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 2012 American Art Pottery Convention

This is the time of the year that art pottery lovers come together. The 2012 American Art Pottery Convention is gearing up and will be in Cleveland Ohio later this month. We have the schedule of events for what’s sure to be a great time.

The dates for this year’s convention are April 19 through April 22.

A Note About the Hotel

The host hotel this year is Holiday Inn Cleveland South – Independence. It’s recently underwent a major renovation and now offers 364 stunning guestrooms and is one of the largest in the area. It’s located just 15 minutes from the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. It’s not too late to make your reservations, either. You can do so by visiting the website at hiindependence.com or by calling 216-524-8050

Schedule of Events

On Thursday, April 19th, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., there’s a tour of the Museum of Ceramics and Homer Laughlin Fiesta and China. If you’ve never visited the museum, it’s an absolute must. Even those who have spent a considerable amount of time in the art pottery family know the value of this tour. It’s sure to inspire.

The registration tables will also be open at 9 a.m.

At 6:30 p.m., a welcome reception and cocktail party is being hosted. (Note there will be a cash bar available). There’ll be prize drawings and giveaways and of course, plenty of networking opportunities.

On Friday, there’s plenty to do. There will be two seminars, with the first one beginning at 9 a.m. Understanding and Collecting Pillin Pottery by Jerry Kline runs until 10:15 and then, at 10:30, you can attend The Many Phases of Van Briggle. This seminar is hosted by Kathy Honea. It runs from 10:30 am. until 11:45 a.m.

The preview for the art pottery auction runs for two hours beginning at 2:30. There will also be a book signing and a “Meet the Authors” event between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The art pottery auction begins at 4:30 and your auctioneer is Peter Gehres.

Saturday provides one more seminar, Richard D. Mohr’s “Tiles I’ve Known and Loved”, which is slated for 9:15 a.m. and expected to run until 10:45 a.m.

For registered members of the convention, you’re afforded the opportunity to preview the AAPA Show and Sale beginning at 11 a.m. This runs until noon, at which time, the public is allowed to preview the sale.

On Sunday, the annual business meeting begins at 9:30 and runs until approximately 10:45. At 11 a.m., the AAPA Art Pottery Show and Sale runs until approximately 4 p.m.

If you have any questions regarding the convention, you can visit the American Art Pottery Association’s convention page at http://www.aapa.info/Convention/Convention2012/tabid/70/Default.aspx