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Terra Ceramics Australia

Between 2009-2012 I was searching for information on some very interesting looking, modernist style pottery I had, labelled “Terra Ceramics”  – and I couldn’t find anything on the net. I held on the the pieces I had in the hope that one day information would come to light – which it now has. 

My first impressions were that the pottery was either Japanese or Eastern European. However all came to light last year when I came across another very impressive piece with the “Terra Ceramics” label and on searching the net again was very happy to find that the ever resourceful “Rameking” Blog had published a brief history of “Terra Ceramics” in 2013 which turns out to be an Australian based commercial Pottery, run by an exiled WW2 European refugee. You can read the full post about Terra Ceramics on that blog HERE

Terra Ceramics Australia - Orangic Divided Dish

Terra Ceramics Australia – Orangic Divided Dish – Photo Ray Garrod

From Rameking here is a brief summary:

“Terra ceramics was run by Bernhard Fiegel who arrived in Australia in 1939 as a stateless war refugee. ……Bernhard had trained as a potter in the Netherlands before coming to Australia. His ceramics business in Australia was set up in Ashfield, Sydney in 1946 and ran until the early 1980s. Bernard died in 1981, but just prior to his passing he had negotiated with a New Zealand company to use trademark “Terrra Ceramics” under licence. They initially used the same stickers as the ones from Australia, but later changed the label to “Terra Ceramics, New Zealand”

It is unclear if the company producing Terra Ceramics NZ is still operating or not – but they were in 2013 it seems. 

The output of Terra Ceramics was all slip-cast, and many pieces feature a hand painted design. The designs are painted with the skill and flair of a trained ceramicist. You can see from the pieces that the plaster moulds from which the forms were made were expertly and precisely formed. The forms created are also beautifully organic and flowing – but at the same time precise, and they have that very mid-century, slightly Eastern European flair about them I think.  

The output seems to have been utilitarian domestic ware – e.g. platters, teapots, cruets, lazy susans – but animal figurines (which were popular at the time) appear to have been an important part of the output from Terra Ceramics as well. During researching for this post it was also interesting to note that important and respected Australian Potter Bernard Sahm also worked at Terra Ceramics in 1956.

Over the past few years it seems a much clearer and documented picture of the work of Bernhard Fiegel is starting to emerge, and I think that the work of Fiegel is an important part in the jigsaw puzzle of Australia’s post-war ceramic history.

Terra Ceramics Australia - Organic Tri Divided Dish

Terra Ceramics Australia – Organic Tri Divided Dish – photo Ray Garrod

Terra Ceramics Australia - Organic Tri Divided Dish

Terra Ceramics Australia – Organic Tri Divided Dish – Photo Ray garrod

I have found several articles about Terra Ceramics on the Australian TROVE database. One is in an article from Women’s Weekly Australia 3rd Oct, 1956 –  featuring highlights of an exhibition of Australian Pottery at a Sydney Department store alongside pieces from Florenz and Studio Fisher.  The pieces from Terra Ceramics photographed in the article were a “lazy Susan” with individual dishes on a revolving wrought-iron base, and a condiment set on wooden tray. You can see the article archived in the TROVE database HERE . There is another entry on Bernhard Fiegel on TROVE here(part of which is the entry from Rameking mentioned above). And there are more tantalising snippets of information about Terra Ceramics if you search the Trove database.

There are a number of marks, stamps and labels on items from Terra Ceramics. The simplest is just an inscribed TC – perhaps this was the earliest mark before labels or stamps were produced – just a theory though.

The most common seems to be the label seen in the first photograph above, and often these pieces have kept their labels fortunately. 

(More photos after “read more”)

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Lapid Ceramics Reference Guide

Lapid Ceramics: A Melting Pot, Kobi Klaitman

The Lapid book is published! This is such exciting and long awaited news for collectors of Lapid Israel Pottery. I have written a brief history of Lapid pottery previously HERE which you might want to read before you read this post.  

After 8 plus years of extensive research by Kobi, the previously un-written story of this pottery is now properly catalogued, documented, and its story told. A story that came so close to being lost to history as so many potteries have in the past.

The book is thorough in its scope and breadth – covering everything from Lapid’s birth to its decline in the late 1980s. This first edition is in Hebrew only, but because of the beautiful design and photography, you can appreciate and learn a lot about Lapid simply from the photographs, promotional posters, illustrations, datelines, signatures and more. It is a hardback edition of 350 plus pages, and you don’t find many pottery reference books so beautifully designed as this one. 

….and that dust jacket is just genius!  – an unfolding chart of many of the Lapid shapes/forms – which are also found inside the book. 

One of the revelations to me was to find out the names of many of the designs that I have admired for years. Some of these designs have locally inspired names, such as “Ein Gedi”, “Carmel” “Negev’ and others are more general in nature like “Free” and “Arabesque”.

A thrill for me was to be able find out the names of many of the painters and artists who worked at Lapid and the dates they worked there. Lapid only started using decals on some of their ranges in the 1970s and 1980s (items such as dinnerware) but they never stopped producing their hand painted “Art Pottery”. 

While Lapid Pottery is popular, admired and collected in the West, over the past 8 years or so that I have been following the development of this book it has become apparent to me how important Lapid Ceramics is to the Israeli community from both a cultural and sociological perspective. It’s hard to think of any other pottery that is so important and significant to the people of its country. 

The book is available on eBay internationally if you search for “Lapid Ceramics: A Melting Pot, Kobi Klaitman”  or contact Kobi via the facebook page Lapid Ceramics. 

You can also find a very well written review/summary of the book and the story of Lapid pottery in English on the website of tabletmag.com here and an interview with Kobi about the development of the book in Hebrew (use Google to auto translate) HERE

Lapid Ceramics: A Melting Pot, Kobi Klaitman

Lapid Ceramics: A Melting Pot, Kobi Klaitman

Lapid Ceramics: A Melting Pot, Kobi Klaitman

Lapid Ceramics: A Melting Pot, Kobi Klaitman

Lapid Ceramics: A Melting Pot, Kobi Klaitman

From: Lapid Ceramics: A Melting Pot, Kobi Klaitman

Lapid Ceramics: A Melting Pot, Kobi Klaitman

Detail: Lapid Ceramics: A Melting Pot, Kobi Klaitman

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Michael Andersen Denmark – Marianne Starck & The Persia Glaze

While the award winning and amazing “Persia” glaze at Michael Andersen & Sons was developed in the 1930s by Daniel Andersen (1885-1959) and used on pieces from that date, I think it is the designs of Marianne Starck at MAS & Sons in the 1950s and 1960s where the Persia glaze is seen at its best.

This complex glaze turns out differently on each piece, depending on the glaze colourants used and style of decoration. Sometimes it appears like a pearlescent multi coloured micro-mosaic, and at other times as a more subtle pattern decoration with grey pearlescent hues. Often the pieces using this glaze have beautiful but subtle oxidisation of the glaze, giving some of the colours a slightly metallic appearance – especially noticeable on the red colour of the Viking longboat in the first image below. 

The glaze is also surprisingly smooth and silky to the touch. The Persia glaze was used on all types of forms – from utilitarian pieces to sculptural forms.

Below are some of my favourite pieces using the Persia glaze. 

Michael Andersen Denmark, Persia Glaze Bowl, Marianne Starck

Michael Andersen Denmark, Persia Glaze Bowl, Marianne Starck – Photo Ray Garrod

 

Michael Andersen Denmark, Persia Glaze Bowl, Marianne Starck

Detail – Viking Design on Michael Andersen Denmark, Persia Glaze Bowl, Marianne Starck

 

Michael Andersen Denmark, Persia Glaze Lamp

Michael Andersen Denmark, Persia Glaze Lamp, Marianne Starck, Photo Ray Garrod

 

Michael Andersen Denmark, Persia Glaze Dish, Marianne Starck

Michael Andersen Denmark, Persia Glaze Bowl, Marianne Starck, Photo Ray Garrod

Michael Andersen Denmark, Persia Glaze Dish, Marianne Starck

Michael Andersen Denmark, Persia Glaze Dish, Marianne Starck, Photo Ray Garrod

Michael Andersen Denmark, Persia Glaze Bowl,  Marianne Starck

Michael Andersen Denmark, Persia Glaze Bowl, Marianne Starck – On this piece the Persia glaze effect is much more subtle, because of the large areas of colour in the design. Photo Ray Garrod

Michael Andersen Denmark, Persia Glaze Dish, Marianne Starck

Michael Andersen Denmark, Persia Glaze Dish, Marianne Starck, Photo Ray Garrod

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