Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pottery: Art from Nature

I love pottery. There is something about the feel, as well as the look, of it that appeals to me. I also love the fact that pottery is the result of the four elements of nature: earth, water, fire, and, for air, the breath of inspiration of the creator.

I collect pottery from various places I have visited, and thought I would share some of my things with you.

I like to handle pottery, and so most of the pieces in my collection are ones that I can use regularly, like this mug, from Rowe Pottery in Wisconsin.

The salt glazing is a hallmark feature of Rowe's Classic style. I also have one of their small lamps.

Blue and white pottery is my favorite.

This bowl, from Amana, Iowa, is great for soup, chili, or a mini-casserole. It was a gift from my mother, and used to be one of a pair, until I broke the other one.

These two pieces are from Anta Pottery, in Tain, Scotland.

The mug is their Skye Thistle pattern, and I love drinking cocoa from it. I think the pattern on bowl is called Sandeman. I like to use it for Scottish porridge.

This trivet is also Scottish, from Highland Pottery, in Lochinver, on the northwest coast. The iris pattern spoke to me.

I found a really wonderful pottery on my trip to the New River Gorge Birding Festival last May. Gauley River Pottery is truly a "mom and pop" shop. The wife, Mary, is the potter, and her husband, John, does the glazing and firing. The day I visited, their youngest boy was serving as chief entertainment and customer relations specialist.

This pattern is called "Cranberry Mountain Sunset." I found the rich colors appealing. I use the mixing bowl often, and the small, handled bowl is good for soup.

Using the same glazes with slightly different techniques produces "New River Nights" a darker version of the above.

This particular vase is porcelain. Mary told me she didn't work with it much, because she found it too stiff and dry. One day she was experimenting and decided to use some porcelain clay that had been frozen by accident. Something about the freezing and thawing changed the clay and made it easier to work. Serendipity!

This blue and white vase is also from the New River area of West Virginia. I found it in a consignment shop in Fayetteville, but it doesn't bear any potter's mark. The shopowner said this particular potter has a habit of not signing her work, unfortunately.

I don't know what it is about the quality of this particular piece, but it feels wonderful in my hand.

More decorative pieces from Scotland:

The hand-painted vase is from Highland Pottery,

as is this little whatchamacallit,
a bowl with a lid.

This is from Uig Pottery, on the northern tip of the Isle of Skye. It is a small quaich (pronounced "quake") a shallow, two-handled drinking vessel.

A quaich may be used to welcome a guest or bid him farewell, with a wee dram of whisky, of course. It might be given as a prize or as a traditional baptism gift, since a quaich is commonly used to toast a christening. When King James VI of Scotland gave one to Anne of Norway as a wedding gift in 1589, the quaich also became known as a "loving cup."

I bought this pottery bird bath in
'96 or '97 at an arts and crafts festival in the Marietta, OH/Parkersburg, WVa. area.

The little bird on the rim occasionally fools me when I take a quick glance out the window.

I have several other pieces that I didn't get photos of, such as a blue and brown mug from "little" Nashville in Brown County, Indiana, a potpourri burner from Vermont, and several little vases from the Williamsburg Pottery that I have picked up in antique and junk shops.

Starting in November, I hope to be taking pottery classes myself. The instructor promises that for the last class, a juke box will play "Unchained Melody," and Patrick Swayze will get all hot and dirty with me. Yum, yum!


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Nice pottery collection. I also pick-up pieces of pottery while traveling. I think drinking a cup of tea from a hand made cup makes the tea taste better. Just holding the hot liquid in the cup makes me feel good.

Anonymous said...

One of the many wonderful things about moving to western NC, is the abundance of extremely talented potters. Isn't it wonderful to find a coffee cup that fits your hand so well it might have been crafted just for you? Like you, we use our pottery every single day.

We also have some vintage Rookwood from Cincinnati. (No, we don't use that. It's for display.)

Kathy said...

Beautiful pottery. Some of it looks too nice to use.

Iona said...

quaich is pronounced 'quaich' in loch...without the hardness on the 'k' sound... tis a cute wee example :)