Monthly Archives: February 2010

Kitsch and quirky tribute


Kitsch Art in the ceramics world


The word kitsch is German for tasteless, aesthetically deficient and crass. The term originated in the art markets of Munich as a descriptive expression for cheap, popular , sentimental pieces of art, marketed to appeal to undiscriminating taste. As art became more commercialized, and the culture industry became more manipulated, some feared the popularity of kitsch  was a threat to culture. With the emergence of postmodernism in the 80’s where the borders between high art and kitsch became more blurred and a more ironic appreciation of the corny style of kitsch developed, it became more accepted as a valid art form. The demand  for  the outlandish, tacky and pretentious has not abated and there are still many fervent collectors out there. Kitsch collectibles still turn up at garage sales, church fetes and op shops and are a  worthwhile investment if you happen to chance upon one of these desirable, audacious, objects of art.


White Casper Ceramic cookie jarCasper Ceramic cookie jar



StrawberryBunch of red grapes lidded jar


pink striped ceramic vasePink striped ceramic vase



Corn cob Ceramic Salt and Pepper Shakers



Blue jeans mug

Blue Jeans Ceramic Mug



ceramic-figure-vase with dog

Indian pottery

popeye ceramic figurine



the beatles ceramic figurine

The Beatles


Ceramic Skull

Mexican ceramic ‘Sugar Skull’


Hornsea pottery 1950s cat family 1950’s Cat family figurines designed by Marion Campbell for Hornsea Pottery



Teapot with feet, Natalyslots

Teapot with feet by Natalyslots ( Etsy )



Zsolnay Vase

Zsolnay Vase



Koala Aussie Koala



Capricorn Porcelain Capricorn  see Anya Stasenko and Slava Leontiev



Porcelain MermaidPorcelain Mermaid

W.C.Fields Porcelain Cookie Jar

Jenny Mendes

Fruit Decorated Vase



Danish pottery ceramic tradition


Hans og Birgitte Börjeson Fulby


Denmark has a rich tradition of producing fine ceramics and original pottery dating back  several hundred years . The Royal Copenhagen porcelain factory was established in 1775 under the active patronage of the Danish Royal Court. Several of the first dinnerware patterns produced by the factory are still crafted and painted by hand, more than two centuries later. Tradition, craftmanship and innovation have been united in a blend of old and new to make Royal Copenhagen one of the world’s most successful producers of fine dinnerware and collectable art. Their Blue Fluted patterns are the epitome of fine porcelain and it has been given this name because the surface is fluted like a mussel shell. Since its introduction, the Blue Fluted pattern has been painted freehand by specially trained painters at the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Manufactory. It takes over 1000  brush strokes to paint one Blue Fluted plate. Flora Danica is another famous line  under this brand.


The island of Bornholm in Denmark, to this day is still a mecca for artists using all the artistic mediums. Søholm, the oldest ceramic factory on Bornholm  was founded by Herman Sonne Wolffsen and Edvard Christian Sonne in 1835.  Søholm stoneware design has become a big collector’s item for retro devotees. The factory closed in 1996. Much of the pottery of Denmark matches the modernistic flare of the furniture they are so well known for.  Sleek lines, innovative use of materials, and streamlined design are typical of  the wares created and reflect the Danish Modern style popularized in the 50s and 60s. Some other famous Danish design studios for pottery and creramics are Saxbo, Hjorth, Bing & Grondal, Nymolle and Palshus.

Hjorth, blue vase, stoneware ( Artpottery Flickr )





Per Rehfeldt Vase



Per Rehfeldt Stoneware Pot

Per Rehfeldt Stoneware Pot



Lidded jar, Bing & Gröndahl



Vintage Danish Soholm Stoneware

Vintage Danish Soholm Stoneware ( Per Rehfeldt )



Per Rehfeldt



Peter Duzanna Hansen porcelain vase



Per Rehfeldt



Saxbo Gunnar Nylund ceramic cup

Saxbo- Gunnar Nylund



Royal Copenhagen Vase  Royal Copenhagen Vase



Danish Dybdabhi Platter

Dybdahi Platter ( )




Bangholm Keramik Bowl and Plate

Bangholm keramik Bowl and Plate



Bing and Gronahl Vase

Bing and Grondahl Vase



Royal Copenhagen Fajance Bottle - 1973 - Ivan Weiss

Royal Copenhagen Fajance Bottle – 1973 – Ivan Weiss ( )




Jörgen Mogensen Vase



Maria Philipi soholm ceramic

Maria Philipi Soholm



Lene Regius, porcelain



Strandstraede Lidded Jar



Ursula Printz Mogensen



Bode Willumsen Royal Copenhagen.jpg

Bode Willumsen Royal Copenhagen



Holm Sorensen Vase ( Soholm )

Holm Sorensen Vase ( Soholm )



The Buddha Builder


The beautiful Buddha art of Anita Feng


Hailing from Issaquah Mountain, which is east of Seattle, ” TheBuddhaBuilder ” ( Anita Feng ) is a unique potter, who primarily focuses on building objects around a Buddha theme. She works intuitively as reflected in the statement,  ” if  I can move my ideas out of the way and just allow my hands to lead, how much more integrated and alive the work becomes !”  She claims  “My raku Buddhas offer a synthesis of east and west — the ancient inheritance of Zen meets modern American creativity. They also represent an exploration of the question, what does Buddha look like? After all, the word “buddha” means “to wake up” or “the awakened one”. So what does openness of mind look like? Clay is a perfect medium to explore that question, as it is so open a material to work with. It can be pulled, thrown, molded, rolled–anything! And it is composed of all the elements of life — earth, air, fire, water, metal. Incorporating thirty years of Zen training, plus over thirty years work as a professional potter, along with my life-time involvement in poetry and music, I work the clay into a joyful, sincere and dance-like marriage between east and west.”

I find her Kwan Yin creations true to the female Bodhisattva and her creativity seems boundless. She successfully combines traditional Raku with contemporary techniques, while integrating her Zen influences intrinsically into her art. Observing her pottery is a meditation in itself.  Her actual  Buddha pieces exude an exquisite subtlety and the results are refreshing and brimming with pure spontaneity.



Kuan Yin Statue by Anita Feng

Kuan Yin by Anita Feng



Buddha Vase

Buddah statue in blue, red copper, silver wonder.  18″ high, 9″ wide



Raku clouds sculpture - Anita Feng

 Clouds Passing In Front of a Gold Crackle Raku Moon – Anita Feng



raku-Buddha-Builder figurine

Anita Feng Buddha statue



Ceramic Buddha face pendant by Anita Feng

Buddha Pendant



Cloud Computing Kwan Yin Goddess Angel - ceramic raku wall hanging by Anita Feng

‘Cloud Computing Kwan Yin Goddess Angel’ – Anita Feng



Raku Buddha Garden Art



Clouds and Crackle Moon Raku Wall Hanging

11″ wide 8″ high



Raku serving dish Anita Feng

Raku Serving Dish

In Anita’s words :

A gorgeous, softly glowing shallow serving dish or bowl!  Thrown on the wheel with embellished “handles” on the side. Decorated using the technique known as “naked raku”, which means that there is no glaze on the piece at all. The raw surface was burnished carefully before firing the first time. Then a thick slip was applied before the second raku firing. Afterwards, the slip flakes off and, voila, a lovely crackle pattern is revealed.



Pottery Buddha With a Golden Beauty Mark by Anita Feng

‘Pottery Buddha With a Golden Beauty Mark’ – Anita Feng



Laughing Buddah Pond

‘Laughing Buddha Pond’ – statue by Anita Feng



Seated Buddha sculpture by Anita Feng ( TheBuddhaBuilder)
Seated Buddha – Anita Feng

Buddha with Colour by Anita Feng

‘Buddha with Colour’ sculpture – Anita Feng



Wall Art Buddha Head

‘Wall Art Buddha Head’ – Anita Feng



raku tea bowl in turquoise green with ink highlights - Anita FengRaku Tea Bowl



Beautiful Kwan Yin statue created by Anita Feng ( TheBuddhaBuilder)

‘Kwan Yin Goddess Statue in the Clouds’ – Anita Feng



Kwan Yin Emerging From the Golden Stream

‘Kwan Yin Emerging From the Golden Stream’ – Anita Feng



Anagama : wood fired stoneware from Shigaraki


The region of Shigaraki in Japan has been producing wood fired pottery since the 12th century. Shigaraki is an old pottery center in the mountains, which produces an excellent clay with relatively low iron content. Pottery here  is fired in an Anagama, the translation meaning “cave kiln”  ( the oldest type of kiln in Japan ). This can take from between a few days up to several weeks to create natural ash deposits on the pottery. The pottery is exposed directly to the smoke from the fire at temperatures up to  2500F and the fly ash, volatile salts and clay metamorphize to create an ash glaze.  In medieval Japan Anagama furnaces were built on slopes to achieve better thermal properties from the terrestial insulation, the kilns literally dug into the clay as caves. Traditionally the pieces were stacked on shelves built into the walls of the kiln.
The  Niho kougei-kai group based here (a group of traditional craftsmen ) strive to maintain the traditional techniques and a sense of Japanese beauty while maintaining the functionality of the pottery. This firing technique is similar to Raku in that no two firings deliver the same result leading to surprising effects. Wood firing kilns create colors and effects that no other firing technique can produce. Below are some examples of this Anagama created by Shiho Kanzaki. Shiho always uses a 10 day wood firing.


 Anagama kiln firing    Typical Anagama kiln firing.

Japanese Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

The local sandy clay that originates from the bed of Lake Biwa helps to give the pots their warm orange colour and makes them extremely durable. Their irregular shape probably originates in Sue wares and their decoration relies alot on the firing process. The firing technique allows air admission into the kiln and this leads to iron oxides within the clay to form a significant part of the colouring process. The free movement of air results from the anagama (or cave) kilns that are used. They are typically constructed on the side of hills and their single chamber has a sloping tunnel shape.  Wood must be constantly added to achieve the high temperature required and this also adds minerals that give the wares their typical richness of surface

 Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

Japanese Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

Japanese Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

Anagama chawan created by Shiho Kanzaki

Japanese Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

Shigaraki Vase


  Chawan Kanzaki Shiho

Chawan Shiho Kanzaki

Shigaraki Kogo ( incense burner )Here is a wonderfully fired and mountain form Shigaraki kogo-incense case by the world-renowned Kanzaki Shiho. The natural ash glazing is deep and rich and the form is as of it was simply dug out from the ground; both born only from a true master.

Japanese studio teabreakStudio tea break- Shiho, wife and friend.

Japanese Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

Lunchbreak shiho kanizanLunch-break unloading day.

Japanese Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

Shigaraki Tsubo-Jar by Kato Takahiko

Shigaraki Sake Bottle

Shigaraki Tokkuri ( Saki Bottle ) – Kato Hajimu

Shigaraki Vase Okuda Eizan

Shigaraki  Anagama Vase –  Okuda Eizan

Japanese Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

Shigaraki Sculpture-Vase by Kohyama Yasuhisa ( 75YO )

( Robert Yellin Gallery )