If you’ve not visited it already, you need to get yourself over to Potsandpots.com. Aidan has spent many hours putting this together and the results are – not that I’m biased at all – a fantastic resource for the West German Pottery collector.
For each of the major West German Pottery manufacturers, he’s compiled a gallery of all of the pieces we have ever owned or sold and placed them into number order. As we find more and more, the galleries will be updated. This allows any collector to quickly skim through and identify a pot. It’s not as all-encompassing as the Pottery and Glass forum, for example, but it is an excellent reference point for the burgeoning collector. We both use it ourselves when trying to identify our own pottery!
Other features are tips and hints on how to identify the different factories; histories of the major factories; and a blog based around West German pottery price trends, where it’s been spotted and so on.
The blog covers the average price trends of WGP, which can be really useful if you’re deciding whether to keep or sell a piece!
If you need any help or information, visit Potsandpots.com and leave Aidan a comment. Alternatively, email him at: info (at) potsandpots.com.
We’re heading off to Germany again in a couple of weeks’ time, so expect an influx of pottery posts both on here and over there.
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)
It is officially half term, and for the first time in over a year, we’re actually not going to Germany. Indeed, it does feel a little odd to not now be rummaging through mountains of tat on our first port of call in some German town. Instead I am ensconced in a rather beautiful barn conversion in the middle of the countryside, about two miles away from Totnes. After one evening, I already smell like a log fire and I’m typing this looking out onto a beautiful courtyard; the sun casting speckled, mottled shadows through autumnal leaves.
We woke up yesterday bright and early, ready for our long drive down South. Several stop-offs had been planned, and more were added over the course of the day. After finally getting the rest of the luggage packed (honestly, you’d think we were moving, not just holidaying for a week), our first stop was the Post Office depot to pick up a parcel. After then realising the engine oil was low, we returned home where I discovered two things: firstly, my gorgeous Monsoon dress I’d bought from Ebay was new with its tags and it also had a small bug nesting in the package, causing me to get covered in brown bug juice and necessitating a trip indoors to wash my hands. This then prompted the second discovery: that we’d left the lights on, so it’s a good job we went back.
Our second stop was in Stoke to deliver this:
Nestled amidst the detritus of our holiday-making, this Scheurich was destined for an estate in Stoke. After delivering the pot to its new owners, we then called at the local Post Office to post the last batch of parcels from Wednesday’s Ebay sales. The Post Office (and the town itself) felt a little bit like the Land That Time Forgot. The Post Office even had its old sign still painted above the new one:
We had a little wander around the small high street, visited a couple of charity shops and a church sale. Despite the retroness of the area, pickings were slim in the charity shops. There were a couple of very retro dresses and jumpsuits in one, which as Aidan pointed out, were so retro they looked like fancy dress. The only things we bought were a pair of 1950s reindeer Christmas decorations and two homemade cakes from the church sale, costing the grand total of 50p.
On the motorway, we passed a very boring looking Vauxhall Corsa at one point that contained three elderly gentlemen inside it, all wearing different hats. One had a baseball cap, the other a flat cap and the third a trilby. Honestly, he looked just like Little Richard, same ‘tache and everything. We were convinced that they should have been in a Cadillac or something: not just a bog-standard car. Every time we caught up with them again, we were peering in and making up stories of what they could have been doing. Another stop off at my parents’ house in Stafford, admired the house and my mum’s beautifully displayed West German pottery, a drive past Walsall and a mental wave to Vintage Vix in Walsall, then we continued on to Gloucester Antiques Centre at the Historic Docks.
We’d been there previously, but a few years ago. What a change! All newly regenerated and the Antiques Centre seemingly much reduced in size:
The ground floor appeared to be filled with over-priced jewellery, but the other two floors were much more interesting. I found two ‘Glamour’ magazines from the late 1950s and, more excitingly, there were some amazing displays of West German pottery. Before being told that I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures, I managed to sneak in a few shots of the units.
They also had some fantastic glass and other retro pieces alongside the WGP:
Around the corner from this unit was an even larger and more stunning display. Unfortunately I only managed to get one photograph before I got told off for taking pictures…
Eventually we found a card for the proprietor, identifying it as Green Haze Retro. My pictures do not do the displays justice: they really were extremely well merchandised. And… we spotted stuff of ours. Literally ours! We began to recognise a couple of pieces that Aidan had sold in the last few months via Ebay, dismissed it as ‘they’re mass-produced so there’s bound to be some the same’ then Aidan spotted a metal dish and it had the same sticker on the bottom as the one he’d sold. Hey presto! Identified and uber-excited by this development. If you happen to spot this post, Mr Green Haze Retro, get in touch. We’d love to do some more business and help spread the West German Pottery world even further. You can visit the Gloucester Antiques Centre here and actually buy a few pieces online. Definitely worth a look as there were some gorgeous one: a giant Steuler and U-Keramik, vibrant, bright yellow Kreutz and a whole myriad of very high-quality pieces.
This was a separate unit. Green Haze Retro had very cleverly divided their goods into two decades: Fifties and Sixties. Apart from the gorgeousness of the displays, what also pleased me was the number of people who were lingering on these displays. I had to do some patient waiting around this one to get a picture without other people in shot. I was very tempted by the Dallas Simpson print you can just see on the floor here, but Aidan wasn’t too keen. I’ll just have to wait until we’re in our new house, then I can begin my own Montage of Misery wall.
After this very successful and enjoyable stop, our next stop was – finally – the cottage. It’s a beautiful place. Located behind some kind of stately home that’s been converted into flats, it has its own private courtyard, a large open living and dining space with the obligatory log fire. Since our last visit here, the kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms have been renovated and now it’s a beautiful space. Many pieces of quirky yet somehow country artwork and prints adorn the walls, and even dangle from the ceilings. It’s lovely. And I plan to spend a much time in front of the fire as is humanly possible…
Although contemporary cultures are no longer so dependent upon horses, in times past, horses were integral to the daily lives of many communities. Owning a horse gave you independence, allowed you to farm and therefore provide much of your own food; in many cultures’ mythologies - such as Egyptian, Greek and Norse – horses were thought to pull the Sun and the Moon across the sky to bring about Day and Night. No wonder then that horses have featured on much of the world’s artwork for thousands of years. Unsurprisingly, the many artists working with the West German Pottery factories looked to horses for inspiration too.
Judging by the glaze and design, I think this Scheurich 546 is a more modern vase. To my eye, it looks ’80s; I could imagine it surrounded by glass and chrome. Standing at a whopping 5ocms tall, it would certainly make an impact.
These rather more stylised horses are more to my taste. Something about their elongated legs and necks is more appealing than the gaudiness of the ’80s Scheurich. This style seems to be more popular with other designers too:
The stylised shapes are evident again in this wall piece by Schaffenacker, but there is also a suggestion of armed riders with spears. As well as providing a livelihood, horses traditionally were used in war time for transport and attack: sitting on a horse gives you a natural height advantage. The Greco-Roman edge style links these wall plates with these pieces:
These two are matching pots, possibly by Songden, but we’re not entirely sure. I love the top one’s design in particular, something about the shape and the horses’ chariots and headgear. The final horse-related pot looks very similar to these, but isn’t by the same factory.
One of the more interesting opinions I’ve read about horses is that more and more they seem like creatures of fantasy to children, as many will have only seen a horse on a film or as part of the folklore of an area. Personally, and despite this post, I’ve never been a massive fan of horses, but I agree that there is something majestic about them. The design of these pots seems to echo that idea: there’s a masculinity about these pieces, an almost regal, ancient feeling about them not in keeping with their relatively modern design and age. Perhaps this is why the motif of a horse recurs again and again. They are, if not truly immortal, then at least timeless.
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!
Well, we are now back safe and sound in our little house in Glossop after a stonkingly good trip around Deutschland. It really is becoming a home away from home. In the last few days of our trip, we stayed near to Bremen, scouting out the retro and vintage goods around there and up to Bremerhaven. Bremerhaven was a bit like Morecambe…
Bremen itself was fantastic. We didn’t get to see too much due to the driving-around-like-maniacs-whilst-looking-for-pottery aspect of the trip, but from what we saw it’s a place I could quite happily live in. True Mid Century design sprung up from every corner. The pizza place above caught my eye because of the giant Scheurich pot in the window. I assumed it was some kind of retro shop; slightly surprised when I realised it was just a takeaway.
It looked out onto a square, also demonstrating some Mid Century design and sculpture:
I like to imagine that inside each of these flats is a dark, wooden flooring; Scandinavian furniture and some ’50s ceramics. Unfortunately, I think the truth would be far from that vision.
Another amazing building we spotted was this church. We couldn’t go inside for a look-around, but Aidan did take some hasty shots for me, without the ‘Pin-hole’ setting that I played around with for the previous pictures:
We found some good things in Bremen and Bremerhaven, not just some retro design to ogle but objects to keep as well. My favourite place was a junk shop we stumbled upon in some back street that was run by a quite mad old lady, who happened to have a good eye for spotting more things we might like. Unfortunately, most of what she picked out for us was chipped or cracked… didn’t stop her barking ‘Funfziger Jahrer!’ at us and then laughing like mad when we smiled at her. Anyway, amongst other bits and bobs, we got these:
A J.H. Lynch print of ‘Tina’, which we already have a copy of, but was a bargain. And… a Scheurich 279 in a gorgeous ORANGE Lora glaze. It was cracked slightly, but for five Euros, I really didn’t care. It can sit next to my other one and help to look after the baby 414s.
On our final full day in Germany, Sunday, the weather was atrocious in the morning. So we made a quick decision to drive down to Cologne, where a 50s-70s festival was being held. All I can say is: heaven. It was amazing. Every single stall was like something out of my dreams and we were beside ourselves with joy.
You can see Aidan is eyeing up the wares here! Unfortunately, the prices were a bit higher than what we’d been paying, so we only bought a few pieces: tiny Otto and a few Scheurich 50s vases. We ummed and aahed about a pair of gorgeous teak, Danish chairs but then decided we didn’t have anywhere for them to go, nor could we really fit them into Wanda the Van-Car by this point. The festival was a lovely finishing point to the holiday though and set us up happily for the long drive back to Glossopdale.
Today, I was supposed to be unpacking Wanda but this plan has been thwarted by being unable to find the car keys! I should probably get looking for those now…
I’ve just been looking at our vast collection of pots and thinking about how varied the glazes can be. Now, these pots are not necessarily my favourites (though some of them definitely are!) – it was more a case of what was close to hand!
Like I said, not all of these are favourites but they do show the variety and breadth of glazes that can be created. I’m no expert, but some of these look incredibly tricky to produce. Many people in the West German Pottery world can mock Scheurich, but some of the most striking glazes here were produced by that particular factory.
We’ve finally booked our holiday this evening – we’re leaving on Sunday! – so I’m a bit excited by that. If I get time tomorrow, I’m going to scour my Woman’s Own magazines for holiday related pictures, articles and adverts. That depends on if I can get packed in time though. Wish me luck!
We’ve had the brown collection. Now here’s the white collection:
Many Scheurich pieces, a little Steuler (our first Cari Zalloni piece) and a cheeky little Wade who’s crept in somehow…
Yet another collection has been started as a result of the tripping to and fro from Deutschland: The Balloon Vases.
The latest one is this:
I wouldn’t recommend trying to tie these together on a piece of string, or popping them. However, you can try to make some good-looking displays:
I did say try to make some good pictures. You should know by now that my photography skills are not the best:
Possibly my worst attempt was this one:
I’m not sure why I share these rubbish photos sometimes!
My favourite one is probably either this newest one or the two larger ones. I remember how excited we were when we found the larger swirly-patterned one – it was from social warehouse place that felt like it hadn’t been touched in years. Another trip is booked in for April, so we’ll see if we can find any more then.
There’s a secret lurking around the West German Pottery world. If you can keep it quiet, I’ll let you in on it:
Many Roth vases are not actually that nice.
There, I’ve said it. Just felt that I needed to get that off my chest. Now don’t get me wrong, there are many, many lovely pots made by Roth:
This is one we brought back from Germany, but unfortunately managed to damage in transit. It still looks gorgeous though and is a good example of a nice Roth glaze.
Oh, go on then… this one’s alright too:
Unfortunately, despite some of the lovely glazes that Roth could make, they also made ones like this:
Some people love them. I personally h-h-hate them. Well, hate is a strong word. Perhaps I merely strongly dislike them.
Aidan’s been telling me off for saying that certain Roth vases are horrible – he thinks I shouldn’t publicly say it in case it hurts his chances of selling them on Ebay. However, I think if you like them, you like them and if you hate them, you hate them. What I say isn’t going to make a difference! Looking at pictures of this one might though:
Aidan has just informed me that he’s posted that one up on the Pottery and Glass forum and said it looks like it’s covered in slugs! So maybe he’s coming round to the ‘Ugly Vase’ idea after all.
If you’ve seen a particularly ugly vase, let me know. Share the link via the comments. Maybe we should have some kind of ‘Ugly Vase’ contest?