What’s it Worth – Teco Arts and Crafts Pottery Vase

A 12″ Teco arts and crafts vase recently sold at live auction for $12,600 including the buyer’s premium. The price may well be a record for this Teco shape.  The vase was reported to be in excellent condition with no damage or repair.  The vase is shape 287 and was originally designed by W. B. Mundie.  This classic arts and crafts Teco shape was produced in the two sizes a smaller 7″ vase and a harder to find 12″ version.  For comparison purposes, JustArtPottery.com sold the 7″ version of this shape with a slight hairline for $1,600 in 2010.
Sold at Auction 1/1/2014 for $12,600

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.

Roseville Creamware

Ah – the Roseville Creamware line. This is definitely one of those collections that you’ll spend your life searching for because you’re so drawn to it or it will be one you’ll steer clear of – love it or strongly dislike it.

Roseville Pottery Creamware

Maybe one of the reasons this is, first, one of the more versatile Roseville design lines, but more importantly, not a favorite among some collectors is because of the decals. Some thought they were being shortchanged with this collection, but once you consider the times, it becomes clear as to why the pottery company incorporated these less-expensive decals. Production costs were always in the forefront and consumers were watching their funds closely.

There often wasn’t enough in the budget for decorative pieces and when there were, it had better be an affordable venture, or the consumer of the day would walk right on by. This, coupled with the end of the so-called Arts & Crafts era, proved to be a challenge for the art industry as a whole and certainly those in art pottery.

In the early 1900s, the Roseville Creamware was unveiled, complete with its decals. There were floral patterns, people – sometimes animated, messaging (several fraternal societies used Creamware for coffee mugs, complete with the frat’s branding – and an extensive line called Juvenile.

If you can get past the absence of bold artistic efforts and rich color hues, Creamware really is a lovely collection; unfortunately, anyone who agrees often does so as an afterthought. It’s just not one of those lines that catch your eye. Then there are those that just look misplaced.

There is a rather interesting design – one of those that look out of place. The Creamware chamber pot throws you for a loop. First, it’s heavily decorated on the outside with “Novelty Steins” – mostly kids. But when you lift the lid, many discover this eye painted in the center of the pot. It’s really remarkable as it looks quite real, much the way a 3-D eye would appear in a more modern setting. Some of those pots also have a message: “Wash me out and keep me clean and I won’t tell what I have seen.”

The Juvenile pieces almost always have decals of children in various ages. Some offer up nursery rhymes as well. Even though it was heavily produced for quite some time, it is considered a valuable line and one that’s highly sought after.

 

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Fulper Pottery

Fulper Pottery is arguably one of the most varied lines of American art pottery. It’s also consistently increased in value over the years and because there are so many influences, it remains now and likely always be highly sought after. Here are ten things you might not have known about this exceptional line.

  • Fulper Pottery underwent several name changes during its existence and wasn’t always a true art pottery manufacturer. Samuel Hill was the first owner and in 1815, his Flemington New Jersey company sold drain tile. By the mid 1850s, one of his employees, Abraham Fulper, became a partner and after Hill’s death, Fulper bought the company.
  • Initially, the new company began as a stoneware producer and offered more functional pieces such as pitchers and bowls.
  • Fulper was produced for just twenty five years and in that time, there were more than 1,000 shapes and sizes.
  • The most recognized line is Vasekraft. It was introduced in late 1909 by the original founder’s grandson, William Hill Fulper II. He was also one of the earliest artists who took risks with different color variations.
  • Another reason it’s so varied is because of cultural influences. The earliest pieces had a German flair, most likely because of German potter John Martin Stagl. Oriental is considered the dominating influence in those middle years and eventually, there was a definitive art deco style that was more of an influence.
  • The glazing during those earliest years, again, influenced by Stangl, are often described as “curious” and present as a “vertical rectangle” stamp. This marking can be found on the pottery pieces up until around 1920.
  • If you come across a lighter clay body, odds are, it’s one of the later pieces.
  • Fulper Pottery is the first company to offer a single color glazed dinnerware in the United States. The year was 1920.
  • The Flemington plant was destroyed in 1929 by a fire. The company relocated to Trenton, New Jersey.
  • By 1955, the name had changed again to Stangl Pottery and once again began offering the more functional pieces.

 

Rookwood Pottery Gray Tinting

Fans of Rookwood Pottery likely have several pieces that have a unique tinting that is unlike any other American art pottery. The gray tinting found on some Rookwood Pottery shapes was incorporated from around 1915 through 1932. There’s been some debate about whether or not it was actually used before 1920, though in recent years, it’s not been questioned as much by modern collectors. Either way, it is a superb decision to opt for the semi translucent and glossy finish. The hazy appearance in many pieces is due to what’s described as a “thicker glaze pool”.

The markings are often indicated with a “D.G.” incision, which stands for “dark gray” and there are some pieces that are simply marked with the word “gray”.

It’s also interesting to note that this glaze was used in Starkville, Mississippi, where much of the commercial ware was made.

Remember, Rookwood Pottery also brought the exceptional yellow tinted glaze. It is stunning, especially on one of the Rookwood vases from 1923. The lovely yellow serves as a striking background to the dainty red flowers and green vines. At the opening of the vase, there’s a deep bluish-gray that extends into the vase itself. Meanwhile, the bottom is a perfectly coordinated green. If the crisp colors within the yellow glaze pieces are cheerful, then the gray tinting pieces are more dramatic, even if many of them have floral patterns.

If you’re a collector of these particular Rookwood Pottery lines, odds are, you’ll find these pieces with either painted artist initials or incisions with the initials. As with many companies in the 1930s, the Great Depression would soon serve as a devastating inhibitor for all things artistic. In fact, the pottery produced during the depression was strictly for utilitarian purposes versus decorative ones.

Needless to say if you run across anything with the dramatic gray tinting, you’ve indeed found a spectacular item that’s worthy of any collection.

For a company with a rich history dating back to the late 1880s, many collectors treat their efforts as investments and with Rookwood Pottery, it’s a sure thing. The company ceased production in 1967.

Teco Pottery

Teco Pottery originally began as Spring Valley Tile Works in Terra Cotta, Illinois in the late 1800s; 1881 to be exact, and was a major player in the Prairie School arts and crafts movement that was later made popular by Frank Lloyd Wright. William Day Gates could often be found experimenting with different clay and glazing combinations, though the company profits came from drain tiles, finials, urns and other materials used to as fireproofing materials. Soon, though, his appreciation of the clay and glaze variations became more prominent and he cleverly named this new branch Teco Pottery – It’s a play on the words “TErra COtta”.

By 1902, Teco Pottery was introduced to the nation and that began a successful effort that resulted in more than 500 designs being released in less than two decades. While we don’t know for sure when the last pieces of Teco Pottery were actually produced, there exists documentation that suggests it continued until at least 1923.

If you’re familiar with Teco Pottery, you know that tell-tale matte green finish. What many aren’t aware of, though, is that it’s part of more than 90% of the entire pottery collection. Some of the pieces have interesting charcoaling, a darker gray, that overlays the green. The combination of these two glazing efforts is truly remarkable. Other colors you’ll find in Teco Pottery are brown, a deep red, pink and blue. Yellow is sometimes found as well. Teco Pottery is one of those collections that the more you display, the more dramatic that presentation is, and a lot of that has to do with the green glazing efforts.

Another unique look that’s part of this American art pottery collection is the abstract designs. There are a lot of clean and defined lines that are both dramatic and effective. To a lesser degree, there are pieces that aren’t as sharp-lined, but it’s most certainly those pieces that have angles that are most sought after. Many people use “architectural” in their descriptions – and that’s accurate too.

For those who love Teco Pottery as much as we do, you owe it to yourself to explore the records that are maintained at the University of Minnesota. Among those records are the original architectural drawings.

Have your own Teco Pottery collection? We’d love to see it! Drop us a line or share them on the Just Art Pottery Facebook page.

Newcomb College Art Pottery Exhibition

The Columbus Museum recently announced it will be displaying “The Beautiful and Practical: Newcomb College and American Art Pottery” exhibition. It will displayed from now until January 6, 2013. What’s so exciting is there are more than 80 selections of beautiful glazed or otherwise decorated American art pottery. While the “star” of the exhibit will be Newcomb College pottery, there will also be several metalware selections, textiles and other pottery exclusive to Louisiana. In fact, all of the pieces are from Southern collections and many of them are from the Louisiana State University Museum of Art. If you’ve not seen any of these displays before, this is a perfect opportunity if you’re going to be in or near Georgia over the holidays.

A few of those notable art pottery companies that will be represented include Cambridge Pottery, Fulper Pottery, Marblehead, Rookwood Pottery and one of our own favorites, Van Briggle Pottery. You can also expect to see several Weller pottery pieces as well. This is important for the Columbus Museum because it provides a perfect opportunity to show its own proud Newcomb Pottery vase, which was completed by the esteemed master decorator Sabina Wells.

American art pottery, especially those pieces from the turn of the century and even well into the 20th century, are handmade creations, ensuring no two are ever alike. The artists who played such pivotal roles in this amazing sector of American art were always very talented and most certainly in demand. What we’re left with here today is results of their tremendous talents.

While we typically collect art pottery for the beauty of each piece, they were often created to be functional as well. In some instances, the artistry was often a second consideration to the utilitarian purposes. Eventually, though, a shift began that resulted in a focus on the visual appeal. Lucky for us, there are still many collections and pieces for us to enjoy strictly for that visual appeal.

Of course, Newcomb College Pottery was born of a way to provide women in the southern region the opportunity to secure a trade. It was natural their jobs would be created in the arts. A lot has changed, but one thing remains true: women love a beautifully put together home and that was the draw for those seeking to learn more about opportunities in art pottery. Newcomb Pottery was founded in the 1890s at Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans and remained in business from 1895 to 1940. For many years, it was the only educational facility for these types of trades in the entire southern U.S.

About Columbus Museum:

As an American art and regional history museum, and the second largest general museum in Georgia, the Columbus Museum offers a diverse collection to the public. The Museum houses over 14,000 artifacts and objects that tell the story of the Chattahoochee River Valley’s development, an American fine art collection from a host of renowned American artists, a hands-on gallery for children, the finest traveling exhibitions from across the U.S., and the historic Bradley Olmsted Garden.

For more information about the Columbus Museum or the Newcomb College and American Art Pottery exhibition, please visit www.columbusmuseum.com.

Looking for an American Pottery Sale?

It’s not often we do a post on our sale page, but there are some incredible finds that are definitely must see. And here’s a hint: there’s even a few Roseville Pottery rare finds on sale. Take a look –

Of course, the first thing I’m dying to talk about is the Brush McCoy Pottery Majolica Brown Amaryllis Vase. This spectacular find is stunning. It’s in factory original condition with a small stilt chip in the vase. The vase measures 4 1/4″ tall and 2 3/4″ wide.  Also – and this is exciting – there’s also a matching vase if you would like a pair. Note the deep, rich blue and brown hues. It truly is a beautiful work of art.

The Roseville Pottery Primrose Pink Flower Frog is a unique choice and makes a great addition to your collection. With lovely hues that coordinate flawlessly, this flower frog brings the unmistakeable Roseville Pottery flair and attention to detail. It has the traditional Roseville marking and the number 22 on the underside. It’s in excellent condition with a small nick on the underside. It’s visible only when you turn the frog over. It measures 4 3/4″ high and 3 1/4″ wide.

Another exciting find is the Roseville Pottery Vista vase. This beautiful creation is also in mint condition. It’s a massive 18 inches in height and 8 inches wide – think about how this would look in the middle of your holiday table. It definitely demands to be noticed. The raised artistic efforts add texture to an already striking appearance. Imagine those hues of blue and gold and green in your Thanksgiving presentation!

Of course, the sale items rotate pretty quickly, and these aren’t the only two sale items. Visit our Sale page regularly to get the best deals on those pieces your own collection is missing. Also, as we prepare to head into the new year, if you haven’t already liked our Just Art Pottery and our Just Art Pottery Roseville pages, now’s a great time to do so. We love the interactions and it’s also where you get the latest news on what’s going on.

Holiday Decor: Roseville Bushberry, Roseville Clemantis

It’s that time of year again – and for many of us, it’s what makes the rest of the year worth the wait. Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but still, it really is an exciting time for American art pottery collectors. For me, it’s the perfect time to beautifully include my art pottery into my holiday decor. With my niece, who’s now shown an interest in what I love so dearly, it’s certainly that much more special. While I don’t have an entire collection of any Roseville pattern, I do adore each piece I do own – it all has a story.

This year, I’ve already decided on what I’ll be using as my centerpiece for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you’re into “holiday mode”, and wondering what you can do this year to add to the seasonal beauty, check out a few of my personal favorites – they may become yours too.

Roseville Bushberry

This glorious pattern is considered late period, as it made its debut in 1941. With the primary colors of blue, green and orange, they provide that rich color combination that’s perfect for the holidays. There remains some debate, friendly debate, mind you – but debate nonetheless on how many shapes were included. The advertisements of the day tout 64; however, the factory stock pages only show 61. With a growing movement that makes the Roseville Bushberry pattern more valuable, it’s finding a new popularity – which is quite impressive considering it’s already a favorite among many Roseville collectors.

While some people don’t believe in making their Roseville pottery into useful vessels on their dinner tables, it’s just too hard for me to resist. While I would never put food in any of my pottery, I do like using the Roseville Pottery Bushberry Blue Bowl, which you can see here, for little non-food uses. Think toothpicks or even individually wrapped mints. Tip: Try to keep them out of reach of little hands – but understand if you’re a lone pottery lover, your guests may not understand your efforts of keeping them out of little hands.

Roseville Clemantis

Roseville Clemantis is another beautiful choice for the holidays. It too is considered a late period pattern and was released just three years after Bushberry. It’s the rich brown, blue and green color combinations that make this one a great choice – plus the red flowers remind you of Chrysanthemums, which, of course, is the traditional flower for Christmas. These are beautiful choices for holding dried flowers and make a spectacular centerpiece. Tip: I wouldn’t encourage (in fact, I discourage) adding live flowers which will require water in the vessel. It’s just a safety precaution I take.

There are several vases in this pattern – which is why they make great centerpieces. Consider adding matching dinner napkins (I use gold because of the centers in the flowers on my vases).

Of course, these are just a few ideas. Are you considering incorporating your Roseville Pottery? We’d love to hear about it! Leave us a comment or visit our Facebook page and our Just Art Pottery Roseville Pottery Facebook page. Photos are always great, too!

 

An Update on George E. Ohr Museum

It’s been awhile since we checked in on the progress of the George E. Ohr Museum in Biloxi, MS. As many know, there had been a significant amount of construction completed on the new building when Hurricane Katrina slammed the coast in 2005. There was nothing left. With Hurricane Isaac in the news this past week and with its landfall along the same area as Katrina, we were wondering how the museum was preparing and how the project as a whole was moving on.

George Ohr, also known as the Mad Potter of Biloxi, was eccentric in the way he lived and the way he created his art. I recently spoke with someone who is quite familiar with the legacy Ohr left behind, and while it’s not surprising, it was interesting to learn a bit more about the artist. One look at any of the available photos of him would surely have anyone think he was a bit…grumpy. Or as they say down here in the south, “an ol’ buzzard”. Of course, that’s not an insult, in fact, like many artists, he likely took pride in knowing others understood his eccentricities, no matter which adjectives were used. And it’s good for us because of the spectacular artistic bodies he left behind. Each piece is powerful, mature and quite influential, too.

Ohr died in 1918, and it wasn’t until the mid 1960s that the vast majority of his work was located. Much of it is at home in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, but there’s even more that defines the permanent collections in the Ohr O’Keefe Museum of Art.

The masterpiece – and truly, that’s the only way to describe it – is right at home among the massive Antebellum homes that remain after two massive hurricanes, Camille in 1969 and, of course, Katrina in 2005. With its ultra contemporary lines and interesting dimensions, it would do Ohr proud if he could see it now. There are many exhibits that rotate year round and there are also several different areas within the museum. While the many photos on the website are spectacular, you haven’t “felt” the art until you’re standing in the middle of the museum with the salt air coming in on the Gulf of Mexico. It’s an experience, no doubt.

Currently, there are three exhibits being shown and three permanent exhibits; including, of course, many of the beautiful American art pottery pieces created by none other than the Mad Potter. If you’ve not seen the website recently, now’s a great time since the directors have added much more to it. And if you’re along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, be sure and save an afternoon for this beautiful museum – it’s time well spent.

And if you plan on going or have your own art pottery story, we’d love to hear it. Be sure to let us know on our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter, too.