Roseville Raymor

It’s always fascinating to learn about a company’s inner-workings, and especially if an otherwise successful company hits a speed bump. It tells much about the heart of the company: the one who’s making the decisions in order to get it over the speed bump. Roseville Pottery is no different.

During one of those proverbial “speed bumps” in the early 1950s, Roseville Pottery made the decision to introduce a new line to

Roseville Raymor

sort of spruce things up. Instead of sticking with the tried and true combinations of years earlier (something most savvy business owners would do), the decision makers instead elected to introduce a couple of new lines. Enter Roseville Raymor and its young and slightly less traditional artist, Ben Seibel. His efforts included a more expensive glaze, an entirely different manner in which each piece was “power pressed” and more than a few setbacks, especially when it came to expensive repairs to the kiln. In fact, some accounts show that up to 25% of the production efforts during these days were lost because of the mechanical problems.

Still, Seibel remained determined and consistent. He had an image in his mind of how this particular line of pottery would fill a much needed space within Roseville Pottery.  It was all about a contemporary flair. In fact, for me, it’s easier to picture the various artistic efforts from this period into how they would fit into those amazing stages of homes that were so popular on television during that time. The high gloss, the slight tip to abstract and the deep vessels were something you might would find on an old episode of Betwitched or maybe I Dream of Jeanie – right during that television transition from black and white to color. The vibrancy of the blues and greens and even pinks – they’re all remarkable and used in all their glory on these sets. If he felt the heat from the cost of producing Roseville Raymor, it’s a shame because it’s one of the more decorative patterns within the entire Roseville Pottery collection.

A Closer Look at Roseville Earlam

Many collectors of Roseville pottery will hone in on one particular design element and for those who treasure the Roseville Earlam line, that specific element is the simple arts and crafts forms and the quality matte glazes. The subtle colors provide the perfect canvas for light to produce exceptional dimensions; indeed, it looks as though it’s been masterfully shadowed. With just 22 various Earlam shapes, it’s a natural assumption that the artists would have been assertive in their efforts of ensuring it stands out. The most obvious way to accomplish that is via the inclusion of irregular asymmetric efforts or even geometric efforts, similar to what we see in the Roseville Futura lines. That’s not the case, though.

The extent of many of the pieces in this line are little more than open neck or slightly expanded bottom. There’s an absence of

Roseville Pottery Earlam Blue Green Handled Vase

floral motifs, animals, people or anything else, for that matter. Some offer handles, but almost always they’re placed near the top of the vase or pots. That’s the beauty of it: simple and clean served the purposes nicely.

The Earlam line also offers several console bowls and strawberry pots – with one even offering a saucer. With the exception of the occasional candlestick pairs and umbrella stands, the majority of the shapes are vases and bowls. The one unlikely – though beautiful – inclusion is the hanging basket. It comes as no surprise to learn it’s always in high demand.

The green matte against that pale yellow glaze really bodes well with this line, which was introduced in 1930. There’s one important consideration – most pieces from this line had paper labels, and like any other line that had the stickers, when they fall off or are otherwise removed, many assume it’s not authentic. There are some with handwritten markings, but it’s impossible to identify which shapes the writing is more likely to be found.

What’s not at all surprising is the Frank Ferrell influence; remember, he tended to steer clear of the more feminine elements, such as flowers, and preferred a more streamlined presentation. Still, whatever his reasons were, his ability to transform those artistic images in his mind to the potter’s will is exactly what makes this line of Roseville pottery so spectacular.

Brouwer Pottery

While it’s not one of the most well known lines of American art pottery, Brouwer Pottery has an important place in history. If you’re familiar with George Ohr pottery, you know his pieces are often quite intense, which, according to everything known about the Mississippi artist, isn’t surprising considering it mirrored his personality.

Brouwer Pottery is most often compared to that same intensity. In fact, some art pottery experts say Brouwer Pottery is an “acquired taste”. Maybe so, but for those who can appreciate the eclectic presentation, it truly is magnificent.

Theophilus Brouwer invented the open kiln glazing method. If you’re not familiar with this particular process, it includes metal tongs that were placed in the pieces as they were being fired. It became known as “fire painting” and the results are stunning. There are so many hues and color variations that come to life during this process that these artistic efforts are easy to recognize even today. Not only that but Brouwer made his own molds and did all of the casting.

Unlike other lines of American art pottery, damage isn’t necessarily a deal breaker for collectors and often isn’t a factor when it comes to the value. The stunning glaze more than makes up for small nicks, which is a good thing since the firing process didn’t bode well for hardening the pieces. That said, some believe the lighter colors consistently lacked vibrancy and as a result, were under appreciated – both then and now.

This is interesting considering some of those pieces are valued upwards of $10,000. Of course, pieces can still be found for less than $1000. The ease in which damage can be done to these pieces means those with no nicks or damage at all will likely continue to increase in the coming years.

There are plenty of stories about the eccentricities of the talent behind the pottery line and, like Ohr’s pottery, those who do know the backstory are that much more drawn to this pottery collection.

Roseville Pottery: Center Pieces

One of the most enjoyable aspects of owning American art pottery is the ability to define an entire room around a single collection. This week, we take a look at a few of the Roseville Pottery center pieces.

Roseville Pottery is one of the most collected art pottery names in the world. The many patterns and shapes make it a wonderful choice for so many. While some folks like the idea of treating their pottery collections as investments only, there are many of us who can’t imagine not having our collections front and center. One way of doing that is by creating showcases.

Roseville Pottery Pine Cone

There were several Roseville Pottery center pieces made, including a beautiful and vibrant blue centerpiece that commands attention from the Roseville Pottery Pine Cone collection. It’s a grand presentation without being overwhelmed and part of what defines it is the way the colors play off one another. The pine cone in the center of the design pulls together the blue base with the auburn hued interior glaze. You can be sure those who are fortunate enough to own these centerpieces use them at the most special family gatherings. In fact, some hostesses coordinate their entire table around this blue beauty. With blue dinnerware and brown linens, it really is a great way to present an elegant meal.

Roseville Pottery Dawn

Another favorite in the Roseville family is found in the Roseville Pottery Dawn collection. There is a soft pink centerpiece that’s round in shape with a square base and two candleholders on either side. It’s accented with lighter blues and a splash of pale yellow serving as the flower’s center. Think afternoon tea with the ladies and you’ll have an idea of just how lovely and stated this centerpiece is. It was also made with a yellow glaze, too.

Roseville Pottery Crystalis

Feeling especially creative? Why not take a few of your favorite Roseville Pottery pieces and combine them to define your own eclectic look? For a more contemporary look, take a few of your Roseville Pottery Crystalis vases and group them together. What makes this so interesting is the different muted shades, textures and varying heights of the vases in this particular collection. Even the glazes can add a certain contrast that will play a pivotal role in the final outcome. The point is to make it your own. From there, the rest of your table’s presentation should fall into place, whether you choose matching linens and plates or you choose to let your imagination rule the direction. The holidays are coming up – you just might be surprised to learn you already have this year’s center piece for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Van Briggle Tile

It’s long since been established Artus Van Briggle was a big contributing factor in what’s known as the Art Nouvea movement. Those who appreciate the Van Briggle Pottery style can easily see it replicated in contemporary pottery efforts. It’s what happened following his death that some may not be aware of, however.

The production of the Van Briggle tiles did not even begin until after Artus Van Briggle’s death in 1904. Of course, the tiles used during the construction of the Memorial Pottery Plant were made by Van Briggle pottery; that said, this information was not made public until after the Memorial pottery opened.

Artus Van Briggle

These titles were created using dry-press tile machines along with leftover glaze that had first been used to glaze other pottery pieces. Interestingly, the pottery company advertised how the various tiles were created: either as hand-pressed or machine-pressed. That kind of disclosure simply isn’t found in today’s marketing and advertising efforts. Another way of distinguishing the machine from hand pressed pieces is by looking at the colors and finishes. Machine pressed tiles have a single color with a matte finish. Those that are hand pressed will be decorated with several colors and sometimes with incised designs. Speaking of marketing efforts, the company made suggestions in its advertising that the tiles would be ideal for use on one’s porch, laundry rooms, kitchens, fireplace mantles and even as wall coverings. To help further their efforts, many public buildings had (and many still do have) Van Briggle tiles installed.

These tiles were offered at the Memorial plant, which was designed by the famous architect Nicholas Van den Arend, on Uintah Street in Colorado Springs. It should be noted, too, that few of these tiles were ever marked, so discerning tile numbers can be a bit tricky, unless, of course, you stumble across one of the rare ones with incised letters and numbers.