The American Art Pottery Move in its Infancy

Sometimes we can develop a deeper appreciation for things, such as American art pottery, if we know more about the history. How did it start? Where did it start? There are some interesting facts that can truly enrich a fan’s passion for art pottery; so, after looking through many of the collector’s book and reminding ourselves of some of these stories of “where it all began”, here are some little known facts you may not have known.

Most farmers collected clay from their fields in the summer and then spent their winter months creating pottery in an effort to maintain steady work year round. Ohio has an abundance of that rich clay that serves as the foundation for art

Weller Ardsley Double Wall Pocket

pottery and it wasn’t uncommon for farmers to collect whatever it was they were growing in any particular season while also digging clay. They stored it in hastily built sheds until they could get around to working their magic.

By 1840, Ohio had 99 potteries. These potters were no longer firing pottery for use in the region, but rather, they were shipping it around the country and even exported what is described as “huge quantities” down the Mississippi River into New Orleans. It’s interesting to know within just a few years, any competition to the east and south was annihilated as many of these farmers came to realize there was much more financial security in the rich clay than the cotton and potatoes that grew alongside it.

Within two decades, many potters were no longer thinking from a utilitarian perspective, but were beginning to understand the lucrative and untapped market for decorative art pottery, one that the “lady of the house” would want to showcase in her sitting room or foyer. Suddenly, it was no longer a “man’s industry”, so to speak, but the creativity and beautiful floral patterns and color combinations opened the eyes of many women.

It’s amazing to think all these dynamics came together so long ago and that they still have a place in our hearts and homes in a modern society. It sure makes you see your own art pottery collection in a different light.

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New Trends, Timeless Inspiration

Frogs Have you ever been to a home décor store and thought, “Those lines are really similar to that Roseville vase I have at home”?  Maybe you’ve seen a decorative garden ceramic and wondered if it was inspired by the Weller Pottery Coppertone Fountain Frog?  We thought we’d take a look at some of the big selling home décor pieces this season and see how they compared with some of our favorite American art pottery pieces.  Take a look –

We found this green ceramic frog planter at a local Pier1.  Right next to him is the Weller Pottery Coppertone Frog Planter.  The high gloss looks great on the mass produced frog, but we’re drawn to the detail and decorative elements that can only be found on authentic Weller pottery.  Plus, we’re quite sure we won’t see the Weller guy on our next door neighbor’s patio, although there’s a good chance our open mouth frog is adorning several patios in the neighborhood.

Beautiful tile is in big demand these days.  They’re being used for anything you can imagine.  We found Tile this pretty tile, complete with a nature scene at Pier1, too.  We’re sure it will look great in any home,
but there’s no denying the blues and greens, along with the detailing and beveled features, that really set this Rookwood Pottery 1924 Tile Trivet poles apart from today’s mass produced tiles.  Note the blues used to depict the water scenes – big difference, right?  Besides, there’s a certain charm that’s missing from the more recent tile.

Ah – now take a look at the vases we’ve put side by side.  It’s remarkable how this Fulper vase has maintained it’s pristine gloss and lovely attributes.  The pink vase was found in Wal Mart and while it’s pretty as a picture (no pun intended), when placed next to this classic, you can see how the details truly make a difference.  You can be sure today’s Vases decorative pieces have no original detailing at all, this of course, in an effort to keep every piece “perfect” as it travels down the assembly line.  That’s the magic in American art pottery; the perfection is found in those slight nuances and tiny differences.  It reminds us that originality counts and that imperfections are not a bad thing; they never have been.  (If we could only convince our teenage girls of this mindset, right?)

So next time you’re browsing your favorite store, keep in mind, today’s trends are always inspired by yesterday’s art.

 

 

Art Pottery Place is Now Live

As many of our customers know, we have spent the summer months preparing for the big unveiling of Art Pottery Place.  We’re proud to announce that we brought it online this week!  We’re excited and it’s our hope you will be too. 

Header_brownlines Art Pottery Place is your source for buying and selling art pottery and is the eBay alternative for all things art pottery.  As many of you already know, Greg and Lana Myroth are the team behind Just Art Pottery and have been since its inception in 1997.  In that time, they have built the company into the reputable and reliable source for American and European pottery.  This is just a continuation of living their version of the American dream. 

Wondering what you can do on Art Pottery Place?  You can place a bid on any of the items listed and you can also create your own auction listings.  Registration is both easy and free.  Similar to eBay, you may, as the seller, set both a “Buy Now” price or accept offers, as well as participate in Dutch Auctions. Online auctions and fixed price sales are a lot of fun and we’ve designed our process in a streamlined manner so that you can make the most of your online art pottery buying and selling.

If you don’t wish to list your items within the auction or fixed price dynamics, you’re going to love our classified ads.  Here, you can upload images of your art pottery, communicate with potential buyers and set your asking price.  This too provides for a streamlined and easy to follow process so that you can stay focused on your buyers.  Once a buyer has shown interest and you complete the transaction, you can quickly pull your classified ad.

We know how much the art pottery community appreciates a good swap or trade for special vase.  We have incorporated this option into Art Pottery Place.  Upload your images, list your art pottery piece and then browse the other user’s offerings.  Find something you like?  Great! Just contact the owner and if he’s interested in any of your listings, you simply make the arrangements for shipment.  This is a fun new way of adding to your art pottery collection.

We offer several ways of searching the site for that special pottery vase, you’re going to enjoy a pleasurable visit to the Art Pottery Place site.  As always, we really appreciate your feedback – take a look around the site and then drop us a line and let us know your thoughts!  In the meantime, welcome to Art Pottery Place and we look forward to serving you with the same commitment to customer service and ethical business practices that you’ve come to expect from Just Art Pottery.

The Art Pottery Place Team

New Arrivals at Just Art Pottery

Tile It’s that time again – we have received several beautiful pieces into the Just Art Pottery inventory.  As always, keep in mind our New Arrivals page is updated weekly and on those rare occasions, even daily, so be sure to check often for the most current availability. 

One of the most exciting pieces that’s receiving a lot of attention is the Brush McCoy Pottery Twisted Vase.  This 10 ¼” tall vase is stunning and frankly, it’s one of those pieces that the photos simply do not do justice.  There is a pencil-tip size fleck on its rim, but is in excellent condition with no other chips, cracks, damage or repairs of any kind.  The bottom is marked “774” and the vase measures 5 ¼” wide.  It’s a true must-have for those who adore McCoy Pottery.

There’s no missing the vibrancy of colors and glaze of the Owens Pottery Four Footed vase.  It too is in excellent condition and bears the logo, 1155B and a label that states it’s from the collection of Frank L. Hahn.  It measures 6” tall and is 6 ¼” wide.  It’s really a lovely piece with texture, contrasting colors and a unique shape.

If you’re a Rookwood Pottery fan, you’re in for a treat.  We have recently added several Rookwood pieces, including a 1903 Iris Glaze vase.  It’s in mint condition with stunning artwork.  It has absolutely no damage or repairs of any kind.  The green leaving against the white background color is just beautiful. 

Another Rookwood piece is the Geese paperweight, dated 1917.  The matte blue glaze is the first  Artpottery thing that will catch your eye and the attention to detail is amazing.  It’s in mint condition and measures 4” tall and is 5” wide.

Be sure to see all of the Rookwood Pottery new arrivals – there is sure to be something for everyone who appreciates this line of American art pottery.

These are just a few of the many new arrivals.  If you’re looking for something specific, be sure to drop us an email and let us know.  We never know when it might come available.

Donna McGill

 

 

Collecting and Decorating with Art Pottery Shapes

Jard Most of us have our favorite art pottery collections.  Whether it’s the glaze lines associated with Rookwood Pottery or the architectural pieces that are part of Teco Pottery, there’s usually something that pulls us back, again and again, to our favorite pottery line.

There are those who, much as they’re loyal to their favorite pottery lines, collect the pieces or similar shapes across the lines.  Vases, jardinières, pitchers and wall pockets are just a few forms that make up pottery collections.  A collection of book ends or umbrella stands can really bring a room to life.  The textures and contrasts play off the others, bringing art pottery collecting to a new level.  Consider these:

·         Candle Holders – Candle holders are a great place to start.  The varying heights add dimension and you can easily find those that follow a similar color scheme or design.  Try a pair of Roseville Pottery Velmoss Scroll Candle Holders grouped with the Weller Pottery Roma Comport Vases.  While both are taller, the Weller vases measure 9” in height and the Roseville Pottery holders measure 10” in height, they both begin with the lighter ivory colors and that allow the greens and reds to play off of.  Note the design elements along the bottom of the Weller vases and the textures provided via the vining and flowers on the Roseville Pottery candle holders.

·         Jardinieres also provide many opportunities to combine different elements.  From a smaller, rounded and footed Roseville Pottery jardiniere to a smaller console bowl, there are many ways to really allow your creative efforts take over.  Imagine the glossy grays and darker blues serving as a beautiful background for the cherries along the rim of the Weller Pottery Etna Four Handled Jardiniere.  Continue the color trend with a taller Roseville Pottery Snowberry Blue Jardiniere.  The height differences are significant, so select a few other pieces that allow those height sizes to flow seamlessly.

Remember it’s all about creating a look that defines your preferences and your personality.  The Candle sky’s the limit.  The best part, of course, is the versatility of any collection.  You can always add, take away and move around your various collections.  While you might have loved that collection of candle holders on your dining room table, you might now believe it will be a beautiful addition to your mantle piece.  That should always be your guiding factor – whatever you think works best in your home.

Hampshire Pottery

Hamp1 It’s been said Hampshire Pottery is similar to Grueby Pottery in many ways; in fact, many say they’re imitations of Grueby.  Even the company itself said it was replicating Grueby’s efforts in a way to provide similar art pottery at lower prices.  Perhaps the one major difference in the Hampshire pottery pieces is the fact each was molded, versus the hand throwing techniques of the Grueby Pottery efforts.  Still, many experts insist there is enough that separates the two American art pottery wares that most people, certainly in contemporary day, can easily differentiate the two.  Indeed, Hampshire Pottery had some beautiful creations that weren’t inspired (or copied, as some insist) by Grueby.  We tend to agree.  So individual they were that many are bringing in impressive sums of money today. 

The original mill that was purchased by James Taft and his uncle in 1871 burned to the ground.  The duo wasted no time in rebuilding the warehouse and within a year, were up and running with their efforts of creating  flower pots and “redware”.  All the while, they were also creating stoneware.  Ten years later, the company decided to enter into the art pottery sector.  It quickly became a family endeavor, as another brother in law was brought on board as a chemist who was responsible for creating more than 900 glaze “recipes” for use in the making of Hampshire Pottery.

A die stamp that reads “Hampshire Pottery” with a circled “M” can be found on nearly every Hampshire piece and the majority of these pieces are covered in a matte green glaze.  The majority Hamp of Hampshire Pottery can be found as vases, mugs, lamp bases and bowls.

After a few family deaths, ironically, the company was sold out to Grueby Pottery.  Grueby Pottery eventually closed the plant in 1923.  We’re left with some truly beautiful wares, courtesy of Hampshire Pottery and its successful bids of creating American art pottery.

Just Art Pottery New Arrivals

Visiting the Just Art Pottery new arrivals page is like the anticipation of unwrapping an unexpected gift. You can’t wait to see what awaits you.  You never know for sure what it is, but you’re never disappointed.  Whether you’re a casual art pottery collector or avidly seek new and hard to find American art pottery, there’s something for everyone.  Here are a few of the latest additions:

Clyde Burt Mid-Century Modern Pottery Vase – This is a rare ribbed vase with a black design element that at first sight appears to be random.  The glaze and deep brick color is superb and the vase it self is flawless with no seams, damage or repair.  It stands 6 ½” high and measures 5 ¼” in  width.  The artist, Clyde Burt, who was born in Melrose, Ohio in 1922, has work displayed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  His trademark design elements include the fine black abstract lines against solid colors. 

There are also two incredible Fulper Pottery pieces, including a Fulper Pottery Cats Eye Flambe  Fishing Man Statue.  The browns and deep blues are remarkable under the glossy finish.  Notice the Rook attention to detail, especially in the fisherman’s hand and legs.  This is the perfect centerpiece for a mantle or as the star in a curio cabinet.  It’s in excellent condition and while it’s a larger piece, it also is only 4” deep.  Its size comes in its height and width, measuring 12 ½” and 11 ¼” respectively.

The second Fulper Pottery piece also showcases a fisherman.  It too is large and is green, specifically, “cucumber green”.  A small restoration effort was made to correct a small chip.  It’s considered minor and is the only damage.  Another piece that only measures 4” in depth, it’s still considered a large piece. Note the lighter blue that plays off the black and green.  It comes together to define a truly lovely art pottery piece.

As always, these are not all-inclusive; there are many other new arrivals that you have to see to appreciate.  There is a well rounded inventory that includes Grueby Pottery and a few Hull Pottery vases.

Just Art Pottery New Arrivals

Rookwood The past several weeks, we've been fortunate enough to secure a small collection of several early Ephraim Faience Pottery pieces, including a rare Ephraim Faience Pine Cone wall pocket.  It is in mint condition with a logo on the back and stamped "Kevin Hicks".  This wall pocket measures 6 ¾" tall and 4" wide.  It's yet another testament to the arts and crafts look we've come to appreciate with Ephraim Faience pottery. 

Another new addition is a 1924 Rookwood Pottery vase.  What's remarkable about this vase is its octagon bottom and the contrasting shades of blue that are prominent in the vase's lines.  The neck begins narrow and round while the lines and corners are developed downward until the definitive octagon shape is created near the bottom.  It's quite elegant in appearance and is in mint condition.  The bottom marks include the date, shape mark and the logo.  It's one of those Rookwood pottery vases with bold elements that demand attention. 

That's not the only Rookwood vase with varying shades of blue.  There's also a 1927 Rookwood Pottery vase.  This one is round in shape, again with a smaller opening that gradually gets larger closer to the base.  The blue, while lovely, is hard to describe, but dramatic and unique in its appearance.  It stands 5 ¼" tall and is mint condition.  The bottom includes the logo, date mark and the shape number.

As usual, there's that one vase, jardinière or wall pocket that catches my eye for its angles or size or glaze or even its coloring.  This time, it's the double-handled Roseville Pottery Assortment Vase.  It's a particular shade of deep green with eggshell colored flowers.  The vase's opening is finished with a glossy brown that extends into the vase itself and also is a perfect contrast with the primary green color and off-white flowers.  It's the glossy finish, though, that really completes the dramatic Wallpocket appearance.  Also, the handles themselves have a few decorative elements; small notches that again, add to the vase's beauty.

To give you an idea of how quickly the New Arrivals page changes, as I was preparing this latest post, I had included a Rookwood bowl.  Not surprisingly, it sold before I could get this latest post completed.  If you're looking for rare pieces that have just arrived, now's the time to act.  You never know when an art pottery item will go from the new arrival status to sold.

Donna McGill – Just Art Pottery

Just Art Pottery New Arrivals

Dickmanvase Every couple of weeks, we like to take a look at the new arrivals at Just Art Pottery.  You never know what treasures await you – Roseville Pottery, Rookwood Pottery, maybe a hard to find Teco Pottery vase.  Greg and his team have once again wowed American art pottery enthusiasts with the latest inventory additions.

If you're a big fan, as I am, of Ephraim Faience Pottery, then you have to see the latest additions from this varied but always lovely line of studio pottery.  Be sure to see the Ephraim Faience Pottery Panther Vase.  This experimental piece is in mint condition with absolutely no chips, damage or repairs of any kind.  The vase is noted as an experimental piece by the "E" on the bottom. The vase also marked by Ephraim founder Kevin Hicks.  The piece is 2 ¾" in height and measures 4" in width.  It's definitely a must have for admirers of this line of pottery.

If you like the colorful and whimsical side of Ephraim Faience Pottery, the experimental Turtle Vase that was just added is going to catch your eye.  The 7 ½" vase includes two turtles, which are quite detailed, as they're making their way out of the leaf design and up the smaller neck.  It is really a lovely vase and the brown and green coloring makes it a perfect fit in any collection. It too is stamped with an "E" and "Mary Pratt"Eph1

There are also a few Kenton Hills vases available.  Both considered hard to find, notice the reds that really stand out against these white vases.  These are sure to move fast.  Finally, there are several Rookwood Pottery production pieces, most dated between 1914 and 1925 and each in mint condition.  As always, we recommend you heading over to the New Arrivals page soon, as they don't tend to keep their new arrival statuses very long.

Donna McGill – Just Art Pottery

The Potter

Fulpervase Ever wonder how the potter's wheel works?  I've actually wondered for years each time I saw a potter work balls of clay into remarkable shapes and designs.  It looked so easy and graceful, but I knew there was a lot that went into it.  I dug around a bit and found a lot of detailed information on the subject.  The potter's wheel was invented in the 4th millennium BC, which I found surprising.  I think sometimes we take for granted the history in many of the simple things we rely on in modern day. 

The History Channel describes the potter's wheel as a flat disk that revolves horizontally on a pivot.  This allows the potter to shape the pottery from the bottom up.  It begins as a ball of clay that is somewhat centered on the wheel head, which rotates.  Japanese potters used hand wheels for centuries that required a stick to be slipped into a notch by a second person. 

During the 16th century, the Europeans developed a fly wheel which was separated from the wheel head, but mounted onto a frame.  This allowed the potter to operate the fly wheel simply by kicking, hence the name 'kick bar'.  Into the 19th century, kick bar became interchangeable with a 'foot treadle'.   Finally, by the time the 20th century came along, the electric wheel was invented.  Improvements over the years included variable speed motors for better regulation of the rotation speeds. 

Once the clay is shaped, it's then ready for drying and firing, which is an incredible process all its own.  It's the shaping of the clay, however, that many insist is the most crucial aspect of art pottery since this is where the art is actually 'defined'.  This is done by 'tempering' the clay by incorporating materials such as sand, stone or even shells.  The potter kneads the clay into the proper plasticity, and of course, from there, it's thrown onto the wheel.

The end result is beautiful works of art, much like this exceptional Fulper vase seen here.

Be sure to visit the New Arrivals page at Just Art Pottery.

Donna McGill – Just Art Pottery