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Kahler HAK Denmark

The first few images below are of one of the most impressive and beautiful mid century pieces I have ever had from Kahler Pottery, commonly known as HAK (Herman A Kahler), Denmark. It is a huge stoneware bowl by any standards, with the most intense and luxurious shade of 1960s turquoise (35cm in diameter x 10cm high x 2.92kg)

It is signed underneath with the HAK Kahler mark and “Nils”- for its designer Nils Kahler.

Kahler Pottery in Denmark began circa 1840 and operated continuously until its closure in 1974. All pieces of Kahler Ceramics from this period have the HAK logo hand-signed, and often a a set of numbers (the pattern and shape number as per standard practice).

Nils Kahler (1906-1979) was 4th generation Kahler and in 1940 together with his brother ran the workshop. Nils was the artistic director and his pieces were all signed ‘Nils’ to the underside of the base. The brothers went their separate ways in 1968 and the family pottery closed in 1974 (although the HAK brand name has now been revived and rebranded, selling beautifully designed and made ceramics, including some of the historical forms from the original Kahler output – see their website here )

The marking of ‘Nils’ to the underside of pieces ceased in 1968. This piece dates sometime close to 1968 I believe.

The colour of this piece – the deep turquoise blue along with the herringbone pattern was a signature design of Nils Kahler, and one of the most coveted series of his designs.

Kahler Bowl - Nils Kahler 1960s

Kahler Bowl – Nils Kahler 1960s , Photo Ray Garrod

Kahler Bowl - Nils Kahler 1960s , Photo Ray Garrod

Kahler Bowl – Nils Kahler 1960s , Photo Ray Garrod

Kahler Bowl - Nils Kahler 1960s , Photo Ray Garrod

Kahler Bowl with HAK and Nils Cypher – Nils Kahler 1960s , Photo Ray Garrod

Below: 2 more pieces in the same style from the 1960s, by Nils Kahler Read more

Bjorn Wiinblad, Nymolle Calendar Plaques

This story is a charming personal interpretation, from a Danish perspective, about the Bjorn Wiinblad series of calendar plaques for Nymolle. It was orignally published on the original iteration of this site “Retro Pottery Net” in 2011. It is told by Karen from Denmark, who was of great assistance to me when I first started this blog/website way back in 2009, especially with translations, and the work of Bjorn Wiinblad which she admires and collects. 

Text Copyright: Karen Andersen, Denmark. Photographs Copyright Ray Garrod.

The month plaques are a series of twelve plaques that Bjørn Wiinblad designed sometime in the nineteen- fifties or sixties. The drawings tell us about the Danish weather and traditions in the twelve months of the year, but they are also a continuous story about a couple who fall in love and have a baby. Each plaque has a title written on the back, which will give you a hint on how the story progresses. These month plaques were sold from Danish stores for a period of about thirty years, so they are not that rare, but have continued  to be popular to this day. Each plaque has its own priceless charm and beauty which I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.

When I was a child, we had around six of the plaques hanging in our kitchen, since my mother thought that twelve plaques were too much on a single wall. I quickly discovered that they were just part of a story, so whenever I visited friends who had all the plaques, I scrutinized them with great interest, as I was trying to put the whole story together.

In my teenage years I began to wonder in which age the story takes place, but they dress so differently on the plaques that it is impossible. I guess it just takes place in Bjørn Wiinbad’s enchanted romantic world, with a different dress code and better weather than in everyday Denmark.

Today I have all the month plaques plus a few extra hanging in my own kitchen, so now I am able to share the whole story.

Bjorn Wiinblad Calendar Plaque

January – Contact

This is where the couple first meet. The young man is ice skating which is quite normal at this time of year. But the young lady is in some sort of ice sled that I have never seen in my time and age. It looks like a picture from around 1900 – but surely, a romantic scene for a first encounter. A quite morbid detail however, is all the fur with stuffed animal faces – two hats, a scarf and a muff.


Bjorn Wiinblad Calendar Plaque

February – Masquerade

Our couple have dressed up in February. Masquerades are not that common, so I guess this refers to “Fastelavn”. That is a Danish tradition where mainly the children dress up and “beat the cat off the barrel” – a medieval tradition that resembles the Mexican Piñata.


 

Bjorn Wiinblad Calendar Plaque

March – Victory

Still partying indoors I guess, since there are certainly no roses outside at this time of the year. The cupids suggest that this is where our young man wins the lady’s heart – and maybe some more….so let me just say that a baby is born nine months later.


Bjorn Wiinblad Calendar Plaque

April – Conflict

This is the only plaque where it rains – should this have been a realistic story, there ought to have been rain on at least two or three other plaques. My guess is that in April she finds out she is pregnant and he gets cold feet. The rain in April is certainly realistic, but so are their clothes. Gone are the flowers in their hair and the long dresses, they look just like an everyday young couple waiting at a bus stop. They are both holding out their hands to feel if the rain stops, so I guess there is hope for the future.


Bjorn Wiinblad Calendar Plaque

May – Harmony

Back together again – and the weather is how we always dream it should be in May. So they have gotten used to the idea of being parents it seems. Notice how Wiinblad has tried to incorporate the little holes at the top of the plaques in the motives. It works on this plaque, but on the April plaque the hole is too low be at the top of the umbrella. This annoyed me quite a bit when I was a child, but now I find it rather charming. Read more

Stavangerflint Sera – Inger Waage

This pattern caught my attention straight away, I thought it had to be a design by Inger Waage for Stavangerflint Norway, and my thoughts were correct. While Inger Waage is very well known for her iconic hand painted art-ware pottery, she also designed over 25 dinner ware designs, this being one of the better known designs. 

The design is called “Sera” and was designed by Inger in 1968. It was in production for several years into the 1970s when more colourful designs became the fashion.

The forms that the “Sera” design sits on I find equally interesting,  and they were used for several different designs at Stavangerflint during this era. The form designs were designed by Kåre Berven Fjeldsaa. The handles of the pots and jugs of this series of forms are quite different from anything else at the time, and they are so good in the hand – perfectly ergonomic and balanced. A lot of considered thought has gone into the form designs, which sadly we don’t see much after the 1970s in production ware. 

If you want to learn more about Inger Waage and Stavangerflint there is an excellent facebook page HERE

Stavangerflint Sera

Stavangerflint Sera – Inger Waage 1968

Stavangerflint Sera

Stavangerflint Sera

Stavangerflint Sera

Stavangerflint Sera – Image via “Phrantique” on Etsy