When Samuel Weller launched his one-man, one-room pottery in 1872, he did everything himself. He dug the clay from the Fultenham, Ohio, soil, threw and fired his pieces, and carted them into nearby Zanesville, where he sold them door to door.
At the time, Weller’s repertoire ranged from flower pots to cuspidors, with the occasional piece of stoneware thrown in for good measure. Little could anyone have guessed that within 30 years, Weller Pottery would employ 500 people and be one of the biggest names in hand-painted art pottery in the United States.
While Weller’s roots may have been solo, his success owed a lot to the artisans he hired. The first of these was William Long of Lonhouda Pottery. Long was only at Weller a year or so, but Weller produced his Louwelsa pieces for many years to come. These vases and other decorative objects featured generally dark backgrounds, upon which were florals or portraits, which appeared frozen beneath their shiny overglaze.
The next outsider to help Weller achieve his vision, and success, was Charles Babcock Upjohn, who was hired in 1895 as Weller’s art director—he remained with the firm for almost 10 years. Upjohn is credited with the popular Dickensware II line of 1900, whose surfaces featured figurative illustrations that were literally lifted from the pages of Charles Dickens novels.
Next Weller hired the English potter Frederick Hurton Rhead, who was also only at Weller a year (1902-1903) but left a major mark before moving on to Roseville and Arequipa (Rhead is probably best known as the designer of Fiesta). Among other things, Rhead is credited with Dickensware III, which was a kind of embossed version of Upjohn’s time-consuming-to-produce line. He also produced a number of hand-painted faience plates.
Jacques Sicard, a French ceramist, arrived shortly thereafter. He was brought to Weller to share the secrets of an iridescent majolica. Sicard eventually produced the Sicardo line for Weller, but unlike Long and Rhead, he refused to reveal his formula and methods, leaving the pottery in 1907 with the secrets still in his head.
Coincidental with Sicard’s tenure at Weller was that of Austrian Rudolph Lorber, who brought a menagerie of figurines to the firm. He also excelled at embossing techniques and wa...
The Hobart line aside, Weller did not throw off its Art Nouveau roots. One of the pottery’s biggest sellers during the 1920s was its Hudson line of vases, whose floral paintings were decidedly nostalgic for the turn of the century, and are today considered among the finest examples of hand-painted production pottery in the early 20th century. Simultaneously, Weller produced several lines that used relief on their surfaces to dramatic effect, from the birds and daisies of the Knifewood line to the floral decorations of Marvo.
By the 1930s, the days of hand painting at Weller were numbered. Indeed, the company’s painted lines during the decade, from Bonito to Stellar, were extremely simplistic compared to what had come before. By 1935, Weller was only making molded pottery and in 1948, after struggling to stay afloat during World War II, the company closed for good.
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Clay artists seek prize of $20000 in first Zanesville Prize for Contemporary ...Columbus Dispatch, September 26th
Near the start of the 20th century, plenty of pottery producers — including Weller, Roseville and McCoy — opened shop in the area. “There are a lot of clay deposits here,” said Laine Snyder, executive director of the Zanesville Museum of Art. “It was...Read more
Fall Arts Guide 2014The International Examiner, September 25th
“Kintsugi” is the ancient Japanese technique of repairing broken pottery with seams of lacquer, gold, or silver. It speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history ..... video games and original comics. 525 S. Weller. Go to www.kinokuniya...Read more
2014 Fall Arts Guide: Your beacon to API arts and happeningsThe International Examiner, September 25th
“Kintsugi” is the ancient Japanese technique of repairing broken pottery with seams of lacquer, gold, or silver. It speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history and .... 525 S. Weller. Go to www.kinokuniya.com/us for details. • Liz Tran's...Read more
Parish pump Uckfield - September 26, 2014Sussex Express, September 25th
The cups were awarded as follows: The British Caledonian Cup (vegetables) Peter Estcourt; Hickwells Cup (best vegetable exhibit) Jackie Pateman; Bowling Cup (flowers) Linda Blaker; Weller Cup (dahlias) Duncan Clark; Sam Briggs Memorial Cup (most points...Read more
Celebrating One Year and Many VictoriesHuffington Post, September 4th
They created ornate pottery, developed an herbal medicine system and shared many indigenous crops such as yucca and maize2. In 1492, upon Christopher Colombus' arrival, ... This article was co-written by Director of Efficiency and Administrative...Read more
MCAS Yuma artists recognized with showcaseYuma Sun, August 26th
Marines, sailors, family members and guests talk about and look at the artwork created through the classes held by the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., Single Marine Program at the Yuma Fine Arts Center, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. There were more...Read more
Selby Abbey set to host medieval festivalThe Press, York, August 25th
A prestigious abbey is gearing up for a day of celebration to remember Yorkshire's past. A special ale has already been brewed for the big day, as the glorious abbey prepares to welcome visitors from far and wide for the family fun day as part of the...Read more