Bjørre Pottery was a shorted lived, but important Norwegian pottery started in 1945 by Gunnar Remen and ceramist Egil Bjørnholt. The name consists of Bjørre Björ from Bjørnholt and re from Remen.
I have only ever come across 1 lovely item by this pottery – a large green patterned bowl pictured below.
Bjorre Keramikk had about 13-15 employees, including 8-10 decorators.
Production at Bjørre consisted of utilitarian and ornamental wares such as urns, platters, vases and pitchers. Most of the designs were quite decorative with charming repeat patterns.
Gunnar Remen traveled around the country with images of the ware, and sales were so good they had to move to larger premises soon after starting.
Sadly the whole production was destroyed by contamination in the imported glaze, and the company had to close down operations in 1951.
There is a facebook group for Bjørre Keramik on facebook HERE where you can see a whole lot more of the fantastic designs.
There is also an archived blog HERE with some more information and historical photos by Pål Matisplassen
The Elle Keramikk AS studio/factory operated in Norway near Oslo between 1942 and 1967. They produced a wide variety of pottery, but have become best known for their beautifully decorated, patterned fajance pieces. I used to come across the odd piece from time to time, but haven’t in a very long time now.
If you want to learn more about this charming pottery, go to the blog Elle Keramikk ,written by Trond Rødli (you will need to use an online translater platform for English).
Trond’s website has a comprehensive amount of information from years of collecting Elle pieces. The information includes many of the signatures, labels and hundreds of wonderful examples of Elle Keramik from this distinctive Norwegian Pottery.
Below are a few examples I found on Etsy. I can not locate the few archived images I had some years ago.
Elle Norway via “Coolect” on etsy
I recently came across this large, tri footed Ikebana vessel by Yamasan Japan. It is a very modernist and architectural looking piece with its sweeping lines and sweeping curves
Ikebana vessels by this maker I used to find frequently, but this is the first piece I have come across in about 5 years. (see my previous post in this maker HERE).
It’s also different from the textured glazes frequently seen by this maker as well – being a smooth satin, brown ochre colour with some nice details like the carved panels, and the contrasting clear light green colour on the inside.
Yamasan Japan, Ikebana Vessel c1960s
Yamasan Japan, Ikebana Vessel c1960s
This striking FF vase c1950s came into my hands recently. The piece features a band around the pot of stylised reclining nudes, in the style of ancient Roman friezes.
With each piece of pottery in this design the frieze was hand carved, making each piece different and unique. Other examples of this FF design can be seen in Mark Hill’s book “Alla Moda” on p118.
The frieze has been overpainted with a clear glaze, showing the natural flesh clay colour underneath.
The remainder of the surface is a cream coloured glaze with tightly incised sgraffito lines. Inside is a clear glaze on the naturally flesh coloured clay. It is about 25cm tall.
Fratelli Fanciullacci c1950s
Midwinter “Queensberry” was the first a series of very popular striped patterns introduced by Midwinter (and many other manufacturers) in the early 1960s. It was in production 1962-1978 on the “Fine” Shape.
As suggested by the name, the pattern was designed by the Marquis (David) Queensberry – who also designed the forms of this series along with Roy Midwinter.
The design of Queensberry had smaller rims than other designs in this series, but was otherwise the same. Features of the Fine Shape series included stackable items and dual function pieces on straight sided forms.
The design consists of stripes of varying widths in olive, yellow ochre, grey and black.
The design reminds me of lines drawn with oil pastels or crayon – and works so well on these “Fine Series” forms. Although a transfer printed design, it has the appearance of being hand painted.
Wärtsilä (The owning company of Arabia Finland at the time) produced domestic enamel metal items starting in the early 1950s after their earlier takeover of company Kone-ja Siltarakennus in 1938. By by the 1950s the popularity of their enamel ware meant they were producing over 500,000 items per year.
In the early 1960s Wärtsilä rebranded their enamel ware division as Finel, and form designer Kaj Franck along with several of the Arabia pattern designers took their enamel ware in a new and very popular direction. The enamel ware out of Finel/Arabia from this era is now highly collectable and valued, by lovers of Scandinavian 20th Century Design.
Raija Uosikkinen and Esteri Tomula were two of these Wartsila/Arabia/Finel designers.
Recently I came across this stunning large enamel ware bowl with the “Knights” (Fi: Ritari) pattern by Raija Uosikkinen
Finel “Knights” Raija Uosikkinen
Because this ware was enamel on steel, it is now hard to find a piece without some level of chipping or wear to the enamel – but on bowls like the one above I think this light wear just adds to the charm of the design.
More after the page break: Read more
The delightful scene on this tall vinaigrette bottle form is by Turi Gramstad Oliver, for Figgjo Norway c1970.
It seems to be quite a rare design – depicting various scenes of village life. I have seen variations of it popping up very occasionally online – but I have been unable to find a name for the design – if it has one.
It may have been a design produced for decor pieces rather than a full production dinnerware line.
The line drawing for the design would have been silkscreened onto the clay, and the colours then hand painted to fill in the design.
If you have a piece in this design, or know any more about it I would love to hear from you.
Below, 2 variations of the designs I have found online: Read more
A recent find – a lovely, large stoneware blossom vase by Barossa Valley potter Rhonda Boehm, dated 1991.
This piece is typical of the style Rhonda became well known for – a carved sgraffito design of leaves and floral elements and a beautifully balanced thrown form.
The clay used was a whitish stoneware, to which Rhonda applied first a mushroom pink slip or oxide wash, followed by a blue grey slip.
The design was then carved trhough the blue grey slip to reveal the mushroom pink beneath.