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.

Pillin Pottery

Polia Pillin began her studies of ceramics in Chicago, at the Hull House, after she’d established herself as a talented painter years earlier. By the late 1940s, the artist and her husband, also an artist in his own right, set up shop in Los Angeles. It began, as many great things often do, in their garage. Make no mistake – these two were a pair and one simply could not create without the presence and efforts of the other. William was the one who appreciated unexpected finds in glazes while Polia saw what every piece should look like in her mind’s eye. Unlike other potters, whose markings vary over the years, Pillin art pottery pieces are marked with a stylized Pillin signature.

Pillin Pottery may not be as mainstream as its other artistic counterparts, but there is an elegance and sophistication found in this Polish artist’s works. Polia and William Pillin worked as a team from the moment they founded their pottery studio in 1948. While William shaped the various pots, vases and other designs, Polia hand painted each one. It doesn’t take long to realize her favorite subjects included living things – dancers, birds, fish, horses and other “women of interesting allure”.

She was inspired by Picasso. And, much like Picasso, whatever vessel was presented to her by her husband, she allowed that to define what the project would ultimately become. An odd-shaped plate or tile worked nicely as a canvas to paint an upright woman with long flowing hair with a blackbird perched on her knee. A full vase was ideal for a plump fish and the more contemporary vases that were tall and narrow were just right for her to explore shapes, lines and color combinations.

It comes as little surprise then that many experts cite the artistry, more so than the shapes, as most interesting. There’s a subdued mystery that seems to be crafted into these works of art. Part of that could be because these art potters aren’t mainstream and frankly, we don’t know as much about these artists as we do those associated with the Roseville Pottery or Weller Pottery names. Either way, though, there’s no denying the markings and when you come across one, you know you have discovered a jewel. It’s believed much of these Pillin Pottery works remain undiscovered.

The Rich Arequipa Pottery History

Located in Marin County, California, Arequipa Pottery has a very interesting history. In what began as a tuberculosis sanatorium in the early 1900s for wage-earning women diagnosed with TB was soon renowned for its unique approach in combining health care with pottery making. This approach served many purposes, including as a solution for paying the medical costs of treating the patients. More importantly, it was believed the therapeutic benefits were remarkable. What’s most interesting is that it was in business for just a few short years – between 1911 and 1918.

For whatever reasons, the massive San Francisco earthquake in 1906 affected women more than men when it came to breathing difficulties and other health-related problems, which is why the sanatorium was initially opened. And, too, because of the limitations in the medical field during that time, the only cure that was known amounted to little more than rest and relaxation. As we know, though, pottery making as its own way of keeping fine dust particles in the air, which likely and unknowingly exacerbated the tuberculosis. Still, the results of their creativity lives on in the pieces that are still available.

The vast majority of the clay used during this time was locally dug by younger boys who had the strength to handle the tasks. The patients/artists would spend a few hours a day (or less – depending on how they felt on any given day) working on their pottery. They were led in their efforts by the likes of Albert Solon, Fred Wilde and a few other respected ceramists of the day. That said, the creative efforts were 100% original to the patient; the ceramists were there strictly in a mentoring role.

Another interesting note was the introduction during this time of slip trailing, which is careful carving of leaves, vines and other decorative patterns into the damp clay.

As it happens, Just Art Pottery has one of these lovely creations on our New Arrivals page. The rare Arequipa Pottery vase stands 5 3/4″ tall and has an elegant matte greenish-blue finish. It’s in mint condition with no chips or cracks. It’s really indicative to both the attention to detail in its slight curves and lines.

This really is a fine way to collect American art pottery, especially considering the rich history behind it.

Cabat Ceramics

Born in 1914 in New York City, Rose Cabat knew early on where her place was, at least in terms of who she was destined to be with. Shortly after marrying the “boy next door”, whom she dated all through high school, Cabat made the decision to to see what kind of, if any, magic she could bring to the American art pottery scene. The avenue she chose was ceramics, mostly because her husband Erni brought home clay one day with the goal of making a few dinner plates. Sensing her interest, he soon bought his wife a membership to Greenwich House. It was here that both her talent and passion soared.

Times were difficult, but Erni found an interesting way to create a potter’s wheel for his wife: he repurposed a washing machine. When they weren’t working in a munitions plant during World War II, the couple were busy with developing Rose’s talent.

She soon found her “niche” and what emerged was her trademark “feelie” vases. It truly set the pace for mid-century ceramic offerings. The one common denominator amongst those who know work and attempt to explain it is that it was incredibly personal for her. It was more than a talent or passion, it was, in many ways an extension of who she is as an artist.

The gorgeous oversized vases are the epitome of the emerging styles from the forties, fifties and sixties. It’s the bold, though matted color combinations such as green and blue or orange and brown. The dramatic center expansions and the way they contrast with the very narrow vase necks – so narrow, you might be able to easy a single flower into it; and her trademark trimmed foot rings all come together to define these gorgeous and dramatic vases. She also created bowls, though it was those “onion” vases she is best known for.

Her husband was then, and always remained, her biggest fan until his death. Rose, now older than 95, is the oldest practicing pottery artist in the United States.

Arequipa Pottery

Frederick Rhead initially began his experience with American art pottery upon his arrival in California in 1911. As with most artists, his inspiration came from his surroundings and it’s been said those earlier Arequipa Pottery pieces with their lovely outdoor elements such as various fruits and trees were inspired by what he saw growing along the west coast. Indeed, the Multicolor Squeezebag vase, circa 1912, offers a matte background that’s so deeply purple that it almost looks black. While the matte appearance certainly added the refined look of this vase, it’s the berries and oversized leaves along the vase opening that adds contrast and texture.

Another vase, shaped as a gourd vessel, includes a glossier finish, though this time, it looks as though sunflowers were the inspiration. The “squeezebag” decoration, which is symbolic of the Arequipa look, works well with the deep green, gold and navy blue color choices. It measures around 7 inches in height, making it one of the larger pieces you’ll find in the pottery line.

One of the more interesting bits of trivia about Frederick Rhead includes his wife, Agnes. The couple had gone to work at the Arequipa Sanatorium for Dr. Philip K. Brown, who was looking for someone to teach the patients various artistic techniques in an effort to raise their spirits.  The plan worked as many of these young women were drawn to the possibilities this artistic avenue provided. Rhead and his wife were there for just one year, but their influence lived on with these patients.

This award wining line was the darling of the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition. It took both the gold and bronze medals, which for many companies would mean great exposure and increased interest – but for Arequipa, it meant the end of the new Arequipa Pottery pieces as it closed its doors that same year. What we’re left with is a valuable line of American art pottery that is considered quite valuable by any standards.



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.

Howard Pierce Pottery

Many of our clients don’t realize we have an entire section of other American art pottery.  On this page, we feature


many pottery makers, including Howard Pierce Pottery.  While many of us focus our time and attention (not to mention our money) on some of the more mainstream art pottery companies, there are some gems out there that might not always get the attention they deserve.

Howard Pierce founded his southern California studio in the 1940s after being artistically trained at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois.  Initially, he’d set up shop in Claremont; however, he eventually settled in Joshua Tree in 1968 – both in California, and in both locations, he enjoyed a robust business that served him well.  Most people equate Howard Pierce Pottery with the whimsical figurines such as cats and chickens that were his trademark for many years.  He appreciated the dimension a set of uneven heights allowed and as a result, he usually created pairs.  The subtle glazes and contrasting shades will draw you in to see the detailing up close and personal.  One example of just how intricate the detailing is can be found on the Howard Pierce “Two Chickadees”.  There are significant shading efforts, especially on the raised ceramic and they are perfectly placed as only a true artist can accomplish.

Murtle the Turtle - Joshua Tree, CA (Photo courtesy of Potteries of CA)

Most Howard Pierce pottery is marked with his name; however, those smaller pieces are almost never marked in any kind of way.  Unlike some of the other American art pottery companies, Pierce initially focused on distributing his wares to local florists, which he would have been content with maintaining.  During the mid-1950s, he had received so much positive feedback from the florists and their customers, he decided to take his business to the national level.  From there, his porcelain figurines were soon found on store shelves around the country.

After Pierce had relocated his business to Joshua Tree in 1968, he created several large statues for installation in parks and other public areas.  Many measured twelve feet or more in height and the vast majority remain in place today, where they are still enjoyed


by those who live within the communities they’re housed.

Howard Pierce continued to create his art pottery until his death in 1994.

Ephraim Faience Pottery

Anigif  As all Ephraim Faience Pottery fans know, this art pottery company still releases its hand thrown and decorated vases and other pottery in limited edition.  The photographs you see here just reinforce our appreciation of this modern art pottery line, each one with a striking background, courtesy of fellow Ephraim collectors Steve and Rose.  Steve has masterfully managed to incorporate elements of nature and used it to highlight the intricacies Ephraim Faience art pottery is so well known for.  Notice the Ephraim Trillium vase – this is one that remains as popular now as it was when it was released. The greens play off the whites in the flower for a soft glow that's incredibly difficult to replicate.  

We also have several current as well as early experimental examples of Ephraim Faience Pottery available on our New Products page, so if you're looking to add to your own collection, be sure to check these out.  Of course, you can always view Just Art Pottery's Ephraim Faience Pottery page for even more hard to find pieces from this investment quality contemporary art pottery.. 

Have your own photos that capture the elegance and beauty of Ephraim Faience Pottery?  Drop us a line, we'd love to hear your stories and see your images.  Also, if you haven't signed up for Just Art Pottery's newsletter, now's a great time to do so.

Donna McGill – Just Art Pottery

Arequipa Pottery

Logo-JustArtPottery Between the years 1911-1918, Arequipa Pottery existed first as a way to provide therapy to patients at a California sanitarium and then as a financial endeavor that might had been successful were it not for World War I.  Arequipa, meaning "the place of peace" was the brainchild of Dr. Philip King Brown.  After having founded the Arequipa Tuberculosis Sanatorium, it was his belief art would play a significant role in one's recovery efforts.  Soon, he attempted to make it a profitable company, if for no other reason than to offset the costs associated with providing supplies to the patients.  After having brought on board a few different people to assist in the management efforts, Dr. Brown brought in F.H. Wilde.  Wilde was experienced in the details of starting an art pottery and knew how it make it financially successful.  He promptly took to his new position and did quite well until the war made it unfeasible to continue. 

Still, the patients, who were most likely pre-teen and teen girls, were allowed to display their artistic wares at the Panama Pacific Exposition in 1915.  They were allowed to keep a small percentage of their pieces that sold as well as small salary.  It was Dr. Brown's belief this type of therapy was as important as proper nutrition and the medications used to heal the girls' physical ailments.  As mentioned above, Arequipa Pottery was not able to turn a profit and eventually, it came to rely solely on donations until they too began to decrease.  1918 marked the final year of the art pottery company.  Many of the pieces these young patients were responsible for creating are on display at the Smithsonian Institution.  The pieces that are in circulation are considered quite valuable and each is one of a kind since the patients either created at will or would complete a piece and promptly begin another project.

On a final note, it wasn't until 2001 another showing that rivaled the size of the 1915 Panama Pacific Expo displayed Arequipa Pottery.  While many pieces remain at the Smithsonian Institute, there are a significant number that can be found in Oakland's Museum of California.

Donna McGill – Just Art Pottery

Ephraim Faience Pottery Photographs

Anigif We're so pleased our friends and fellow Ephraim Faience Pottery collectors, Steve and Rose, are allowing us to share with our readers these incredible photographs.  Notice the detail and depths of the colors.  The nuances are nothing short of exceptional and the way the colors become a part of the pottery is purely inspirational.  Enjoy!