Archives for September 2011

Rookwood Pottery: Standard Glaze

If you’re looking for a great way to break into the Rookwood Pottery sector, you might want to consider the Standard Glaze ware line.

It’s not hard to find a Rookwood Pottery line that’s elegant, with depth and extremely detailed. The Standard Glaze (also known as the Brown Glaze) line is a perfect example of what embodies the collective Rookwood Pottery brand. It’s recognized most often by the “Standard Brown” glaze that gives off rich, deep orange hues and various shades of brown that meld together flawlessly. You might also notice deep green hues, too. The colors are indicated in the shading efforts that go from darker to lighter, usually from the top down. It’s often described with adjectives such as “hard”, “clear” and “fine” and all are perfectly true.

The line itself is predominantly decorated with floral and/or leaf patterns, including dogwood blossoms. Also, there are a precious few that had portraits of important people of the times, animals, Native Americans and believe it or not, ghosts were sometimes used, which surely added quite the dramatic tone, especially considering the time period.

Speaking of dramatic tones, there were very interesting shape elements, too. The Two-Handled Chalice Vase, included in the 1895 line, is aptly named. The matching dual handles, circular and narrow, only added to the beauty of the design as a whole. They’re almost always marked with the artist’s name, the year it was produced, the type of clay and glaze used as well as the size marking.

You’ll find candlesticks, smaller cabinet vases, floor vases, tea sets and even umbrella stands in the Standard Glaze. Considered quite affordable, it’s a great investment for those who collect Rookwood Pottery.

American Art Pottery Shows

One of the most important things art pottery lovers do to stay current on various goings-on is to attend American art pottery shows.

Each year, there are hundreds of conventions, seminars and shows for all things art pottery. Some are established events that draw people from all over the world while others tend to stay small and target regional fans and collectors. A quick search and a bit of research is all it takes to find the many upcoming shows, which is exactly what we did. Here are three annual shows that grow each year – in vendors and visitors. All are worth attending and are ideal venues for networking with others who share the same appreciation as you.

Zanesville Pottery Lovers Festival 2012

Every year in July, thousands show up to participate in the Zanesville Pottery Lovers Festival. It’s an exciting four day event in Zanesville, Ohio that allows endless networking opportunities, art pottery auctions and sellers who are eager to strike deals. The host hotel allows sellers to set up their wares in their rooms, where buyers and other collectors mingle in and out of the many impromptu shops. The experience itself is certainly worth it, and finding that rare Roseville or Weller pottery piece you’ve been searching for is the icing on the cake.

American Art Pottery Association Annual Convention

Another big player in the art pottery arena is the AAPA and it too hosts its own annual show in late April/early May. It takes place in Philadelphia. If you’re an AAPA member, you’ll enjoy a discount on your tickets and like the Zanesville festival, there are auctions and seminars by some of the nation’s leading art pottery experts. Any new book releases in the arena usually means an opportunity for you to get your copy autographed by the author, whoever it might be. Also, a bus tour is available and highly recommended, especially if you’ve never toured the Trenton City Museum within the Ellarslie Mansion.

Bay Area Pottery Show

This annual event occurs in February in San Jose, California. This is a good choice because of the versatility of the pottery. From Van Briggle to Brush McCoy, you’re sure to find your favorite pottery while discovering a new favorite in the process. Take advantage of the many lectures and talks that are part of the offering, too.

These are just a few of the many events and again, a quick search will reveal those in your region of the country. The benefits are many and these shows are always an easy way to strengthen your network while meeting new people in the process.

Roseville Della Robbia: Unlike Anything Else

The Roseville Pottery Della Robbia line was described as “unlike anything else” in the 1906 Roseville catalog. The textures and sgrafitto decorative inclusions define this beautiful line.

The Roseville Della Robbia really stood out the moment it was introduced around the turn of the century. The textures, courtesy of hand incised designs placed on the shapes, which had been slip cast at least two times, set it apart from all other Roseville offerings. Frederick Hurten Rhead described the process involved with this very detailed group:

I had produced some interesting sgrafitto process decorations…the problem involved casting in two colored slips with an incised and carved design…it demanded extreme care and neatness… and the ware had to be handled very tenderly.

Rhead’s biggest problem was ensuring his beloved Della Robbia line wouldn’t be too expensive to mass produce, especially considering the Roseville Pottery decorators “were highly paid as wages go in the art potteries”. Before long, Rhead figured out a way to outsource the work – and this was long before “outsourcing” became a modern catchphrase. Instead of the high wages to the decorators, he instead brought in high school girls who showed promise in their art classes. After extensive training, Rhead was confident these young girls had mastered the process. “I had a working force of ten girls…at the end of two months could execute any of the illustrated pieces”.

Of course, what we’re left with is the beautiful hand decorated Roseville Della Robbia, complete with its textures and dimensions – all because one artist’s determination to bring it to the public. One final note regarding the art pottery line’s history: many of the high school girls who worked on these pieces were hired immediately following their high school graduation.

The Unusual Weller Muskota Art Pottery

The Weller Muskota line of art pottery offers an unexpected presence, partly due to its large and varied offerings and partly because of its many themes.

Production on the Weller Muskota line began in mid-1915 and while there was no definitive theme or direction the artists chose, it still stands out as one of the more interesting Weller pottery lines. There were many glazes, color schemes and subjects that are covered, including animals, children and even the occasional abstract.

There are ribbons of several other Weller lines that appear to have served as inspiration. The Weller Brighton line, which also was introduced in 1915, might have inspired a few of the swans and flower frogs while the Copra, known for its lovely florals, very well could have lent to the line a more feminine touch.

It’s true this line doesn’t have the dramatic iridescent finish like the Weller Sicard, which is absolutely stunning, nor does it have the stunning high glossy finish found on the Weller Etna, but there’s no denying the eclectic appeal that draws new fans all the time.

There’s a whimsical double bud vase with two cats resting on the fence that links the vases. It’s an unusual choice, but the originality is part of its appeal. Also, there are several flower frogs, too. From a green-hued mushroom, complete with a fly resting on top to a muted red lobster flower frog, it could be said the charm is found in the unexpected. You’ll discover a figurine with a boy who’s fishing, a nude figure that rests against rocks, a pair of sweet chicks and no shortage of birds and cats.

If you’re a Weller Pottery fan, you already know the pull this line has and if you’re new to this particular American art pottery, be sure to explore the Weller Muskota line.

Mid-Century Trends in Art Pottery

Those colorful and funky designs found in what’s referred to as “mid century” art pottery is often what many of us refer to as vintage; it’s definitely trendy, but finding a single adjective or definition is where the challenge begins.

Vintage. Mod. “1960s style”. Art Nouveau. Art Deco.– these are all used to describe the colorful movement in art pottery and general home décor during the 1950s and into the 1960s. But what defines this very specific line of American art pottery? And how do you differentiate between the real thing and those “dime a dozen” pieces that were so common during this time period? Here’s a bit of info that can help you when you’re ready to explore what this particular line offers.

There are no shortage of names, styles or even materials that are identified with this time period. A personal favorite is Blisscraft of Hollywood. That, of course, isn’t ceramic pottery, but it is indicative of the trends of the day – and you can’t mention these trends without there being an acknowledgment of the parts that define the sum.

Roseville Pottery, which comes as a surprise to many, is often included in that sum. Many of the Roseville vases that were made in the early 1900s are easily found in today’s literature on mid-century pottery. It makes sense. Roseville Pottery is so versatile that it works with, well, anything – from ultra contemporary design efforts to those art nouveau pieces to the designs that came from the same time period the pottery was made. Think about, say, the Roseville Sunflower line. It’s colorful, timeless and frankly, works with any art déco piece you can imagine. The point is to not discount this particular line – it serves its purpose in every era.

Finally, another important element in this distinctive art pottery is the color and specifically, the color combinations. Think vibrant oranges, rich greens, vivid pinks and reds – they all come together on a whim, which is the only way when you’re combining artistic effort and color.

With more of us turning once again to mid-century art pottery and everything that it implies, you can expect to see a surge in prices, too. Still, it’s a great way to add to a collection and frankly, it’s ideal for those who’ve just discovered American art pottery and are looking for a starting place.

Roseville Pottery Della Robbia

Roseville Pottery, to many, is known by its more popular lines, such as Roseville Pine Cone or even the beautiful Roseville Zephyr Lily. There were many lines this pottery company released, including the lesser-known, though stunning, Roseville Della Robbia.

Della Robbia is perhaps one of the most striking lines of Roseville Pottery. It’s an early line, released in 1906 and is often known as Rozane Della Robbia. It’s interesting that there are a few very unique and specific lines that are associated with Roseville, but the truth is, this pottery company had more than 110 lines, and some of the more beautiful collections are too often overlooked. One of those collections is, of course, Roseville Pottery Della Robbia.

Textures, Glazes and Colors

Perhaps it’s the expense associated with owning any of these pieces. They began as Rozane Royal or sometimes even Roseville Cremo shapes, only to be laid aside and picked back up again with a new focus. That new focus includes wonderful textures and distinctive glazes and color combinations. More importantly, each piece was carved, detailed and colored by hand. Once you see the detailing, you begin to understand the love that surely went into each vase, ewer or fern dish.

Other Decorative Elements

It’s really quite a versatile line, too. Unlike other lines, such as the Roseville Sunflower line that has a very specific color combination and decorative elements, the Della Robbia offers up different color combinations and patterns. One Della Robbia may include abstracts and scallops while another piece has a more feminine floral design. There’s one particular vase that has clear Japanese influences. This is only part of what makes this such a special collection.

Della Robbia Shape Numbers

There were 23 shape numbers associated with The Roseville Della Robbia and you’re as apt to discover a vase with carved penguins and trees as you are hand carved and very detailed flower petals. It’s truly one of the more sophisticated lines and frankly, that attention to detail that defines Roseville Pottery was never more evident.

Rookwood Pottery Flowing Glaze

“Translucent” is one adjective used to describe the Rookwood Pottery Flowing Glaze finish. It’s rich, glossy and doesn’t overwhelm the piece. It incorporated many colors and while they were allowed to flow together (hence, “Flowing Glaze”), one color never overwhelmed the other – they co-existed in glorious and beautiful harmony.

Interestingly enough, there were those pieces where the glazes covered the hand painted images in their entirety, though the end result was always worth the sacrifice. This particular Rookwood Pottery glaze was used “officially” between 1897 and 1901 though some historians believe it could have been used as late as 1904. This reasoning comes from the showing of the glaze line during the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, which was held in St. Louis.

One reason many collectors appreciate lines such as this is because there is virtually no way to duplicate a previous effort. Each is its own unique masterpiece. Another reason is because of the short time duration it was used. It’s been suggested it was influenced by Asian trends, which sounds reasonable. There’s no denying the dramatic effects and the glossy look only adds to the depth.

Another lovely Rookwood Pottery glaze is found in the Pink Tinted glaze line. A bit more feminine, and absolutely stunning, the pinks and even deep plums certainly hold their own next to the Flowing Glaze. Regardless of which of the glaze lines you’re drawn to, it’s not until you hold it in your hands and see the detailing and artistry that no photo can ever do justice to. The textures, the way they easily meld together – it’s truly an experience.

Be sure to visit the Just Art Pottery Rookwood Pottery page for more of these beautiful glaze lines. If you’re new to Rookwood Pottery, it’s certainly going to become one of your favorites due to its versatility and flowing elements. Also, check our new arrivals page too. This is where you’ll find those recently added Rookwood pieces.