Archives for July 2013

McCoy Pottery – How it Changed its Image in the Public Eye & Succeeded

Few companies are able to make a comeback, and certainly within its first two decades of existence, after recreating its image. Doing it in the public eye is even more challenging. Yet, for McCoy Pottery, it not only successfully pulled it off, but when it did re-emerge, it found an even greater stage.

McCoy in Zanesville

Like many American art pottery companies, McCoy got its start in the heart of art pottery paradise: Zanesville, Ohio. Founded in 1910 by Nelson McCoy and his father, J.W. McCoy, the company first set its sights on more utilitarian designs.  They found success, but it made what can only be described as rookie mistakes. It seemed as though it had a bit of an identity crisis in those earlier days.

Along with creating functional stoneware, it also was in the clay mining business. It partnered with close to a dozen other stoneware companies to define the American Clay Products Company. These designs were functional, just like McCoy’s own pottery designs, though there was nothing to really set the company apart and certainly there were no markings that revealed its collective origin. There was a bit of confusion: was McCoy Pottery now a part of ACPC or were they still two separate entities?

The public wouldn’t get the opportunity to figure it out as ACPC fell apart in the late 1920s.

Shifting Models

Three years later, smarter for the experience, Nelson and his father began rethinking and redefining the initial business model. Those first few years were challenging and by the mid 1930s, the writing on the wall was clear: interest in pottery as foodware was waning. The father/son duo had to rethink things yet again. Enter the Nelson McCoy Pottery Company.

The designs shifted and a new artist, Sydney Cope, played a significant role in defining the look and feel for the artistic efforts. The winds of change were still blowing, though and by the 1940s, and in response to the war, the company found itself making clay landmines.

It was also during this time that McCoy brought its technology up to par.

McCoy Redefined 

The war ended and before long, McCoy had finally found its identity. That identity included a maker of a more whimsical presentation. McCoy Pottery became synonymous with the cookie jars collectors still look for today. They’re highly collectible and it’s been suggested that McCoy designs are as prone as Roseville Pottery designs when it comes to counterfeiters looking to make fast money on fake pieces.

Just Art Pottery New Inventory

By now, many Just Art Pottery clients head straight to the new inventory page on the website. It’s where collectors get a head start on finding those rare pieces they might have been seeking for years or they might find an unexpected gem. If you’ve not visited the New Additions page, here’s what you’re missing:

Cambridge Pottery Vase

This classic Cambridge Pottery vase is representative of everything that defined the American art pottery company; the glossy brown glaze being the most obvious. This vase stands 6” tall and is 4” wide. It’s in mint condition and that classic glossy glaze is emphasized with the floral pattern in rich hues of gold and orange. The shape itself adds to the appearance as it has a slight narrowing midway down the design. If you’re a Cambridge Pottery fan, this is a remarkable addition to any collection.

Door Pottery Art Deco Vase 

This is another must-see for anyone drawn to the more contemporary designs in this particular art sector. The matte glaze incorporates hues of brown, and at first glance, it could resemble wood. It’s a classic Door Pottery design, indicative of the art deco model it’s so well known for.

If you’re a collector of the traditional Zanesville potters and haven’t really considered some of the more modern lines, Door Pottery is a fine place to start. Admittedly, I have always been drawn to McCoy pieces and several Roseville patterns, but over the past year or so, I’ve found a new appreciation for these art deco lines and I can’t help but wonder why it took me so long to “discover” it.

Ephraim Faience “Black Bears in a Cave” Vase 

At first glance, unless you’re an avid Ephraim Faience collector, you might not recognize this vase as part of its collection. Of course, the attention to detail, the truly artistic ways the hues reflect off of the others and just the presentation in general gives it away. This vase is 10 ¼” tall and at its widest is 6 ½” wide.  There are a few other Ephraim Faience pieces available on the New Additions page, as well.

Don’t forget new inventory is added all the time and to stay in touch with everything going on at Just Art Pottery, follow us on Twitter and join the conversation on the Just Art Pottery Facebook page, too.