Monthly Archives: December 2012

Vintage California postwar pop pottery


Hedi Schoop and Sascha Brastoff  flamboyance :


During WW2 and immediately after, foreign imports into the  USA had been cut off, resulting in the flourishing of domestic art pottery firms. This was further supported by the postwar building boom, especially in states like California. The demand for decorative and functional pottery wares was high, especially from the new homes being furnished. The shared sacrifices of the war were gone and the ceramic products reflected the new optimism with free flowing styles, fun, kitsch and heart warming designs. A lot of the decorative figurines expressed motion, from walking to dancing and other movements, capturing the mood shift.. TV’s were also selling in huge numbers so sales of ceramic TV lamps also flourished. Two influential ceramic artists from this time are featured below.




 Vintage Hedi Schoop harlequin dancers


Hedi Schoop

One of the designers at the forefront of this era of Mid Century ceramic design was Hedi Koop. Having fled Europe in 1933 with her composer husband ( Friedrich Hollander ),  she resettled in California and in 1940 opened up a pottery studio in Hollywood, focusing on the popular figurines along with planters, ashtrays, lamps, bowls and vases. She had studied sculpture, architecture, painting, and fashion design at several European art institutions including Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna and Reimann Institute in Berlin. Her innovative California pottery designs were style defining  at this time and widely imitated. If a Schoop figure proved popular with consumers, an entire line of accompanying décor objects were created.  At the height of her success,  “Hedi Schoop Art Creations” produced over 30,000 giftware items per year, and employed over fifty workers. She designed and modelled almost every piece in her line. Her figurines are the most sought after as a collectible.

Heid Schoop folded ceramic vessel

Heid Schoop


Vintage ceramic bowl/planter by Hedi Schoop has sparkling gold trim over rose pink, and has incredible detailed texture. Shaped in a winding S-curve, the piece looks different from any angle when displayed in the round. Dates to circa 1950s, I think, based on the generous application of gold and the color.

( Elle Jay – Etsy  )

phantasy dancer hedi schoop

Phantasy Dancer – Hedi Schoop


Vintage Hedi Schoop Poodle ashtray

Vintage Hedi Schoop Poodle ashtray




Rare Mid-century-'Poodle Lady' Lamp and Radio by Hedi Schoop---SHOWPLACE-ANTIQUE-+-DESIGN-CENTER---37-inches-height

‘Poodle Lady’ Lamp and Radio by Hedi Schoop

37 inches height





Vintage-Hedi-Schoop-South-Asian-Women-in white and gold---Bindi-Marks-josephsgems-ebay--

Two Eastern Ladies figurines – Hedi Schoop California Vintage




Mid-century Hedi Schoop figurine

Mid-century Hedi Schoop figurine



Hedi Schoop Californian ceramics

Hedi Schoop ceramic King Queen pair



mid-century ceramic Hedi Schoop

Figurines, dancer with mandolin player  – Hedi Schoop



Hedi Schoop vase




A pair of poodles – Hedi Schoop

( hepcat restorations )




Hedi Schoop modernist cat



Hedi Schoop figurine


Hedi Schoop-TV lamp

TV Lamp – Hedi Schoop


dance figurines by Hedi Schoop

Two Hedi Schoop Dancer Figurines.In the middle is a ceramic deer TV lamp by Krim



hedi schoop photo

Hedi Schoop



comedy-tragedy-lamp by Hedi Schoop

Comedy Tragedy TV lamp – Heidi Schoop



Hedi Schoop lady figurine



Candy pink and white folded vase - Hedi Schoop

Folded and footed pink and white vase – Hedi Schoop



hedi schoop vase

Salmon Pink Swirl Vase  – Hedi Schoop



Hedi Schoop skyscrapers tv lamp

Skyscrapers TV Lamp – Hedi Schoop

( hepcat restorations )



Hedi Schoop ceramic dancing figurine

Hedi Schoop dancing figurine planter

 Hedi Schoop did work with her sister Trudi  in European dance and cabaret before she left Germany for America  in 1933



Square Hedi Schoop Original ceramic Cat Plaque plate

Cat face wall plaque/plate


Hedi Schoop 1960s Pottery Chip, Bread Platter and Dip Sauce Bowls



Thai Fan Dancers – Hedi Schoop

macade9 – ebay


Vintage Hedi Schoop Basket



Oriental Woman figurine-Iridescant glaze by Hedi Schoop

  Iridescent Glaze Geisha Girl figurine





Angel kneeling on green leaf dish with gold trim – Hedi Schoop



Hedi-Schoop-seated black poodle motif on square dishSeated black poodle dish – Hedi Schoop





Vintage jug/vase – Hedi Schoop




Hedi Schoop poodle dish

Hedi Schoop





Pair of Rooster Vases – Hedi Schoop, Hollywood



Sascha Brastoff


Sascha Brastoff was also a successful  Los Angeles ceramic designer at this time, who had a flair for promotion, mixing freely with Hollywood stars and celebrities. His bold, colourful  and flamboyant creations fitted perfectly into this postwar era of  adventurous ceramic design. Sascha began creating ceramics in New York  in the early 40’s.  After a stint in the Air Force followed by working as a costume designer with Fox Studios in Hollywood, he set up a ceramics plant in West Los Angeles called Sascha Brastoff Product’s Incorporated with the backing of Winthorpe B. Rockefeller. In the mid 1960″s other art pottery makers such as Stangl and Royal Haeger were licensed to use Sascha’s name trademark. These items usually have a thick black cursive SB signature near the maker’s mark. His unique pieces, many displaying a modernist flair, have become a favourite with collectors.

405px-446px-Sascha-brastoff-bowl.jpgLarge Bowl – Sascha Bastoff

( Haegernerd – Flikr )




Sascha-Brastoff raku crackle glaze horse bust

Sascha Brastoff horse bust


Modernist vase – Sascha Brastoff

Sascha Brastoff Coffee Pot

Sascha Brastoff Coffee Pot

Sascha Brastoff hand-painted show girl charger

Sascha Brastoff  ‘Ballet’ hand painted charger


Mid-century carved mosaic vase – Sascha Brastoff

Photo – Samantha Stolberg

SASCHA BRASTOFF-3-PC-smoking set

Sascha Brastoff enamel ashtray, lighter and cigarette holder set



Village motif coffee pot - Sascha Brastoff

‘Rooftops’ – tall lidded pitcher


Sascha-Bratoff advertisinf poster

Sascha Brastoff  addvert

Sascha-Brastoff-absract-ashtraySascha Brastoff aabstractplate

Sascha-Brastoff-ceramic-art golden doveSascha Brastoff ceramic art sculpture

Sascha Brastoff plate

Sascha Brastoff ‘Smoke Tree Black Gray plate




Pagoda’s decorative plate -Sascha Brastoff



Mid Century vase - Sascha Bradtoff

Sascha Brastoff abstract series vase



Modernist Sascha Brastoff red black lava ashtraySascha Brastoff  – red black ashtray




Vintage modernist wall plate



Sascha Brastoff - blackgold surf ballet- ceramic coffee pot

Blackgold surf ballet- ceramic coffee pot



Sascha Brastoff - abstract fish mosaic plaltter

Mid-century abstract fish mosaic platter – Sascha Barstoff



Aztec-bird-shaped-bowl by Sascha Brastoff

Aztec bird shaped bowl – Sascha Brastoff





Three African wall masks – Sascha Brastoff



Sascha Brastoff - Mysterious Objet DArte

Sascha Brastoff wall decoration from Forbidden Planet movie set




African ceramic gold mask – Sascha Brastoff





Aztec platter – Sascha Brastoff





Table lamp – Sascha Brastoff




Sascha-Brastoff-red village dish

Sascha Brastoff red village plaque/dish





Free Form Atomic, Amoeba ashtray – Sascha Brastoff




Sascha-Brastoff-Hollywood Pottery-Factory

Sascha Brastoff Hollywood Pottery Factory




More Californian pottery

Clemison pottery California figurines

Mid-Century salt and pepper shakers – Cleminson Pottery of California




Vintage 1950s Marc Bellaire Still Life California Pottery Cocktail Decanter Set





Yona-Asian-Pair in matching red and green outfits -etsy-VintageRevivalStudio

Yona Asian Pair

etsy- VintageRevivalStudio





Marc Bellaire Mardi Gras Harlequins Dish





Coffee Pot – Mid Century Modern Marc Bellaire California Art Pottery


vintage914 ebay

Marc Bellaire - plate with show girl decoration

A decorative wall plaque/plate by Marc Bellaire who was a protege of Sascha Brastoff, who eventually became a  competitor.





Marc Bellaire Signed Mid-Century California Atomic Lamp

 ebay – michipeggy





Marc Bellaire ‘Jamaica’ Line Console Bowl



Kathy Urbach vintage ceramic bust

A fabulous showgirl head vase from this era designed by Kathi Urbach



Sources cited :    Who Killed American Kitsch? by Ben Marks



7 Koans, 30 unknown artists


I came across a post on a collection of pottery from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, where they had a very minimal description in the presentation. It all looked very Zen like to me and most of the pots were from unknown artists, ( mainly because they were pieces from antiquity ).  As an act of zenspiraion I decided to add 7 Zen koans with the images.


Chün ware lidded jar – 11th – 15th century Zulu Beer Pot

Zulu Beer Pot


Terracotta vessel – Tikar, Cameroon, West Africa



No Work, No Food


Hyakujo, the Chinese Zen master, used to labor with his pupils even at the age of eighty, trimming the gardens, cleaning the grounds, and pruning the trees. The pupils felt sorry to see the old teacher working so hard, but they knew he would not listen to their advice to stop, so they hid away his tools. That day the master did not eat. The next day he did not eat, nor the next. “He may be angry because we have hidden his tools,” the pupils surmised. “We had better put them back.” The day they did, the teacher worked and ate the same as before. In the evening he instructed them: “No work, no food.”


Huang-t’ao kiln stoneware vessel – Tang Dynasty


Vessel Acoma Pueblo.jpg

Vessel- Acoma Pueblo, North America, United States, Southwest region, New Mexico


Unglazed terracotta jar-  Africa, Burkina Faso



Returning to the Ordinary World


A monk asked Kegon, “How does an enligthtened one return to the ordinary world?” Kegon replied, “A broken mirror never reflects again; fallen flowers never go back to the old branches.”

104451 Ancient Puebloan (Anasazi-1oth-12thcentury

Ancient Puebloan vessel (Anasazi-1oth-12th century)


Caddoan Jar12th-13th-century

Caddoan Jar   – 12th-13th century


The Gates of Paradise


A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: “Is there really a paradise and a hell?” “Who are you?” inquired Hakuin. “I am a samurai,” the warrior replied. “You, a soldier!” exclaimed Hakuin. “What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar.” Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: “So you have a sword ! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head.” As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: ” Here open the gates of hell ! ” At these words the samurai, perceiving the master’s discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed. ” Here open the gates of paradise,” said Hakuin.

Vessel from Chi chou kilns at Yung-ho,

Ceramic vessel from Chi chou kilns at Yung-ho

 !8th century Chinese Vase


CRackled Ceedon Chinese Vase-618-799

Crackled Celedon Chinese Vase –   618-799 AD



Accurate Proportion


Sen No Rikyu, a tea-master, wished to hang a flower basket on a column. He asked a carpenter to help him, directing the man to place it a little higher or lower, to the right or left, until he had found exactly the right spot. ” That’s the place,” said Sen No Rikyu finally. But so accurate was the tea-master’s sense of proportion that it was not until the carpenter reached the identical spot again that its location was approved.


Lei (Ritual Wine Vessel)


Lifan amphora

Lifan amphora

Lobi-storageJar with Lid

Lobi ( Africa ) storage jar with lid


Mokusen’s Hand


Mokusen Hiki was living in a temple in the province of Tamba. One of his adherents complained of the stinginess of his wife. Mokusen visited the adherent’s wife and showed her his clenched fist before her face. “What do you mean by that?” asked the surprised woman. “Suppose my fist were always like that. What would you call it?” he asked. “Deformed,” replied the woman. Then he opened his hand flat in her face and asked: “Suppose it were always like that. What then?” “Another kind of deformity,” said the wife. “If you understand that much,” finished Mokusen, “you are a good wife.” Then he left. After his visit, this wife helped her husband to distribute as well as to save.


Mei Ping bottle used for storing wine, vinegar, soy sauce and other liquids during the Sung (960-1279) and Yuan (1280-1368) dynasty.


Water vessel – National Palace Museum in Taipei


Tzu Chou bottle –   960 – 1600 AD


Soldiers of Humanity


Once a division of the Japanese army was engaged in a sham battle, and some of the officers found it necessary to make their headquarters in Gasan’s temple. Gasan told his cook: “Let the officers have only the same simple fare we eat.” This made the army men angry, as they were used to very deferential treatment. One came to Gasan and said: “Who do you think we are? We are soldiers, sacrificing our lives for our country. Why don’t you treat us accordingly?” Gasan answered sternly: “Who do you think we are? We are soldiers of humanity, aiming to save all sentient beings.”


Quingpai Ewer with Cover

Socorro Jar

Socorro Jar


Storage Jar


Tall, slender, mei-ping shape vase displaying a well-cut floral design.


A modern koan


Kobun Chino was a renowned master of kyūdō, Zen archery. He was once invited to give a demonstration of his skills at Esalen, the famed retreat centre near Big Sur. Kobun placed his feet in the traditional, grounded ashibumistance, straighted his spine, drew the bow, and let loose his arrow — which not only missed the target completely, but soared over the fence behind it, plummeting into the Pacific below. The spectators were aghast  until they looked up at Kobun, who gleefully shouted, “Bullseye!”

this jar is ornamented in the scraffito manner with an olive-brown overslip carved through to a white slip

This jar is ornamented in the scraffito manner with an olive-brown overslip carved through to a white slip

Tripod Bowl with Parrot Feet

Tripod Bowl with Parrot Feet

Jiajing bottle met museum

Jia Jing bottle – Met, NY


Tzu Chou jug

Vase-Democratic Republic of Congo

African GlobularVase – Democratic Republic of Congo

Qing-Emperor-Qianlong bowl

Porcelain bowl – Qing – Emperor Qianlong –  National Palace Museum in Taipei


3 pieces not from the Minneapolis Institiute of Arts


Vase – Linthorpe Pottery Factory


Zsolnay vase with bulbous shape

(  Treadway Galleries )

Elizabeth Strasser


Koan background  :


Koan  is a Japanese word derived from the Chinese Gongan, which defined a practice dating back to the Tang Dynasty where dialogues between Chan Masters and their disciples were recorded.  Later during the Song Dynasty ( 960-1279 ) the Gongan use was extended into ” observing the phrase “,  where it became an object of contemplation and meditation. My first exposure to the concept of the koan was in a book I read ages ago called Zen Flesh Zen Bones. Breaking down the koan intellectually and looking for  hidden insights didn’t really deliver any alteration of consciousness or magical moment of instant enlightenment. These simple koan stories just seemed to be  an interesting insight into the disciplines and philosophy of Zen. However at a later time I just flipped open a page and read a poem written by a  Zen master and immediately felt a deep inner peace. I suppose the difference this time was I wasn’t really looking for any revelations.


Jakuchu Ito – Mandarin Ducks

Sources cited –  Minneapolis Institute of Art



Perpetual teapot wonderment

Époque Kangxi (1662-1722); Verseuse surprise en forme de pêche de longévité en porcelaine émaillée bleu turquoise

Chinese glazed porcelain blue turquoise teapot in the shape of the longevity peach.

Kangxi period 1662 – 1722


Wonderful teapots ….. but can they make a cuppa ?


I have been trying to fathom for ages what makes ceramicists succumb to quirky fits of madcap creativity and bold innovation when they become  immersed in the creation of a teapot.

Ever since Sheng Nun sipped his first cup of tea and extolled its virtues, the Chinese have held the beverage in high esteem and produced very refined teapots as a sign of respect. The Japanese turned tea drinking into a religion, but I think that was more to escape their strict Zen masters and their beatings. A Geisha girl was nowhere near as threatening. The Indians emulated the British Rule and took up tea consumption, but abandoned the teapot in favour of throwing everything into an aluminium pot, tea leaves, milk and every spice under the sun, to whip up a chai brew.

The Americans held a mild disdain for the habit, preferring the sharper caffeine hit of coffee. So to them a teapot wasn’t really that useful, and any functional practicality went out the studio window in favour of adventurous decorative designs. Maybe that’s why you rarely see quirky, zany coffee pots. They revere the brew too much. The Italians love their coffee, they need the caffeine to sustain their rapid hand gestures. Tea drinking isn’t really their cup of tea. The Aussies were predominately tea drinkers till coffee crept into use due to the social preference for the latte and their cute froth patterns. The English still love their tea, but are also known to create odd looking teapots, but maybe that’s more because of their eccentric leanings. As far as New Zealand goes in the beverage stakes, I have no idea what their preference might be, but I’m featuring some wonderful contemporary teapots by New Zealander Rick Rudd.  Even though I have already done an instalment on teapots , I have seen a lot more curious and fascinating designs this year so I’m including a new post of artistic tempest in teapot creations.

Nz Rick Rudd ceramic teapot

Contemporary teapot – Rick Rudd



Rick Rudd turquoise biomorphic teapot

Turquoise Teapot – Rick Rudd   NZ



Rick Rudd NZ black contemporary teapot with long spiral handle

Black ceramic teapot – Rick Rudd




Contemporary styled teapot – Rick Rudd



Rick Rudd sculpture teapot sleek lines      A teapot with sleek modernist lines



Rick Rudd ceramics light sky blue teapot

Rick Rudd

Teapot Rick Rudd contemporary styled teapot

Rick Rudd teapot

Rick Rudd’s site here

Richard Bresnahan gourd tea vessel

Black gourd teapot  – Richard Bresnahan

Matt Wilt teapot and cup set

Matt Wilt teapot and cups




fong-choo ceramic teapot

Fong Choo green teapot

Gerard Ferrari robotic teapot

Hydroplaning Robotic Beetle Teapot

Made by Gerard Ferrari

Barbara-Chadwick ceramics

Teapot – Barbara Chadwick




Batton Clayworks


Cracked Clay teapot

Teapot by Cracked Clay

Handmade teapot from “stressed” slabs of stoneware clay and porcelain. It was fired in May 2009 in a wood fired anagama kiln in Minnesota!

Dariusz-Klimczak-(Poland) red teapot on the beach


Digital artwork

Dotty Teapot Mark daley

Dotty Teapot-Mark Dally



Fong-Choo-lemon yellow teapot

Fong Choo teapot


Teapot –    Leopold Foulem



il_570xN.389528300_ajxuNancy Gardiner

Irina Zaytceva

Irina Zaytceva art teapot

James Diem

James Diem


James Lawton

Kris Nelson wood fired teapot

Kris Nelson wood  fired teapot


Dog Romance -Kurt Weiser

Teapot     Kurt Weiser-USA

( a lidless teapot )

Nefta Tompkins Winter Sun

Winter Sun   –  Nefta Tompkins

Ode to Night Circus-Wanda-designs

Ode to Night Circus  – Wanda designs

Rena Hamilton

Rena Hamilton


 Passion Red Hearts – Functional Tea Pot by Patrica Paquin of Artists Loft



Louie Louie – Rimas Vis Girda


Rocket 4 teapot –  Tim Story

Rosie Wynkoop coffee pot

Rosie Wynkoop coffee pot

Teapot Date18th- century.jpg

Chinese Jade teapot – 18th Century

( the Met NY )

Teapots by Cary Joseph woodfired pottery

Wood fired teapot – Cary Joseph


Sandy Terry

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Bohemian Amphora splendour

Geometric patterned vessel with twon handles - art nouveauIn some ways the Art Nouveau movement was one of the original environmental movements. Quite a few of the artists  around the 1900’s reacted to the rapid spread of the Industrial Revolution by focusing on nature imagery and fantasy worlds which became  an ongoing theme with the Art Nouveau designers. Architects, ceramicists and painters seemed to be lamenting a lost idyllic era. This was exacerbated by the stepping up of the industrial machine during WW1. The literary works of  William Morris and JRR Tolkein, recreating legends and fantasy tales, were also inspired by similar motives.

White horse in the woods painting

Amphora Art Nouveau porcelain production

The Amphora porcelain works existed from 1892-1945 in the Teplitz-Turn area of Bohemia, a part of Austro-Hungary. In their half a century of production, Amphora became known as a fine art pottery manufacturer of exceptional quality. They produced a plethora of innovative designs and shapes with a high level of detail, and were considered by many to exemplify the Art Nouveau style. The designs were generally influenced by Art Nouveau and Jugensdtil, as well as Grueby and Rockwood. Their creations were graced with hand-painted mythical creatures, ethereal maidens, beautiful nature scenes with birds, bats, plum trees, insects, clover, roses and  forests all entwined with  sweeping lines and flowing details. This was the contemporary design of the day, leaving the more staid Victorian era in its wake. A  never ending array of forms, glazes and decorations typified the Amphora ceramic designs. Cinema was still in its infancy and print publications didn’t have the glossy quality we see now, so the visual impact of  high quality, colour enriched ceramics with stunning imagery and designs would have been considerable.

Pterodactyl Vase by Amphora

Pterodactyls Vase by Amphora
circa 1897

A re-appreciation of individual craftsmanship, under threat from industrial manufacturing, also emerged at this time, and the intricate detail of the designs supported this ideal. In 1896, Amphora were made court supplier to the Imperial court in Vienna, and these pieces were identified with the name ‘Imperial Amphora’, and the Austro-Hungarian eagle trademark. Also the additional mark PD indicates it was designed by Paul Dachsel, one of their earliest and finest designers, who helped define the distinctive Amphora style. Another early Amphora art pottery designer who enjoyed success beyond the confines of Europe was Ernst Wahliss of Turn-Wein, Austria. He produced  some of the most beautiful female Art Nouveau busts between 1897 and 1906, which are highly sought by collectors today given their beauty and technical complexity. Wahliss was somewhat unique among the Amphora manufacturers for having established his own retail shops in London and Vienna. Another well known, high quality Amphora manufacturer was the firm of Julius Dressler whose manufacturing operation was founded in Belia, Bohemia in 1883 and operated until 1944. Amphora was sold in the United States by finer decorating shops including Louis Comfort Tiffany of New York, who appreciated the innovative, hand crafted designs, vibrant colors, and unique glazes used by the Amphora manufacturers from Turn-Teplitz, Bohemia. Amphora works from this period were extraordinarily complex in manufacturing technique, often requiring as many as 10 firings, a series of decorators, and finishers to add the final style flourishes like gilding.

The Amphora era was truly a remarkable phase for Art Nouveau. Their imaginative aesthetic reflected both Celtic and Bohemian folklore, merged with the classical influences of Greek and Roman legends and the Arthurian tales. One can’t help but be filled with a reverence for the beauty they expressed.


Amphora art nouveau ceramic vase

 Amphora Vase
circa 1903

( Amphora Pottery – Facebook )

Chalice by Paul Dachsel with large twin handles

Chalice by Paul Dachsel ( he left Amphora in 1905 )- 8.5″ high
Bohemia, circa 1906

Auktionshaus Mehlis, Germany



Amphora art nouveau pine cone vase with a bronze base

Art Nouveau pottery vase with bronze mount by Paul Dachsel for Amphora

( Image used through courtesy of Morgan Strickland Antiques: link here )



Oriental Pheasant vase - Amphora 1900

Oriental Pheasant –  Amphora 1904


( Treadways Auctions )



The Artichoke art nouveau sculpture by Paul Dachsel

The Artichoke by Paul Dachsel
Bohemia ( post Amphora ), circa 1906



Paul Dachsel Purple Pine Cone Vase from Taplitz

Paul Dachsel Purple Pine Cone Vase
Teplitz, Austria, 1906

Two female figures in gold satin gowns candle holders with turquoise highlights by Ernst-Wahliss

Pair of Ernst Wahliss designed  Maidens with Water Lily Candlesticks

Dreamy lady with lillies - art nouveau figurineLady with Lilies by Amphora



Art Nouveau vase with incised surface patterns

Amphora Vase
Bohemia, circa 1902

( Blanchards Auctions )



Curvy Paul Dachsel vase in Art Nouveau

Dragonflies by Paul Dachsel ( post Amphora )
Bohemia, circa 1906



Green and pink art nouveau vase with spiral motifs

Secessionist Vase by Amphora
Bohemia, circa 1901

( Treadways )



Gold twin handled vase by Paul Dachsel with green highlights

Paul Dachsel Vase

Art Nouveau vase with large leaf decorations in red, green and gold

Amphora Vase
circa 1900

Water lily maiden vessel - art nouveau

Water Lily Figural Vase by Amphora
Bohemia, circa 1900

( Treadways Auctions )

Amphora vase with Klimt decorations on gold and white

Klimt Series by Amphora
Bohemia, circa 1904
10 3/4″ high
( Sloans & Kenyon )

Amphora vase with a dragon decorative motif in greens and gold

Eastern Dragon vase by Amphora



Tree like art nouveau vase with branch handles

Art Nouveau vase


Exquisite Klimt styles Amphora footed vase

Amphora Klimt Jeweled Vase

Pair-of-Paul-Dachsel art nouveau vases with gold highlights

Pair of  Paul Dachsel two handled vases.

( Amphora Ceramics )

Amphora vase with red top mushrooms in a forest

Mushroom Vase by Paul Dachsel
Bohemia, circa 1906




Teplitz Turn Amphora-RStK-Art-Nouveau-Vase with rose motifs

Teplitz Turn Amphora vase



Art Nouveau vase with gold lioness figure on the edge

Amphora Lioness Vase – 1900



Amphora spiderweb/butterfly art nouveau vase

Spiderweb and Butterfly – ” Semiramis ” three handled vase

Paul Dachsel Amphora 1905

( Christies )

Art Nouveau vase with gold highlights

Japanese Inspired Plum Blossoms Vase by Amphora
circa 1897

( Amphora Pottery – Facebook )

Paul Dachsel pine cone vase

Pine cone by Paul Dachsel
Bohemia, circa 1906

Art Nouveau vase with spider web and butterfly decoration ith gold highlights on green

Amphora Two Handled butterfly and spiderweb vase

( Amphora Ceramics )



Amphora-Paul-Daschel twin handled vase

Paul Dachsel large handled vase



Two gold trim goblets with green leaf motifs

Two Amphora goblets



The Princess by Amphora

The Princess by Amphora
Bohemia, circa 1896

( Rago Auctions )



Amphora Pitcher Art nouveau

Amphora Pitcher
Bohemia, circa 1900



Amphora owl and eagle vessel in green and gold

Owl and Eagle Vase by Amphora
Bohemia, circa 1904

Elegant art nouveau gold handled vessel

Paul Dachsel One Handled Ewer
Teplitz, Bohemia, 1906




Art-Nouveau-Amphora vase shown at the Paris Exposition 1900, colorful corncob texture with red leaves

Amphora vase, Paris Exposition 1900, colorful corncob texture with gold accents

Paul Dachsel Art Nouveau Vase

Paul Dachsel Four Handled Raindrop Vase




Art Nouveau poster – ‘Fisherman Goes To Sea’

Bronze art nouveau figure sculpture

Loie Fuller by Amphora
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Norwich, UK
Permanant Collection



water lily motif art nouveau vase by Paul Dachsel

Water Lilies by Paul Dachsel
Bohemia, circa 1906

Paul Dachsel art nouveau vase with lily leafs

Vase with closed water lily leafs – Paul Dachsel/Ernst Wahliss ca 1911

( Rago Arts & Auctions )



Beautiful art nouveau vase with botanical decoration

 Amphora handled vessel, large organic shape, with gold accents

( Treadway and Toomey Gallery)

Amphora classic vase

Twin handled Amphora vase

Art Nouveau Amphora Porcelain

Art Nouveau Amphora

Amphora vase

Amphora Werke Reissner, pastel toned matt glaze

Art nouveau amphora with folded shape in turquoise, gold and blue

Art  Nouveau creased Amphora vase

Art-nouveau-gold vase with jade green spots

AmphoraAmphora Art Nouveau vase with four handles

Amphora Art Nouveau

Amphora Figural vase

Amphora figural candle holder

See another Veniceclayaartstis article on Art Nouveau here



The Sgraffito Fantastico

Sylvian Meschia céramiques - blue surface glaze with sgraffito incision to reveal white colour underneath

Sylvian Meschia céramiques

Vessel by lessgreedcompany Sgraffito black on white background design

Sgraffito Vessel by lessgreedcompany, Etsy

Sgraf-trio tumblers - geometric patterned surface decoration

Sgraf-trio tumblers – Demon Potters

‘My sgraffito pots use one of the darkest black slips I have found. I enjoy the challenge of getting the pots to just the right dryness – not too dry so that the cuts are clean but not so wet that the slip is marked by the handling. My designs originate from sources as diverse as an African drum to a stand of bamboo (but not a printed circuit board, as my brother suggested!)’

Italian sgraffito stoneware vase - incised face of a woman on the surface

Italian sgraffito stoneware vase

Stacy Stanhope - what are ewe- sgraffito sheep in a field

Stacy Stanhope – ‘ what are ewe ‘

Sylvian Meschia scraffito vessel- abstract figures and geometric motifs

Sylvian Meschia sgraffito vessel


Scratching and carving clay


The word “sgraffito” is Italian, its meaning being to “scratch, write or to mark “.  Sgraffito is the technique of scratching an image through a coloured slip to reveal the body beneath. Sgraffito Pottery was once considered to be the vessels of kings. From the Byzantine emperors to the Russian czars, Sgraffito has been the earthenware for the “blue-bloods” of Europe’s finest houses. Although the technique is relatively simple , the process is time consuming and painstaking.

Sgraffito Dancing Vase – Jane Cartwright


During the 16th century renaissance  in Italy,  Sgraffito was utilised in wall art,  pottery decoration and canvas paintings. Sgraffito on walls has been used in Europe since classical times and its origins go back to Africa and Japan. It came to Europe through the Middle East. Because the Muslims were forbidden to eat from any metal wares, they had developed the decorative side of pottery to high degree. This also included the use of a sgraffito decoration. Both the North African potters and Spanish potters were imported into Italy to share their skills and techniques.  During the Reconquista of Spain, Spanish Muslim potters fled to North Africa, and to Italy and Byzantium, where their knowledge merged with the techniques of local potters to create new and exciting styles of pottery for Renaissance patrons of art. The Muslim, or Moorish, artistic styles of Spain are  described as Hispano-Moresque.

Moroccan-lustreware bowl

Hispano Moresque Brasero (Deep Dish) from Valencia, Spain 1400 CE

This bowl is 18″ in diameter and was thrown from a terra cotta clay. A white slip was then applied and designs carved using the sgraffito technique, the brown and white part of this design being the sgraffito portion. Then  overglazes of cobalt and lusters were applied to complete the design.


Sgrafitto reached its height of perfection in the 17th century at the potteries of Beauvais in France. Its use for ornamental decoration was eventually superseded by the use of the slip trailer, although in the south-west of England, the tradition of sgraffito continued well into the 19th century in the potteries of North Devon. The popular harvest Jugs quite often featured sgraffito in their rich decorative styles.

One of the reasons the Italian potters used sgraffito was that they wanted a nice white surface to decorate, just like porcelain, but the only white clay they had wasn’t strong enough to produce ceramics. So they made their plates and bowls from the readily available red clay, and coated it with white slip (liquid clay) to get the prized white surface to decorate. Sgraffito was a logical extension to this practice.

Sgraffito lizard motif with geometric patterns on a n Olla pot -by Martin Olivas Quintana

Small Sgraffito Pot Lizard Design   –  Mata Ortiz Pottery – Martin Olivas Quintana



turquoise pot with geometric patterned surface

Topham porcelain sgraffito vessel



Plate with Bbrnt orange plant motif on olive green background

Sgraffito Plate – Westmoore


ceramic vessel Cream white sgraffito design on dark clay - Crystal Nolfo Brown

White sgraffito design on dark clay – Crystal Nolfo Brown


Orange, brown, white and olive green surface geometric patterns - Insomnia Pottery

Vase by Insomnia



Contemporary pale blue tumbler by Ryan Mckenzie

Large Tumbler – Ryan Mckerley



late Renaissance palace Ramirez de Montalvo wall relief art

Sgraffito decoration on the façade of the late Renaissance palace Ramirez de Montalvo, which was built around 1568.

Mid-Century lamp base by Louis Hudson

Ceramic LampBase – Louis Hudson



Ovoid vessel with geometric sgraffito decoration by Leonal Lope Jr

Mata Ortiz Pottery, sgraffito ovoid pot – Leonel Lopez Jr



Pot with sgraffito surface design by Janet Kittenger

Hand carved stoneware vase – Janet Kitenger

 This vase wasn’t created using a sgraffito technique.  The vase was wheel thrown and then hand carved followed by glazing. The design is a original and has a unique flowing geometric wave all around. Iron oxide was applied for depth. Clear glaze was applied to some parts of the carving for highlight. The inside and rims are Kiwi glaze which fires as a blue green and turquoise-ish.

Twin handled vessell with sgraffito surface by Jim-and-Shirl-Parmentier

Jim and Shirl Parmentier



sgraffito-bunny scratched from a black glaze surface revealing white underneath

Ceramic Vase Bunny Rabbit Lepus Design – Hand Built Pottery by Calan Ree



Tapered square bottle with wavy surface decoration - Bruno Kark

Faceted Bottle – Bruno Kark




vase with sgraffito leaves and patterns - by Deb Le Air

Debra LeAir Vase



vase with sgraffito leave patterns in grey and black

Vase with sgraffito leaf surface



Peacock Grevillia Vase, 2012. Janet De Boos

‘Peacock Grevillia Vase’, 2012. Janet De Boos

Thrown porcelaineous stoneware, black underglaze, terra sigillata, sgraffito, clear glaze, overglaze decals.



Ovoid vessel with surface incisions by Ivone Shirahata

Ceramic vessel –  Ivone Shirahata

 Plate with sgraffito fish decoration by Carl Cooper, Australia

Carl Cooper – Bemboka Gallery

Dish with sgraffito fish.




Dawn Catherine Llanera.sgraffito crayon drawing of a Geisha girl

This is an illustration achieved using multiple layers of crayons with a sgraffito appplication on top by Dawn Catherine Llanera.



sgraffito demo by HIllary Kane

Hillary Kane demonstrating sgraffito decoration – flickr



deep surface texturing on ceramic vessel - The Mud Room

” I added texture to the walls by rolling the clay onto a car floor mat and I cut the darts with bevels on each edge to make a better surface for joining. “

( from The Mud Room )



Large Art Nouveau sgraffito wall mural - Cauchie House,Brussels

Art Nouveau sgraffito wall mural – Cauchie House,Brussels



Turquoise vessel with incisions and strong textures

Incised turquoise vessel

Tim Christensen sgraffito jar in bl;ack and white

‘UFO Invasion’ – Tim Christensen

Sgraffito porcelain



Tim Christensen lidded jar with sgraffito decoration of Chickadee birds

‘Chickadee Flock’ – Tim Christensen

( Gleeson Fine Art Gallery )


Raku Carved Vase - Anne Webb - spiral incisions on black surface

Raku Carved Vase – Anne Webb

This raku vase has been formed on the potter’s wheel, skillfully carved with a free-form spiral design, glazed, then fired using an American variation of the Japanese technique of raku.

Contemporary vessel with wavy surface incisions - Alan Wallwork

Vase with incised patterning   – Alan Wallwork , 1970




Sgraffito ceramic sculptural teapot by Chris Wiess‘On The Bridge’ – Chris Theiss 1989

Slab and coil built earthenware with sgraffito.



R.Geering Pottery - plate with bird and fish motifs

 Fishwife and Bird Sgraffito Plate

( R.Geering Pottery )


Mata Ortiz pottery by Leonel Lopez sgraffito nativity

 Leonel Lopez sgraffito nativity

Mata Ortiz pottery


Ernabella Ceramics,--Carlene Thompson---Tjulpu Putitja-I,-2016,-stoneware with sgraffito,-H-51

Ernabella Ceramics,–Carlene Thompson—‘Tjulpu Putitja I’, 2016,

stoneware with sgraffito, H 51cm

Ernabella Ceramics



Amazing Buffalo Shield---signed by Norman Lansing-UTE-Native American Indian-hand carved seed-SGRAFFITO---MaysFineAntiques

Amazing Buffalo Shield—signed by Norman Lansing-UTE Native American Indian hand carved seed SGRAFFITO




Ernabella Ceramics,---Tjimpuna Williams---Ngayuku Walka-IV, 2014, -stoneware with sgraffito

Tjimpuna Williams—‘Ngayuku Walka IV’, 2014,  stoneware with sgraffito

Ernabella Ceramics






R.Geering sgraffito decorated jar- Cape Cod Girl

‘Cape Cod Girl’  lidded storage jar – R.Geering

A lidded storage jar with a bird finial. The mermaid, whale, moon and fish pattern in sgraffito into a traditional red clay body is a contemporary design inspired by the old whaling song “Cape Cod Girls”.


BeckyStrickland-sgraffito lidded jar and small creamer in blue and white

Becky Strickland Sgraffito Salt Fired Cream and Sugar Set Cup (  MudFire Gallery )


Turquoise lidded jar with sgraffito wavy surface design by Paul Jeselskis

Paul Jeselskis

Caroline Airy heavy surface texture bottles in green and brown

Textured stoneware bottles – English potter Caroline Airey



Curtis Benzyl contemporary ceramic bowl - brown, green, white wavy stripes

Bowl – Curtis Benzle  1975


Benzle’s work is made with colored vitreous translucent porcelain. Much of the nonfigural imagery of his bowls is constructed from repeat patterning. Creating complexity out of essential simplicity is at the core of all his work.

( Met Museum )

Carrie Doman ceramic pitcher with bark like surface

Carrie Doman Jug – exploring natures textures through clay.

Debra LeAir sgraffito ceramic panel abstract design

Debra LeAir sgraffito ceramic panel

Off the Wheel Pottery twin handled vase in black and white sgraffito

Off the Wheel Pottery

Sylvian Meschia sgraffito vase with black, white and brown motifs

Sylvian Meschia




Ron-Melo black on whit sgraffito lidded jar with base

Ron Mello




Rebecca A. Grant Ceramics: Sgraffito Flower Mug

Rebecca A. Grant Ceramics: Sgraffito Flower Mug



Rachel Wolf,-Sgraffito-Baluster Vase with Picassoesque Face

Baluster sgraffito vase –  Rachel Wolf




Rachel-DePauw-sgraffito-art-nouveau-pottery Turquoise and white with sgraffito panel teapot

Rachel De Pauw




Elaine-Hind pastel coloured vase with incies and carved decoration

Elaine Hind vase



Eduardo-Perez-Rodriguez bird motif olla

Eduardo Perez Rodriguez Mata ortiz pot


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Sources Cited :-