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HILLAR BERGMAN - Studio potter, musician, teacher - Traverse City, Michigan

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Pottery1373 of 11578Pink Hull 413 Goose VaseWhos made this abstract bird sculpture. Sculpture  buyed in Sweden H - 11 inch
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    Posted 2 years ago

    (360 items)

    A while ago I made a posting here about Michigan studio potter Hillar Bergman and a couple of his odd little figurines. To refresh everyone's memory, if you copy-and-paste, it can be read here -

    Recently I was contacted by Hillar Bergman who wanted to let me know he was indeed still alive and active. This was followed with a series of delightful emails where he explained the background of these figurines. "I primarily made just two items. One was the figurine, and the other was a tapered ceramic cone, with an appearance something like a carrot," he explained of the mid-1970s beginnings. The "carrots" and the figurines were both sold as knife sharpeners in the beginning. Bergman explained he had read that pioneers sharpened their knives on the unglazed bottoms of crockery and the concept developed from there. The "Cone Man Knife Sharpeners" were designed so you could also sharpen your fish hooks. Some had a conical hole on the underside meant to be used to keep your darts sharp. They were stoneware multi-tools with personality.

    The first and last pictures above show some of Hillar Bergman's more recent work. The figurines are salt-glazed now and, no longer concerned with sharpening fish hooks, their pointy heads have relaxed into a curl. The center pictures are from the Hemlock Pottery days (mid-1970s - mid 1980s).

    Hemlock Pottery in Hemlock, Michigan was an early pottery studio of James W. Ardis.

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    1. yougottahavestuff yougottahavestuff, 2 years ago
      I wish I Nose what he Nose?!!!
    2. freiheit freiheit, 2 years ago
      I am still sharpening my knives on the unglazed bottoms of crockery. My husband uses a fancy metal sharpener. I swear my method works better! I would mind using one of those little fellows instead!
    3. Karenoke Karenoke, 2 years ago
      I wonder if he made any salt and pepper shakers?
      Acquired some the other day that remind me of this work.

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