Weller Pottery: Sicard

Often, when the name Weller Pottery comes up, it’s equated with the the Lonhuda or even Louwelsa lines. Both included hues of brown, striking high gloss finishes and compelling shapes. Plus, these were two of the biggest lines within Weller Pottery – in the Louwelsa line alone, there were more than 500 shapes and sizes.

But it was the Sicard line, made between 1902 and 1907 that many insist was the crown jewel within the Weller Pottery family. What many aren’t aware of is this was developed by Weller in an effort to keep up with two competing potteries – both of which were bigger and more well known. To up the ante, Weller Pottery met the demands of the artist of whom the line is named after. Jacques Sicard was approached by Weller with a request to develop the line. Sicard agreed to do so, but only if the pottery company would also hire his assistant, Henri Gellie.

Weller Pottery agreed to bring both men on board and even offered a bonus if both met the terms of a five year contract. It was a deal seemingly made in heaven if one’s judging by the divine pieces found in the Sicard line. There is a certain mysterious aura surrounding this line – and it’s due to the nature of the artist. Whether it was a sense of not wanting anyone critiquing the art in its developmental phases – the decorative methods were ones Sicard created – or some mischievous nature meant to increase curiosity, Sicard often locked himself and his assistant in their studio. When the two were in a group, they often spoke in French, leaving those within ear shot slightly paranoid that they were the topic of conversation.

There were several color combinations and it’s the iridescent glaze that sets this collection apart. The artist made jewelry boxes, candy dishes, vases and even plaques and the line in its entirety has only increased in value over the years. Some Sicard vases are valued at $12,000 or more. The heights in the vases vary greatly, which, for collectors, makes for perfect display presentations.

The five years Sicard and Gellie spent at Weller Pottery were well spent. Once the contract was up, however, the pair returned to France.

The Unusual Faces in American Art Pottery

Most of us think beautiful florals, dramatic etching efforts and stunning glazes when discussing American art pottery. But this art form isn’t without its unusual pieces.

The Faces in Art Pottery

Art pottery is defined by numerous companies and artists, each of whom brought their own unique take on this line of art. Many artists mastered the beauty of detailed florals, others were experts in glaze lines and shapes. There were those rebels, however, that brought to the table anything but a “flowery” finished look. Many think of George Ohr whenever “rebel” and “art pottery” are used in the same sentence. But there were other streaks of eclectic lines that dot the landscape. Think faces and busts. They’re all quite dramatic and always the conversation piece of any collection.

Weller Dickens Ware, 2nd Line

It’s difficult to find the right adjectives to describe many of the pieces in this line of Weller Pottery. Unusual, exciting and some might say a bit disturbing; not that “disturbing” is used in an insulting manner, it’s just that the tobacco jars that take the shape of very detailed men’s faces can be a bit offsetting.

“The Skull”, as one of the Weller Pottery tobacco jars is called, has no eyes, though appears to be smiling. It can be a bit of a jolt. It’s believed there are three in existence and their value goes up considerably if you come across one with a finial that is a miniature skull. Another interesting face or bust is found in “The Turk”. The detail is very life-like with a permanent snarl on the fellow’s face, deep-set eyes and flared nose. The dark gloss adds to the dramatic presentation.

Also in this line you’ll find “The Irishman”. Most likely, there exists an “R.D.” as the signature. This guy has an upturned nose, heavy eyelids, lines around his mouth and thick eyebrows. Let’s just say he’d make a fine addition to your Halloween décor – as long as you keep him in a safe place as his value is considerable.

This is just one line of many that include very detailed faces. It speaks volumes of the talent these artists possessed and talent that they were willing to pour into their creations, unlike many of the manufactured pieces we see in a more contemporary society. To know the history of these Weller pottery pieces is to love them.

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American Art Pottery Shows

One of the most important things art pottery lovers do to stay current on various goings-on is to attend American art pottery shows.

Each year, there are hundreds of conventions, seminars and shows for all things art pottery. Some are established events that draw people from all over the world while others tend to stay small and target regional fans and collectors. A quick search and a bit of research is all it takes to find the many upcoming shows, which is exactly what we did. Here are three annual shows that grow each year – in vendors and visitors. All are worth attending and are ideal venues for networking with others who share the same appreciation as you.

Zanesville Pottery Lovers Festival 2012

Every year in July, thousands show up to participate in the Zanesville Pottery Lovers Festival. It’s an exciting four day event in Zanesville, Ohio that allows endless networking opportunities, art pottery auctions and sellers who are eager to strike deals. The host hotel allows sellers to set up their wares in their rooms, where buyers and other collectors mingle in and out of the many impromptu shops. The experience itself is certainly worth it, and finding that rare Roseville or Weller pottery piece you’ve been searching for is the icing on the cake.

American Art Pottery Association Annual Convention

Another big player in the art pottery arena is the AAPA and it too hosts its own annual show in late April/early May. It takes place in Philadelphia. If you’re an AAPA member, you’ll enjoy a discount on your tickets and like the Zanesville festival, there are auctions and seminars by some of the nation’s leading art pottery experts. Any new book releases in the arena usually means an opportunity for you to get your copy autographed by the author, whoever it might be. Also, a bus tour is available and highly recommended, especially if you’ve never toured the Trenton City Museum within the Ellarslie Mansion.

Bay Area Pottery Show

This annual event occurs in February in San Jose, California. This is a good choice because of the versatility of the pottery. From Van Briggle to Brush McCoy, you’re sure to find your favorite pottery while discovering a new favorite in the process. Take advantage of the many lectures and talks that are part of the offering, too.

These are just a few of the many events and again, a quick search will reveal those in your region of the country. The benefits are many and these shows are always an easy way to strengthen your network while meeting new people in the process.

The Unusual Weller Muskota Art Pottery

The Weller Muskota line of art pottery offers an unexpected presence, partly due to its large and varied offerings and partly because of its many themes.

Production on the Weller Muskota line began in mid-1915 and while there was no definitive theme or direction the artists chose, it still stands out as one of the more interesting Weller pottery lines. There were many glazes, color schemes and subjects that are covered, including animals, children and even the occasional abstract.

There are ribbons of several other Weller lines that appear to have served as inspiration. The Weller Brighton line, which also was introduced in 1915, might have inspired a few of the swans and flower frogs while the Copra, known for its lovely florals, very well could have lent to the line a more feminine touch.

It’s true this line doesn’t have the dramatic iridescent finish like the Weller Sicard, which is absolutely stunning, nor does it have the stunning high glossy finish found on the Weller Etna, but there’s no denying the eclectic appeal that draws new fans all the time.

There’s a whimsical double bud vase with two cats resting on the fence that links the vases. It’s an unusual choice, but the originality is part of its appeal. Also, there are several flower frogs, too. From a green-hued mushroom, complete with a fly resting on top to a muted red lobster flower frog, it could be said the charm is found in the unexpected. You’ll discover a figurine with a boy who’s fishing, a nude figure that rests against rocks, a pair of sweet chicks and no shortage of birds and cats.

If you’re a Weller Pottery fan, you already know the pull this line has and if you’re new to this particular American art pottery, be sure to explore the Weller Muskota line.

“I Can Smell What Color It Is” – Weller Art Pottery

Most of us know our jobs quite well. With so much time spent on career choices, it’s likely you believe you can do some part of your job with your eyes closed; you’re just that familiar with it. That was often the case with some of the most respected potters responsible for creating those incredible American art pottery lines over the years. One Weller Pottery artist, Art Wagner, knew the Weller Lamar pottery line so well that he once said, “I’ve been using these lusters for such a long time that I can tell by smell what color it is without looking at the label on the bottle.” That’s a true testament to the level of commitment that not only Art Wagner felt, but artists and potters throughout the industry as a whole. This week, we take a look at two of the Weller Art Pottery lines and showcase their distinct nuances and attention to detail.

Weller Pottery Burnt Wood Line

This line of Weller pottery presents just the way the name implies: burnt wood. This middle period line is still one of the most sought after collections in the art pottery world. The tan coloring and dark brown banding, usually found along the top and bottom of each, uses smart shadowing efforts that adds dimension to the finished product. The etching efforts are subtle, though consistent, and the result is a very intricate and eye catching effort. The fact that there exists varying hues of browns and tans makes this entire line quite versatile. Several pieces grouped together makes an interesting and rich showcase and incorporating just a bit of color, maybe from the Weller Floretta line, or any other Weller pottery, links the rich design elements seamlessly.

Weller Pottery Chase Line

If the Burnt Wood is all about detailing efforts and confident etching, the Weller Chase line is focused on those subtle matte finishes and slightly raised designs versus those carvings found in Burnt Wood. Also, where you’re likely to discover several shades in not only Burnt Wood, but other Weller Pottery lines, Chase is more about simple though distinctive color combinations that come together to define truly elegant and eye-pleasing results. This middle period collection embodies fox hunters and dogs and while the navy blue is the dominating background color, there were others used in tandem with the ivory detailing.

These are just two of the Weller Pottery lines. Many collectors have long since appreciated the eclectic combination that defines this American art pottery, which might explain its increasing rarity. Still, if you can locate it, odds are, it’s going to be a wonderful investment and a beautiful addition to any collection. Take a look at the Just Art Pottery Weller Pottery page and see for yourself just how incredible the entire collection is.

The Weller Flemish Art Pottery

Weller Pottery just might be in the top three lines of American art pottery when it comes to versatility. There are more than 85 lines in what’s referred to as the “middle period”, not to mention the more than 20 lines in the early period. With so many variations, one can imagine the creativity necessary to ensure a unique look and feel to each one. Weller Pottery is proof it can be done. In recent years, there’s been a healthy interest in this Zanesville pottery and as a result of that demand, the price to own it has grown as well. Anyone who appreciates art pottery surely has their favorite Weller line. This week, we take a look at the Weller Flemish.

Rudolph Lorber was the designer who introduced this eclectic line in the early 1900s. It was produced until around 1928 and is recognized by its outdoor themes, such as fishermen, birds, leaves and flowers. This just might be one of the most versatile Weller lines. There are no consistent colors, unlike many other pottery companies; to the untrained collector, it might be a bit difficult to differentiate from other Weller Pottery pieces.

For instance, a Flemish jardiniere and pedestal might have an ivory background that’s contrasted with deep pink four-petal flowers or it could very well have shades of red and blue in the form of birds and Zinia-type flowers in the background. The glazes are remarkable and the textures provide a dimension that’s not always a part of other Weller lines.

There are several umbrella stands in this particular collection, each with its own distinct presentation, including one that has ridges and elegant swirls with tiny red roses that set off the decorative efforts for a more feminine look, though is unmarked. Still another umbrella stand reveals a series of graceful women, each in an ivory dress, and holding vines of purple flowers (wisteria, perhaps?). The raised elements add a certain depth and the glazing is semi-matte; this one happens to be marked.

If you come across a Weller Flemish piece, odds are, your going to be drawn to it. Each is beautiful in its own way and definitely worth owning.