In the previous incarnation of this website, I had a brief article on Glit Pottery, Iceland. At the time I could not find out much about the maker, except that early Glit works were heavily textured and utilised volcanic lava melted into the glaze as decoration. This early Glit pottery featuring pumice, lava rock and ash was not that well known at that time outside Iceland, but over the past few years has become very collectable.
The images below are of a large piece of Glit pottery I had in 2013.
Recently I found out more about Glit, when I came across the Design Museum Iceland, which in 2013 held a retrospective exhibition of works from Glit Pottery.
The information below is from the web page for the exhibition which you can read here:
The exhibition placed emphasis on the fact that despite its complicated history over many years of operation, Glit was adamantly devoted to utilizing Icelandic clay and ground minerals in production during its first decade of operation—especially hardened lava. Glit was, in many ways, well ahead of its time—making deep impressions in the history of Icelandic ceramic art.
The Glit Pottery LLC was founded on June 10, 1958 by Einar Elíasson, a businessman; Pétur Sæmundsen, then head of the Federation of Icelandic Industries and later head of the Industrial Bank (Iðnaðarbanki); and Ragnar Kjartansson, sculptor and ceramic artist. The pottery, operated at Óðinsgata downtown Reykjavik until 1971, when the decision was made to expand the company and move its operations to Höfði. The company’s time at Óðinsgata is often referred to as the “Old Glit”, and the company as it operated at Höfði called “The Big Glit.”
Glit’s administration had lofty artistic ambitions immediately upon the company’s founding. Ideas about expansion and exportation came early on, so that nearly from its inception the company operated under the highest of standards and was unyielding in their demand to withstand all comparison. Many of this country’s best-known artists of the 20th century worked at Glit at one point or another, remembering the place as an artistic breeding ground, especially during the time when Ragnar was in charge of the manufacturing workshop at Óðinsgata. Technological advances and the desire to increase production led Glit to shift gears, moving them from Iceland’s history of art and design and into its industrial history.
The exhibition “A Glimpse of Glit” included many items from the Pottery, both from Óðinsgata (where operations lasted between 1958-1971) as well as from Höfði. The company’s physical move reflected the changing emphasis of its production, as it took place at the same time as artistic direction shifted from Ragnar Kjartansson to the German ceramic artist Gerhard Schwarz, who took over in 1968.
Below are some of the shots of the Glit exhibition from the Design Museum Iceland website. The images give an insight into the huge range styles produced by this pottery over the years. The lava glazed piece I had would have been produced in the first 10 years of the operation of this pottery.
View all the images from the exhibition on the Design Museum Iceland website HERE
Below is an interesting short video about the musueum from their website via youtube: