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AN INTRODUCTION TO JAPANESE AWAJI POTTERY (Excerpt) Circa 1880–1939 Thomas Kelway Libby ©2010 WHAT IS AWAJI POTTERY?Awaji pottery was made on the Japanese island of the same name between 18.The Awaji potters were masters of their craft who had an innate feel for the possibilities of the clay form.The result of their efforts is a pottery of exceptionally lively forms that have an informal and genuine feel, devoid of fussiness and pretension.Niloak Pottery (Kaolin spelled backward) was made at the Hyten Brothers Pottery in Benton, Arkansas, from 1910 to 19 to 1947.Although the factory did make cast and molded wares, collectors are most interested in the marbleized art pottery line made of colored swirls of clay. The mission swirl line was developed by Charles Hyten.The glazes are often brilliant in tone and most are translucent and finely crackled.
Some of the earlier ware is delicately potted, but the majority of Awaji-ware is more stoutly constructed and pleasantly balanced.
There are also a host of other marks used over the years. The Arts and Crafts aesthetic that still tends to define art pottery today did not dominate the decorative arts in America in the early part of the twentieth century. 1) in the Newark Museums 1910 Modern American Pottery exhibition, alongside Grueby and Newcomb, reminds us that porcelain was also seen as art pottery. In Massachusetts, Hugh Robertson (18451908) produced a line of austere Chinese-form vases with deceptively simple, richly textured glazes, in a wide range of colors. Professor Isaac Broome, working for Trentons Ott and Brewer, brought the artistic spotlight to ceramic sculpture in 1876.6 Broome, however, only made a few actual pots, preferring busts and figures.
Your best source to find these marks are any of the many books available that chronicle the work of the Roseville USA Pottery Company. Often, you will also find the shape number and the height of the piece impressed in the bottom as seen in the photo above left or notated with the previously mentioned red crayon. Walter Scott Lenox ran his Ceramic Art Company in the same way Rookwood and Grueby were run, with different segments of the production process assigned to specific people or groups of people, from glaze chemists and potters to kiln-loaders to decorators. Never profitable, Robertsons art pottery was subsidized by the popular blue and white crackled dinnerware lines developed in the 1890s that bore the Dedham name. Just as was true with painterly pots, sculptural art pottery evolved as artistic taste and aesthetic ideology changed over time.
Acanthus: A carved ornament, typically a finial or pendant drop resembling acanthus leaves, used decoratively, especially on furniture.
Acorn: A carved ornament, typically a finial or pendant drop resembling an acorn, often used on William and Mary furniture.
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Most of the pieces that we see here in the West were made sometime between the mid 1870's when Awaji began exporting pottery, and the mid to late 1930's when the last of the kilns closed.