Monday, January 16, 2012

Mid-Century Pottery Collection

While dusting knick knacks this weekend, I took the opportunity to pull out another of my collections and take a few pictures. This is one of those cases where I can’t remember exactly how it all started. It may have been around ten years ago when I was very excited about vintage handbags and spent many happy hours searching the antique shops. These colorful planters would have caught my eye, and being rather plentiful and comparatively inexpensive, they were probably a good alternative (for a shopaholic) to overpriced pseudo-antique handbags in poor condition.
clockwise from upper right: Haeger, Upco, USA

I love everything about the mid-century aesthetic in all its periods and extremes. My parents still live in the house I grew up in, and they still have the same Danish modern furniture, abstract area rugs, and wall-sized modern art. Visiting them is a delightful step back in time in many ways. I don’t expect to ever live in a mid-century modern home or be able to afford any major furniture from that time, so I figure that these little pots are perfect reminders of the wild colors and designs of the early to mid-1900s.

You will not see any Newcomb or Van Briggle treasures here! Other than imposing a price limit of $15 per item, I didn’t follow any rules for this collection. I mostly aimed for planters, or footed bowls as they are sometimes called. There are some genuine vintage pieces in good condition, some reproductions in not-so-good condition, and everything in between. Most of these were made at potteries in Ohio (Brush, McCoy, Hull, Stangl), Illinois (Haeger), and Minnesota (Redwing) in the 40s through 60s, or in California in the 50s. Many items are simply marked USA, to differentiate from imports.

clockwise from top: unmarked, Calif, Calif, USA

clockwise from upper right: USA, Brush, USA

Haeger (l), Hull (r)

Many of the containers had been used to hold plants at some point, and had the stains to prove it. After cleaning them up with soft brushes, mild soap and diluted vinegar, I decided just to use them for display and not expose them to further damage. I’m a strong proponent of using vintage items for their intended purpose, but in this particular case I thought I’d get more enjoyment from them if they stayed clean.

Some are more like serving dishes than planters (Stangl (top), unmarked (bottom))

And some are more like flower pots (l to r, Coronet, unmarked, Brush)

clockwise from top: unmarked, Haeger, Redwing, Regal

You can see that the collection leans heavily toward green. I have found that the majority of vintage planters available (in my price range) are green, although the potters made many colors. For whatever reason, those other colors are much rarer now, and accordingly more collected and more expensive.

Now you have an inkling of why my house is so crowded with just two of us. We've just touched on a few of my collections, and we haven't even started on the Piemaker's!

On a completely different topic, I hope everyone saw Peter's post at MPB yesterday, in which he blasts away at unflattering dress shapes over the years. I was thrilled to note that one of my favorite caftan patterns was near the top of his list. Words like horror, stupid, nightmare, and wrong were tossed about with gleeful abandon. How I wanted to comment on that post! Sadly, I've been unable to post comments on some blogs for the last few days, so Peter's challenge goes unanswered. No doubt there will be future controversies to participate in.

Thank you for stopping by to share some vintage appreciation!



  1. Interesting to see how the American ceramics are similar to ours at that time. Not heard of any of those makes. Our equivalents would be Poole or Sylvac maybe?

  2. This is one of the things I love about blogging - it opens up a lot of new worlds! I had never heard of Poole or Sylvac, but after browsing through some images I am smitten. The multicolored Poole pieces are just incredible. Thanks, Snippa!

  3. I see that I was able to comment today, so I thought I'd come back and comment here.
    I love your collection! My mother had a huge one also, but of course they were new then, and filled with plants. They were everywhere; she loved growing things! i miss it; you've given me (yet another!) item to add to my thrifting list.
    xo, Anita

  4. I also love green planters! I have some of the same ones that you have. If you would like to see some of them -
    Although I don't collect vintage patterns, I enjoyed looking at those posts, too.