Fat lava is the name given to certain styles of postwar, West German art pottery, particularly from the 1960s and ’70s. The genre gets its name from the thick, encrusted glazes that typify many of these pieces, some of which look as if their surfaces are composed of frozen flows of lava in radioactive hues ranging from fiery reds to cobalt blues. While the glazes were referred to at the time as lava glazes, the “fat” designation is more recent, the result of the public’s particular fascination with pieces whose glazes are especially thick and textured.

Fat lava objects include large floor vases, smaller straight-sided jugs (some with ring handles near their mouths), and sculptural pieces that appear to have been chiseled and sliced, creating juxtapositions of smooth and gnarled surfaces. Some fat lava pieces seem to be outgrowths of the macrame-and-raku aesthetic of 1960s hippie culture, while others have a postmodern, almost pop-culture look to them, sporting deliberately childlike designs like flowers, some rendered in deep relief.

The most prolific fat lava ceramics factories of the period include Bay, Carstens, Jasba, Spara, Scheurich, and Ubelacker. Other well-regarded makers were Jopeko, Klein, Otto, Roth, and Ruscha.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Gouda Design

Gouda Design

Stuart Lonsdale and Kim Lindley's excellent tribute to and reference on Gouda Dutch Art Pottery and Delftware. The … [read review or visit site]

The Mid Century Modernist

The Mid Century Modernist

Stephen Coles' really visual blog dedicated to the Modernist era of design from 1940 to 1970 (aka Mid-century Moder… [read review or visit site]

Herman Miller Consortium Collection

Herman Miller Consortium Collection

This website showcases several hundred pieces of furniture, held by thirteen museums, that were designed for Herman… [read review or visit site]

Cowan Pottery Museum Associates

Cowan Pottery Museum Associates

Dedicated to raising awareness of the ceramic art work of R. Guy Cowan and his Cowan Pottery Studio in northeastern… [read review or visit site]

The Pottery Studio

The Pottery Studio

This 7,000-plus page site lives up to its self-billing as a 'knowledge base' with examples of work from all major a… [read review or visit site]

EamesCollector.com

EamesCollector.com

Steven Cabella's personal homage to Charles and Ray Eames. This site is as clean and visually appealing as the Eame… [read review or visit site]

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

This Library of Congress microsite is an overview of the postwar modern design work of Charles (1907-78) and Ray (1… [read review or visit site]

Classic Modern

Classic Modern

Get a taste of how homes were lit in the 50s, 60s, and 70s with the Danish retro-style lighting designs featured on… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Roth Fat Lava "penguin" Wgp Ceramic Vase Mid Century Modernist.retro Vintage10'' Vintage 60' Bitossi Vase Rimini Blu Aldo Londi Italian Pottery Fat Lava EraKaiser Porcelain ~ Homage To Tutankhamun Egyptian Decorated Bowl ~ West GermanyLarge Vintage 60' Gräflich Ortenburg Selenium Vase W.german Pottery Fat Lava EraWhite "ufo" Pottery Vase Fat Brown Lava Glaze Otto Keramik Otto GerharzRare Vintage 70' Carstens Crystalline Vase Blue Glass W.german Pottery Fat LavaLarge Vintage 60-70's Ruscha 874-29 Fat Lava Purple Vase West German Pottery ArtTall 12'' Vintage 1960-70's Gerold 43/1 Gloss Porcelain Vase German Fat Lava EraTall Vintage 60-70' Bareuther Bisque Silvana Porcelain Bark Vase German Fat Lava2xvintage Retro 60-70's Crane Wood Statue/figurine German Art Fat Lava Vase EraScheurich West Germany Fast Lava Mid Century Modernist Pop Art VaseYellow Lava Glaze Pottery Vase Signed Martl Or Martz 61New Union Terminal Building Jacksonville Fla Souvenir Vase Jon Roth GermanyVintage Carstens Tonnieshof Pottery West Germany Large 16" Floor Vase West German Pottery Vase Floral Studio Ceramics Artist 284-19Retro West Germany Glazed Lava Handled Vase Jasba Pottery 1960s8-7/8" West Germany Scheurich Pottery Vase 242-22, Golden YellowMid Century Scheurich Vase / Jug Form 407-35 Europ Linie Red Orange Blue/greenMarei Blue Wiht White And Blue Thick Fat Lava Drips Retro Vintage 70's Vase/ JugScheurich West Germany Collectible Blue Ceramic VaseWest Germany Hammered/stamped Copper Kettle Pot Wrought Iron Handle & Feet