Posted 4 years ago
One of my earliest purchases on ebay was this Leerdam Unica.
Fortunately for me the seller could not read the signature under the piece and thought that it was a piece of Finnish glass by Nuutajarvi.
Leerdam Unica pieces are one-offs.
They are experimental pieces.
This piece is marked underneath "Leerdam Unica UB 101 H Iep Valkema".
One of Leerdam's designers was Sybren Valkema (1916- 1996). His nickname was "Iep". His career is notable for his twin roles as both educator and artist. It began in 1943 when he was invited by A.D. Copier to become an instructor in Aesthetic Design at Leerdam Glassworks. That same year he became a drawing instructor at the Instituut voor Kunstnijverheidsonderwijs (or IVK) in Amsterdam.
In the years after WWII Valkema worked mostly as a teacher of industrial design in a variety of areas including textiles, pottery and glass continuing the traditions of the Bauhaus. He moved into design himself and was to become one of the major figures in modern Dutch studio glass or 'Vrij Glas'. "Valkema was part of the industry experimental ceramics group at the Porceleyne Fles in Delft (1956 -) and a founder of the World Crafts Council (1964) and, after retiring in 1981, travelled the world to visit colleagues, and contribute to numerous projects."
Between 1957 and 1961 Leerdam produced 209 pieces of decorated unica that are known as "UB Unica". This one was produced in 1958. These pieces were a counterbalance to the mechanised mass produced table wares that Leerdam produced in the mid 1950's.
The signature "Leerdam Unica UB 101 H Iep Valkema"also includes the letter H. I believe this is the mark of the glass blower of the piece: Hannes den Hartog.