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”)

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]

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]

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]

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]

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    

Scheurich Fat Lava West German Pottery Ceramic Modern Mid Century Vintage RetroDWest German Fat Lava 'fire Fish' Vase ~ Exceedingly Rare Design ~ Made C.1965!!!Scheurich Fat Lava West German Pottery Ceramic Modern Mid Century Vintage RetroChimney Vase Jopeko West German Pottery Ceramic Modern Mid Century Vintage RetroScheurich Amsterdam Onion West German Pottery Ceramic Modern Mid Century VintageRuscha Keramik 313 West German Pottery Ceramic Fat Lava Mod Mid Century VintageFat Lava West German Pottery Ceramic Modern 20 Mid Century Vintage Retro Wgp PotFantoni Italy For Raymor Lava Glaze Shoulder Vase Mid Century ModernDStudio West German Pottery Ceramics Modernistic 20 Th Mid Century Vintage RetroCarstens West Germany Pottery Ceramic Modernist 20 Th Mid Century Vintage RetroBay Fat Lava West German Pottery Ceramic Modern 20 Mid Century Vintage Retro WgpCortendorf Fat Lava Vase Torpedo Shape Red Vintage West German PotteryFohr Keramik Fat Lava West German Pottery Modernist 20 Mid Century Vintage RetroScheurich Fat Lava West German Pottery Modernist 20 Th Mid Century Vintage RetroFohr Keramik Fat Lava West German Pottery Modern Mid 20 Th Century Vintage RetroChimney Vase Fat Lava Pottery Ceramic Modernistic 20 Mid Century Vintage RetroRare Vintage 60-70s Otto Keramik Fat Lava Red Vase West German Pottery Retro ArtArt Deco, Modernist,bauhaus Vase C.1930 From The Carstens-uffrecht In GermanySteuler West German Pottery Ceramic Modernistic 20 Mid Century Vintage Retro PotRare Retro Vintage 60-70s Scheurich 281/19 Vase West German Pottery Fat LavaScheurich West German Pottery Ceramic Modernist 20 Th Mid Century Vintage RetroCarstens Blue Ankara West German Pottery Modern 20 Th Mid Century Vintage RetroJasba Large West German Pottery Ceramic Vase Mid Century Modernist.retro VintageWest German Pottery Ceramic Modernist 20 Th Mid Century Vintage Retro Pruple PotScheurich Fabiola West German Pottery Ceramic Modern Mid Century Vintage RetroWest German Pottery Ceramic Modernistic 20 Th Mid Century Vintage Retro Blue PotFritz Van Daalen West German Pottery Modern 20 Th Mid Century Vintage Retro BlueScheurich West German Pottery Ceramic Modernist 20 Th Mid Century Vintage RetroCarstens Ankara Blue West German Pottery Ceramic Modernistic Midcentury VintageWest German Pottery Planter Pot Plant Mid Century 60's Vintage Retro W GermanyBay Keramik West Germany Pottery Ceramic Modernist 20 Mid Century Vintage RetroRare Vintage 60-70s Kreutz 208 Fat Lava Vase West German Pottery Art Retro Fat Lava Glaze 2-hole Pottery Cubus Vase Object VestSteuler Cari Zaloni Zylon Vase West German Pottery Vintage Mid Modern 50s 60s Marei Keramik West German Pottery Ceramic Modernist Mid 20 Century Vintage RetroRare Vintage 60-70's Walter Gerhards Vase West German Pottery Art Fat Lava EraVintage~mount Clemens Pottery "mildred" Vegetable Bowl & 6 Dessert Bowls~unusedWest German Pottery Ceramic Modernistic 20 Mid Century Vintage Retro Kitsch VaseStrehla East German Pottery Modernistic 20 Th Mid Century Vintage Retro Fat LavaJasba Keramik West German Pottery Ceramic Modernist Mid 20 Century Vintage RetroCarstens West German Pottery Ceramic Modernist 20 Th Mid Century Vintage RetroScheurich West German Pottery Ceramic Modernist 20 Th Mid Century Vintage RetroCarstens West German Pottery Ceramic Modernistic 20 Th Mid Century Vintage RetroFohr Keramik West German Pottery Modern Mid Century Vintage Flower Pot PlanterRuscha Keramik West German Pottery Modernist 20 Th Mid Century Vintage Retro RedScheurich Inka West German Pottery Ceramic Modernistic Mid Century Vintage RetroGerman Fat Lava Flower Pot Planter Orange Vintage West German PotteryGreen Bay West German Pottery Ceramic Modernist 20 Th Mid Century Vintage RetroMidcentury Handled Pottery Vase Fat Bluegreen Lava Glaze2x Vintage Retro 1960-70's Blue/green Glass Vase/s German Art Fat Lava Era CraftBay Keramik West German Pottery Ceramic Modernist 20th Mid Century Vintage RetroScheurich Fat Lava Vase "kosmos" Blue Vintage West German PotteryDStaffel Fat Lava Vase Mid Century Modern Black&white Vintage WgpVintage~mount Clemens Pottery "mildred" Platter & 6 Bread & Butter Plates~unusedRuscha Keramik West German Pottery Ceramic Modernistic 20 Th Mid Century VintageRuscha 303 West German Pottery Ceramic Modernist 20 Th Mid Century Vintage RetroJopeko West German Pottery Ceramic Modernist 20 Th Mid Century Vintage Retro Pot