed on a block that will provide a bit of height while the larger vase has lovely small white flowers to frame it. A smaller Bushberry basket fills the mirroring page on its own.

Photo: Alfred University

Another fun advertisement states that Roseville Pottery offers “distinctive designs in modern art pottery”. Today, I think the word we would use is “timeless”.

In a more serious advertisement in 1943, the American economy was taking a hit due to World War II. Fuel, sugar and even pork rations were in place. A drawing of a man wearing a sombrero and sandals is shown with the words, “Pedro seldom worries about production problems”. It then goes on to say:

We know you’ll excuse us if we seem to envy imperturbable Pedro just a bit. For where he gives not a fig for such things as seller’s market and depleted inventories, we’ve worried ourselves gray figuring how to give our customers the Roseville pottery they want and need.

Indeed, one need only look at the advertisements of any given period to understand social problems and even global problems such as war.

As we know, Roseville Pottery has stood the test of time, even when “sure things” have come and gone over the years. It’s that distinctive look and feel (the textures of Roseville Pottery are incredible) of quality workmanship and dedication few companies will ever know.

Just Art Pottery New Arrivals

If you’ve not seen the new arrivals at Just Art Pottery, now’s the time. There are several Ephraim Faience Pottery pieces we’ve added, along with a few distinctive Rookwood Pottery pieces.

Fans of the rich blues found in some Rookwood Pottery pieces will definitely appreciate the Rookwood Pottery 1927 vase. It’s in mint condition and has a geometric design that provides texture and contrast. It’s marked with the Rookwood logo, shape mark and date. It measures 5 3/4” in height and 2 3/4” wide.

One of the most beautiful colors used in any art pottery is purple. The Rookwood Pottery 1928 vase has the characteristics of what made this pottery company so popular – attention to detail, expert shading and contrasting and creative design efforts. This 7” tall vase is in mint condition and is everything Rookwood fans have come to know and love. Definitely worth a collector’s consideration!

There’s also a dramatic Chicago Crucible Pottery Twist Vase that’s recently been added. The darker glazes add a certain dramatic elegance and the masterful shaping efforts hit the mark. What begins as a square opening soon is a flowing design, complete with a wider base. The matte glazing effort is just right on this sophisticated design.

Not surprisingly, many of the Ephraim Faience Pottery pieces sold quickly, but there remain several exceptional selections, including the Wood Violet vase. The almost-iridescent glazing sets this beauty apart. Shades of green and purple come together in such a way that’s not often seen in art pottery. This experimental vase is in mint condition and is a must-have for Ephraim Faience collectors. It measures 4” tall and is 6 1/2” wide. It’s marked with the logo and stamped “Mary Pratt”.

Finally, we take a look at the Ephraim Faience Pottery Climbing Bear Candle Holder. Again, this is a striking use of colors and glazing efforts that provides that dramatic look this pottery company is so well known for. It too is in mint condition and presents with a traditional cone shape. It is yet another wonderful addition to any collection.

These are but a few of the new arrivals available now. Be sure to check often, too, since we add to our inventory weekly.