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Phyl Dunn, Australia 1960s.

Wax resist on pottery is a technique whereby wax is used to prevent glazes or slips from adhering onto the clay body or previous coating of glaze when a second or third layer is applied. The wax “resists” the second glaze from adhering, allowing the painted design to show.  Japanese potters call the technique “Ronuki”

The technique often results in glaze beading of the overlayed colour, which adds to the decorative effect of the technique. Beautiful effects are possible with the combining of glazes. Especially where a dark glaze is the first glaze applied, then painting a wax design and follow by applying a lighter coloured glaze.

Some of my favourite wax resist pieces were made by Australian Studio Potter Phyl Dunn (1915-1999).

Her glazes from this period have the most beautiful silky smooth texture, and display a fresh experimental approach to the use of colour and pattern. They are usually very simple pieces where it can be seen she was experimenting with Calligraphy as a design.

After formal training in London in 1954-1955, Phyl returned to Australia in 1956, marrying Studio Potter Reg Preston in 1958. At this time also “Potters Cottage” was established. Potters Cottage was a co-operative founded in Warrandyte in 1958 for the purpose making and selling handmade Australian pottery.

The five founding members from 1958 were Reg Preston, Phyl Dunn, Artec Halpern, Gus McLaren and Charles Wilton; Their shared idealistic belief that modern, handmade pottery could enhance the quality of contemporary life was central to their philosophy.

In the 2 earthenware pieces by Phyl Dunn below from the same period, (early 1960’s) the use of colour is beautifully restrained. Phyl was also a very competent colourist, and combining this skill with wax resist, seems to add a freshness which wasnt present in much of the “heavy” studio pottery of this period.

In 1967 she moved from earthenware pottery to stoneware, and in 1982 Phyl and Reg set up a studio in Woolamai in Victoria, where she worked until 1987. I think these early wax resist pieces by Phyl are amongst her best work however.

Phyl Dunn, Wax Resist Jug

Phyl Dunn, Wax Resist Design Jug

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Poole Atlantis

Poole “Atlantis” was the name give to a series of hand pieces from the Craft section of Poole Pottery, under the direction of Guy Sydenham starting in 1969 and going into the 1970s.

There is very large variety of forms and decoration because they were handmade….and they are now relatively hard to get hold of, and often expensive.

3 clay bodies were used – either a red clay, stone coloured body or black clay body. Some pieces were carved, some were glazed, some were both carved and glazed.

The first image below is of a piece I recently came across, made and signed by Guy Sydenham.

Poole Atlantis Vase

Poole Atlantis Vase

Poole Atlantis Vase

Poole Atlantis Vase –

Poole Atlantis Vase

Poole Atlantis Vase – Base Shot, Guy Sydenham Cypher

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Zeuthen Ceramics

Zeuthen Keramik was founded in 1946 at Gentofte, near Copenhagen, by Normann Zeuthen. It traded under the named Zeuthen Keramik from 1948. The workshop employed around 10-15 people at its peak. Some of the known potters who spent some time there in the apprenticeship system in its early years were Ady Kroyer and Birte Vedel Howard who both went on to have successful careers as potters in Denmark.

Zeuthen pottery has become well known for its functional and domestic works in red clay decorated with motifs of flowers, stars, dots and other decorative motifs in white raised glaze or slip trailed glaze on the unglazed smooth red clay. Going by the amount of Zeuthen work still available online and in antique stores their output was very high….and very popular to this day.

Pieces from Zuethen are simply signed “Zuethen Denmark” in blue to the base. Sometimes you might find a printed paper label as well.

I haven’t been able to find a date for when the pottery ceased operating – any help with this appreciated.

Edith Nielsen was the primary designer at Zeuthen responsible for this distinctive style which became the Zeuthen style.

Zeuthen Denmark

Zeuthen Denmark, Large Vase

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Arabia Finland Kauppatori

A superb recent find. At first glance I thought this was a variation of the iconic “Emilia” series by Raija Uosikkinen, but it turns out to be from a series of designs called “Kauppatori”, in the same drawn style as Emilia but quite different when you look at it more closely.

The design seems to be very rare, and from what I can see only on 2 forms – both deep serving plates.

It is named after the famous Market Square in Helsinki, Finland….one of the most famous tourist attractions in the city.

The design features similar charming characters to those in “Emilia” but the townscape, market characters, the use of green, as well as black line drawing set the design apart.

There is a fantastic Finnish website HERE where a lot of research as gone into the history of “Emilia” and all the designs like this one, related to it. I often refer to it

Arabia Finland Kauppatori

Arabia Finland Kauppatori

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A Fratelli Fanciullacci Find

A recent find by Italian maker Fratelli Fanciullacci 

This stunning looking mid-century piece of Italian pottery features a bright and bold cloisonné or stained glass style pattern in multiple colours.

The bright, bold colours are tubelined with white at the top, and there is a rustic matt brown carved pattern resembling woodgrain running down the sides. The brown colour comes from a clay slip applied to the terracotta clay body after being carved.

Inside is an intense and vibrant lime green gloss glaze.

The style of outlining areas of colour is one that Fancuillaci pottery used often, but this particular design seems quite rare – I could only find 2 other examples of it online, and none documented in books that I could find.

Fratelli Fanciullacci

Fratelli Fanciullacci Earthenware Jug

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Marianne Starck “Negro” Series, Michael Andersen & Sons (Part 2), Variations

The “Negro Series” sometimes referred to as the “Tribal” series was designed by Marianne Starck in the 1950s for Michael Andersen & Sons on the island of Bornholm, Denmark. You can read more about it in Part 1 HERE. 

In addition to the strikingly bold, black and white designs there were some variations with this series. Because there doesn’t seem to be much documentation about this series of designs –  It is hard to know sometimes if pieces were designed as part of the Negro series, or simply colour variations added later due to its popularity.

Also you will find that many of the shapes and forms used on the Negro series, were used for other designs coming out of the pottery during these mid-century years.

Henrik in Denmark, who is a passionate collector of the work of Marianne Starck has provided a number of photographs of part of his large and growing collection of Starck’s work for Michael Andersen – and in particular the large number of series which she designed during the 1950s including the “Negro” series.

Henrik has collected many pieces and variations of her designs which are very hard to find, and his collection goes to show us how prolific and original Marianne Starck was as a designer, in addition to being a skilled ceramicist.

Firstly, here are some of the less commonly seen black and white “Negro” series designs: (click on small images to bring up scrolling gallery).

Now some of the variations:

From what I can see the “Negro” variation most often seen, is the one with black and white + red ochre:  The use of red ochre as an accent colour on these designs really makes them “pop”.

 

There is also another group which may or may not have beed designed as part of the original “Negro” series. It often has the same forms and designs often found on the Negro series, but has a black body with turquoise/green glaze. My favourite is the bold design bottom left.

Then there is another design, which also seems to be a variation of the Negro series motifs, featuring a black clay body, with red ochre+chrome green with no white. Read more

Biltons Staffordshire

Quite often I come across some very smart decorative patterns on Staffordshire pottery marked “Biltons”, with designs from the 1950s to 1970s.

There doesn’t seem to be much written about this maker, except for the timeline below which comes from ThePotteries.Org . They produced mainly inexpensive dinnerware for the domestic mass-market…and their peak seemed to be in the 1960s when they introduced mass production decoration techniques such as rubber stamped pattern making, and multi colour machine printing.

As happened frequently with many of the Staffordshire potteries, Biltons changed ownership often before being unable to continue into the 21st Century due to both changing markets and financial pressures.

Biltons Staffordshire

Biltons Staffordshire Read more

Aluminia//Royal Copenhagen “Gunhild” Plate Set, Nils Thorsson

I had part of a series of the Aluminia//Royal Copenhagen fajance plates pictured below some time ago, and eventually sold them on.

Years later as often happens, I have stumbled across their designer and name. I loved the orange brown autumn tones, and the beautifully hand painted motifs of fruits and flowers.

While looking through an auction catalogue at Lauritz.com recently I stumbled upon a whole set of these fruit plates as it was originally configured, and a quick bit of research led to finding out more of their story.

The series name was apparently “Gunhild” and was designed by Nils Thorsson for Aluminia//Royal Copenhagen 1933, and in production until 1968 from what I have read.

They seem to hard to get hold of, but not that expensive if you do find them.

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

 

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate set Nils Thorsson, Aluminia – Photo Lauritz.com DK

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

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