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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Recent News: Weller Art Pottery

Source: Google News

Enthusiasm for pottery draws thousands to area
Coshocton Tribune, July 10th

A big draw to the convention this year has been the five Weller vases on display at the Zanesville Museum of Art, together for the first time since the 1904 World Fair. Many of the Pottery Lovers already had ventured out on their own to see the pieces...Read more

Passion for pottery draws thousands to town
Zanesville Times Recorder, July 10th

A big draw to the convention this year has been the five Weller vases on display at the Zanesville Museum of Art, together for the first time since the 1904 World Fair. Many of the Pottery Lovers already had ventured out on their own to see the pieces...Read more

State Briefs: from AP wire reports
The-review, July 6th

The Zanesville Times Recorder reported that the vases created by artists at the former Weller Pottery plant in Zanesville are now on display at the Zanesville Museum of Art. The hand-painted vases created in the late 19th and early 20th centuries stand...Read more

Vases created more than century ago back in Ohio
Merced Sun-Star, July 6th

The vases created by artists at the former Weller Pottery plant in Zanesville are now on display at the Zanesville Museum of Art, the Zanesville Times Recorder (http://ohne.ws/1tbOhzB) reports. The huge hand-painted vases created in the late 19th and...Read more

Zanesville by any other name
Zanesville Times Recorder, July 3rd

Samuel A. Weller and J.B. Owens set up pottery companies in Zanesville. Both the American Encaustic Company and the Mosaic Company turned out some of the world's best tile. These local clay products were so important that in 1892, William McKinley, ...Read more

Pieces of history return to Zanesville
Coshocton Tribune, July 3rd

Weller Pottery was especially influential locally and throughout the art world. Sam Weller established his first pottery in Fultonham, in 1872, making functional earthenware for everyday use. In 1882, he relocated to Zanesville and, in 1893, started...Read more

The Silver City Clay Festival returns July 30-August 3.
Desertexposure, June 30th

Activities throughout downtown will encompass archeology, contemporary ceramics, natural building techniques, preservation and restoration, and Mata Ortiz pottery. ... the art and artistry of clay. (Photo above by Dennis Weller, below by Adrienne Booth...Read more

Roof collapse causes gas leak
Alton Telegraph, June 24th

By Linda N. Weller lweller@civitasmedia.com. 11,904-square-foot building at 603 Piasa St. in Alton was the site ... Harvey said there were boxes, some pottery and assorted junk inside the building. Someone reported smelling natural gas in the area at...Read more