The art pottery movement began in the 1870s in America and Britain, coinciding roughly with the beginning of the Arts and Crafts movement, which gained momentum in the 1880s. Art pottery was more elaborate than utilitarian pottery and more aesthetically focused than decorative figurines. Early art-pottery pieces were usually hand-decorated, signed by the artist, and produced in limited numbers.

Many companies known for their art pottery, like Rookwood, Roseville, Frankoma, and Weller, were founded in the American Midwest in the 1880s and 1890s. Drawing on local deposits of clay and minerals, most of these companies started by making simple, decorative pottery pieces or utilitarian pieces such as flowerpots and other garden ware.

What ultimately set these companies apart were their ornamental designs. Rookwood and other Midwestern companies took inspiration from Asian designs and Art Nouveau styles, creating pieces that were both functional and beautiful. They worked in a variety of popular forms, from vases to bowls to wall sconces and decorative tiles.

Some art pottery makers, like Rookwood, eventually grew into large operations, producing pieces in quantity and marketing them nationally via department stores and catalogs. But many smaller studios also thrived in the heyday of hand thrown and decorated art pottery.

Other noteworthy makers of art pottery include Hull, McCoy, Charles Volkmar, Chelsea Keramic, Lonhuda, George Ohr, Newcomb College, Grueby Faience, Adelaide Alsop Robineau, Artus Van Briggle, and the Saturday Evening Girls.

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Recent News: Art Pottery

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Greenway Arts Festival Huge Success!
Wgnsradio, September 20th

Oil painting, digital art, pottery, iron sculptures, crafted items and more made-up the items that were sold at this popular attraction. There was a record turn-out this year, and with the closing of the festival--plans are already underway for next...Read more

Pottery celebrates Somerset Wildlife Trust 50th Anniversary
Bridgwater Mercury, September 18th

“The pieces are a stunning representation of three of the county's most precious butterfly species, and I am sure will be greatly enjoyed by art pottery collectors and wildlife enthusiasts alike. A donation to the trust will be made with every piece...Read more

New Hartford Art League art show opens Sept. 20
Torrington Register Citizen, September 17th

NEW HARTFORD >> The New Hartford Art League will hold an art, pottery and jewelry show at Always About You Massage Center and Stone Garden (formerly Act II Gallery) located at 14 Church Street North. The art league has held art shows at Act II Gallery ...Read more

Newcomb Pottery exhibit comes to Stark Museum, September 14th

Newcomb Pottery is considered one of the most significant collections of American art pottery of the 20th century, with each piece critically acclaimed and highly coveted. The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service has partnered with...Read more

Niloak Pottery On Display At Fort Smith Museum
Times Record, September 4th

The name Niloak is the reverse spelling of kaolin, the clay used to produce the pottery. The exhibits include about 75 pieces, including the art pottery, Missionware, which is known for its swirl patterns and industrial cast ware. Light refreshments...Read more

Is it sunset for ancient art of pottery making?
Deccan Herald, September 2nd

The alluring art of pottery making, like all handicrafts and crafts, has always been an essential part of our socio-cultural heritage. For thousands of years, pottery art has been one of the most beautiful forms of expression. A piece of pottery has a...Read more

The vein of Hull Pottery still runs deep for one local community
Perry County Tribune (registration), August 26th

On the list of some of the most popular pieces of Hull are lamps, art pottery, art wares from the 1950s; piggy banks, baskets, bookends, candleholders, cookie jars, dinnerware from the 1940s, and others. From the 1930s through the 1950s Hull Pottery ...Read more

Red Wing pottery
Leader-Telegram, August 25th

Besides dinnerware, Wipperling said factory employees made art pottery during shift breaks or other spare time. We collect items as a hobby, a challenge, an investment or a way to preserve a cherished, personal part of our past. For some of us, this is...Read more