What can I say? It’s as good an excuse as any to show off pictures of West German Pottery…
If you’re interested in finding out more about West German Pottery, my partner, Aidan, has been working very hard on a website called Potsandpots.com. It’s definitely worth having a look. I know I’m biased, but I do think it’s rather good!
- Cue Carstens (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
- Autumnal Pottery (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
- Sunshine and Lightness Here… Really (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
Last week was spent frantically sorting out and preparing for the Saturday Sale in Glossop of West German Pottery. Saturday morning dawned and everything was ready:
Wowie Zowie owners Jenny and Goff were first in at the crack of dawn… well, not quite. But they were first in as the shop needed to be opened. A quick whizz round and they’d grabbed a gorgeous lamp, a fantastic Italian planter that we were quite partial to ourselves and some other lovely West German Pottery. I’ve said it before (and I’ll say it again!), but their shop really is the embodiment of all of my retro shop fantasies. Every time, and I do mean every single time, we go in there, we’re blown away by how fantastic it is. I love the fact that some of our stuff ends up in there.
Our neighbour, Helen, was next through the doors and I was more pleased than anything else really that she bought one of the pots! I love it when we sell something to friends and family; it’s like a little confirmation that it’s not just us and a few others who like this stuff AND that we might have a chance of making a go at this as a real business. Helen’s pot is already in her window and I like that the WGP world is spreading through Glossop. She bought an excellent 1950s Scheurich Heinz Siery piece to put her flowers in. I’ll grab a picture one day, if she’ll let me!
After that, Julian, Lisa and Chris were the next to arrive – and were amongst the last to leave! As always, lovely to see them and this time, Chris bought some pieces of pottery as well!
Chris is holding the pieces he bought and Lisa is holding what has been christened Julian’s ‘Chef Hat’ Carstens. They bought some other lovely things as well, but I won’t give them away. Instead, you can go and visit Lisa’s blog here and take a look for yourself.
Lots of people came on the day, virtually everybody we’d invited. Unfortunately, in all of the excitement, I completely forgot to take many pictures! Richard Holland, who owns the largest Ceramano collection in the world, came along with his friend Janet, who professed herself to not actually being a collector. I think we may have changed her mind though as she left with more than Richard! Unsurprisingly, Richard bought a large Ceramano piece, along with a small Ilkra. Janet bought a few gorgeous 1950s pieces by Scheurich and Bay, including that fabulous orange Bay Contura piece that I loved; and a few of the glass solifleur vases. Steve and Lesley from Derbyshire came over – they’d already bought a few bits and bobs from Aidan’s Ebay: penguinaidan. They took one of the amazing Scheurich huuuuuuuuuge Wien pots! Those are seriously amazing pots:
Stuart Brownrigg, who runs the most amazing West German pottery stall at Bygone Times, turned up carrying a bottle of German champagne and some delicious-looking rhubarb chutney from his wife, The Kitchen Witch. We should be having some of that for our lunch today! Stuart bought a fab Ruscha 313 with a crackle glaze and… I’ll be honest, I can’t remember what else! He was another who managed to escape the photographs! He did provide us with some information regarding pots we’d still not managed to identify. As always, it was fantastic seeing him… and as to re-use a thought, you really should get yourself up to Bygone Times to see his stall if you haven’t already. Trust me, it’s worth it.
We also met Kevin Thorpe and his wife, Joanne for the first time. Kevin is a relatively new collector, but yet someone else from the North West who has discovered the love for West German pottery. Thankfully, he was more than happy for me to take a picture:
As well as the few smaller pieces in the box, Kevin and Joanne bought two massive Scheurich vases with psychedelic flowers on the sides. I absolutely love how pleased Kevin looks in this photograph! Really lovely to meet them both, and again, very glad that we had something that they liked.
Stefan, a recently met collector was last through the doors and he was like a whirlwind too! That seemed to be the theme of the day, regardless of how long you spent. At one point, we had that many people in the front room, even I had to make a retreat to the kitchen!
More than anything, it was just such a lovely feeling to have brought so many people together who enjoy looking at and chatting about West German pottery. I was ever so excited – though this might have had as much to do with the amount of diet coke and tea I’d drunk by the end of the day! By five o’clock, the last person had left and we were left with a still very full living room, a few more pennies in the pocket and a extremely satisfying feeling of having made a little mark on the WGP world. A massive thanks to everybody who made the huge effort to come along: Jen, Goff, Helen, Julian, Lisa, Chris, Steve, Lesley, Richard, Janet, Kevin, Joanne, Stuart, Stefan and Dave (dragged along by Helen, probably!). We promise to try and make it at least an annual event.
Not deliberately patriotic, but still a pretty impressive collection all the same. All of these pots are for sale on Saturday. Even if you can’t make it, enjoy the pottery porn!
This looks to be a fantastic exhibition. Featuring – quite literally – more than just ‘Fat Lava’, the exhibition will feature unusual, rare and studio pottery. Details from the Pottery and Glass forum are below:
More than Fat Lava Mid Century & Modern German Ceramics
Adres: M.v.B. Bastiaansestraat 15
1054 RS Amsterdam
Exhibition to be opened by Mark Hill
The exhibition will focus on companies like Schramberg, Schäffenacker, Kummer, Ruscha, Kerstan, Kupfermuhle Keramik, Keto, Kechle etc, bringing a different feel to the West/East German experience. We will be showing a lot of pieces which are rare and difficult to find. There will be Fat Lava pieces on display also from Roth, Ruscha, Carstens, Kruetz, Otto, ES-Keramik, Ceramano to name but a few.
Launching at the exhibition will be a book dedicated to German Studio Pottery, called Bauhaus Generated by Kevin James Graham which
introduces over 700 Studio, Atelier and Töpferei potters.
Puntwg hosts a wide range of artisans, working in a variety of mediums http://www.puntwg.nl/archief.html
June 18th Opening 3 pm
June 19th 12pm-5pm
June 25th 12pm-5pm
June 26th 12pm-5pm
July 2nd 12pm-5pm
July 3rd 12pm-5pm
A Emiel Monnink & Kevin Graham Exhibition
For more information, visit the Pottery and Glass forum and talk to ‘Madbrit’ A.K.A Kevin Graham or message him @Spritzdekor on Twitter.
Unfortunately, I can’t go to this because of holiday constraints with school. However, I am massively looking forward to seeing pictures from the exhibit! I know many of Kevin and Emiel’s private collections will be shown. This is one of the pieces that I would love to see in real life:
Let me know if you go, won’t you?
- From Spritzdekor to Madbrit: The Many Personas of Kevin Graham (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
I’m not going to ask why, but Aidan is finally coming round to the beauty of ’50s pottery. Not so long ago, he proclaimed,
“I just can’t see what you like about it…”
Now, these are two of his favourites:
I love the huge one but I’m not too keen on the small, pink one. The big grey pot was bought from the most sour-faced woman in the world! She pretty much harrumphed the price to us and looked like we’d slapped her in the face when we said we’d take it. Admittedly, it was in our (very) broken, poor German; perhaps she thought we were taking the mick? Who knows.
Humongous grey is Scheurich 270-50. It’s teeny-tiny-tidgy pink pal is 271-22.
- Some Scheurich Stunners (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
- Scheurich Lora ‘Flame’ Glaze (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
No words necessary (apart from these); just pretty pictures of perfectly proportioned pottery.
Aidan tells me that one’s a high form number for Scheurich, so there’s potential for it to be a later-made form.
That particular pot was amazing on the journey from Germany – it was like the ceramic equivalent of Mary Poppins’ carpet bag. We must have wrapped and stored about twenty other pots inside it!
Gorgeous, gorgeous glaze on that one.
Some people can be a bit snooty about Scheurich as it is one of the more recognisable factories now; it seems that the average person who’s just got into WGP flock towards Scheurich like magpies. It’s a bit like music lovers: they only like a band until it hits the main stream big time. Perhaps Scheurich is the Coldplay of the West German pottery world. Whatever. In my opinion, they still make some lovely glazes and attractive forms.
And let’s be honest – I bet we all bought a Scheurich vase for our first one…
- Scheurich Lora ‘Flame’ Glaze (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
- Scheurich 414: Updating a Look (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
- I thought I saw a Scheurich 414… (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
This is what Goff at Wowie Zowie christened us last week, leaving a message for the ‘West German Hotline’. It did make me laugh!
Anyway, Julian and Lisa visited last night along with their son, Christopher (a WGP expert in the making!) to look at the fruits of the latest German Road trip.
We chased my parents away to the local pub, and spent a good hour looking at the pottery with Julian, Lisa and Christopher. I always like it when someone comes to buy pots. Obviously, there’s the financial renumeration that’s a factor, but I like that I get to see them anew again, through somebody else’s eyes.
These were their buys:
I do love that Scheurich one so I’m glad it’s gone to a good home.
I think Christopher would probably have liked this one as well:
Or maybe a Roth 4301 that I don’t currently have a picture of.
Lovely to see them as always and always brilliant to sell pottery to such enthusiastic collectors of West German ceramics.
Today has been a pretty good day. My parents were visiting, so we took them to Levenshulme Antiques Market, a disastrous trip to the (closed) Failsworth Antiques Mill and then on to Lily’s Vegetarian Restaurant in Ashton-Under-Lyne. We had quite a big lunch which was delicious! Then we bought lots of Asian food from the supermarket next door.
My parents also bought a couple of pots from us!
So, a good weekend for WGP selling all in all – I was quite excited to sell my parents pots! I can’t quite put my finger on why I was so excited by my parents buying some vases, perhaps it’s made it feel a bit more real; even they are willing to part with money for them from us!
PS., Forgot to mention: Julian’s pictures of his and Lisa’s gorgeous collection are up on Flickr here. Definitely worth having a look and drooling!
I tend to like the Dumler & Breiden, Carstens and Scheurich pieces of West German Pottery in any batch that we bring back from Germany and I often gravitate towards posting pictures of them. For once, I thought I’d share some from factories that many people rate highly; yet, I often ignore. First up is Ruscha.
Ruscha was founded in 1948 by Rudolph Schardt, the name comprising of the first few letters of his name. The factory closed in 1996. After this, Scheurich bought the designs and the name and still produces limited runs of items under the Ruscha Art name.
Cilli Wörsdörfer ran the art potter section in the early 1950s and produced famous designs such as Zebra and Milano. The most influential move forward in glaze was made by Otto Gerharz, the production director from 1951 – devising the vulcano glaze which marked a move towards dripped glazes.
Kurt Tschörner created most of the shapes, including the famous 313 (which was released in 1954):
Other designers included Ernst Borens (1958-61), Hans Welling (mid 1950s), Adele Bolz (1959-60), Heinz Siery (1960s and 70s) and Jutta Johanni (1970s).
All information collated by Aidan from various magnificent sources including:
Ruscha items are almost always in white clay. There are rare examples of brown/red clay but this would only be when sources ran out and alternatives were sourced rather than go out of production. Marks are a mixture of incised and embossed. Unlike other WGP where the form number indicates the height of the piece, Ruscha’s different forms had different sized version indicated by a single number.
Items are never marked Germany or West Germany. Many just have the form number and no size notation. Some series were labelled with a letter prior to the form number such as R, G, B, H, L, K and S. It may be that there was a complete A-Z of these which have not been discovered.
Usually one number was reserved for one form and re-use of form numbers was not used to the extent of Scheurich and Bay. Sometimes, however, numbers were re-used after a number of years. In the picture above, the Ruscha 304 was one such reuse.
On this one, you can just about see the form number with its ’1′ indicating that it would have been the smallest size in this form:
People seem to love Ruscha pieces. They do seem to be of better quality than other factories, more subdued in colour so perhaps can be considered more ‘stylish’ as a result of that. I must admit, I don’t get that excited by the vast majority of Ruscha pots. I do like the red and black one above, but I’m not massively overwhelmed by them. The 313, for example, does not send me into a mouth-frothing tizzy at the sight of it. Well, no pot does really, but you get the point.
Having said that, I do like that green one.
And I suppose those blue 333 and 845 pots are quite nice…
All new pots courtesy of the February Road Trip. That only leaves about 230 to get through… Aidan spent all of yesterday morning photographing and cataloguing all of them so massive thanks for those pictures! They’re better than my usual efforts, that’s for sure.
That one’s a beast: we didn’t even realise it was Ruscha at first. Aidan managed to ID it using old Ruscha catalogue pages that somebody posted on the Pottery and Glass forum.
So, Ruscha: Love or loathe them? Like them or leave them?
In all their glory! Well, not quite all of them. Some bits and bobs were hiding behind me:
The two square ceramic wall hangings (four in each set, sun designs, red and blue – to make it clear which ones I mean!) were found within an hour of each other and *cough, cough* both by me. Which is a rare occurrence, I can tell you. My hunting style is a quick, excited whip round the shop seizing upon the brightest, boldest pieces like an over-exuberant magpie. Whilst Aidan is the proverbial tortoise: he takes his time and scours each shelf carefully, unearthing treasures that I’ve completely missed. He usually follows this up by pointing out that my find has a got a chip the size of my face on it. But not with these two; oh no! I found them fair and square. I take my small triumphs when I can.
It took a bit of persuading to get Aidan to agree to the giant, orange Scheurich at the back. However, I think he was mollified somewhat when he realised we could virtually fit the rest of the KA’s contents inside it. This is where the magical packing skills of the Holt family come into play. It’s a certain skill that only the men of that family have and has a strict set of rules:
- Don’t let anyone else touch the packing area. That means anyone.
- Tut and sigh: loudly and frequently.
- Eschew any usual forms of packing material, i.e., cardboard boxes or bags. Instead, use things such as the promotional materials from the nearest Lidl to cushion your carefully arranged items.
- Carefully arrange your items by constructing what appears to be a large, ceramic jigsaw.
- Pack pots inside pots inside pots inside pots inside pots… (you get the picture)
- Don’t let anyone touch the packing area. This is important enough to be reiterated.
There are more but you get the picture. Speaking of which:
One of the worrying aspects of these trips is that we are getting to the point where we are buying duplicates of previously bought pots. Whilst at one time we used to get excited by the mere hint of an orange, foamy glaze and couldn’t believe our luck at some of the finds, now we are actually, dare I say it, becoming a bit blase about some of them.
Take the bulbous brown and orange Scheurich in the picture above. We bought the exact same pot on our first ever trip to Germany, fairly early on in the holiday. We were ecstatic and couldn’t belive our luck at finding it. This time, we deliberated over it for about five minutes of whether it was worth buying again or not. We’ve still got the first one in our bedroom!
Is that all of my hastily taken shots done? I think it is. You may be interested to know just how we’ve managed to fit all of these in our house. Here are the current sites:
- The living room – on, inside, under and in front of the sideboard. In every corner. On and in front of the hearth.
- The kitchen – on and under the kitchen table. On top of the bookcase in there.
- The bedroom – inside, in front of and besides the laundry box. In every corner.
- The bathroom – on top of the weird sticky out bit that goes over the stairs.
- The spare room – on top of and in front of a set of shelves.
Yes, we are probably the only people in existence who store West German Pottery in the bathroom.
Aidan is currently in the process of photographing and cataloguing all of the pots. I intend to steal his pictures and post them up as he goes along.
Enjoy this one as a sneak preview (I’m into these at the moment):
The next trip to Germany is booked! We’re going during February half term and I can’t wait already. This time we’re going to expand our search area a bit further East; venture out of the Ruhr and Rhine areas!
This Scheurich beast was bought on the last trip and I think it spent some time on my lap, before being relegated to the back of the car and stuffed full of other pots. Unfortunately, it’s overglazed on the bottom so I haven’t got the number at the moment. I’ll ask on the Pottery and Glass forum. It’s also got a big crack on the bottom, which is annoying, but doesn’t really detract from it. It really is a beast of a pot though: probably about 45cms tall!
Lora glaze, also known as ‘Flame’. Developed in the 1960s and it’s a very popular one. I’ve also got a 414 in this – I’d like some more!