ZANESVILLE, Ohio – IRA gone to pot? Take heart! This can be good news, particularly if the “pot” in question is a Weller, McCoy, Rookwood, or Roseville. Today, American art pottery is a hot commodity – a beautiful investment that yields years of enjoyment and grows in value with time. If you had invested a decade or two ago in a collection of stunning American art pottery from a major studio, it may well have doubled or tripled in worth.
Now, then, is the perfect time to begin building a personal portfolio of your own, or add to your growing collection. The place to do just that? At the Pottery Lovers Reunion, July 11-18 at the Ramada Inn in Zanesville, Ohio. For one week only, pottery specialists from throughout the country showcase and sell their collections in individual rooms at the Ramada that are open to the buying public.
There is an auction on Wednesday, held by Greg Belhorn and a week-end long show and sale at the hotel, July 17-18 that has been called the greatest pottery event of its kind in the country. The show presents the crème de la crème of vintage pottery, much of it made in the Ohio Valley in what has now been termed the Golden Age of Pottery (from the late 1800s to the 1950s).
What is in demand? As pieces by some of the most famous Ohio factories – Rookwood, Roseville, Weller, McCoy, Owens, Hull, among others – become scarce, their value increases. Collectors on the look out for a prized piece of McCoy, Rookwood or Roseville will find it here.
“Rookwood pottery, founded in the late 1800s by Maria Nichols in Cincinnati Ohio where it is based to this day, has enjoyed increasing popularity and value over the last ten years and is an excellent investment,” notes Pottery Lovers Reunion president, Joe Tunnell. The pottery is known for its beautiful glazes – among them Opal, Sea Green, Butterfat, Iris, Wax Matte, Standard or brown glaze. Many great artists worked for the company – among them Kataro Shirayamadani, Carl Schmidt, Jens Jensen, Sara Sax, Leonore Asbury – and their work is sought out today. Collectors are often drawn to Rookwood because it is so well marked, with factory symbols, dating systems and artists marks found on the base.
Roseville is another pottery that has enjoyed remarkable growth, with collectors now searching for hard-to-find pieces such as the company’s experimental pots – prototypes for pieces that were either abandoned or eventually selected for mass production.
“Experimentals, ” which are one-of-a-kind and limited in number, differed from the utilitarian earthenware first produced by this pottery in Roseville, Ohio around 1890. Hand-sculpted rather than produced from a mold, pieces often had notes and information etched on the blank side, making them so desirable today. The company also produced a pattern known as Futura that is a prime example of Art Deco design in the American style. This pattern, which was very futuristic for its time – hence the name – is very popular among collectors.
Also high on collectors’ lists are the lesser-known garden ornaments produced by the Weller Pottery. These delightful woodland and barnyard creatures — ducks, owls, chickens, dogs, cats, rabbits and frogs — were molded and glazed to appear realistic when placed in the garden – and indeed they do! Prices vary with a group of fantasy figures such as Pan with a fife, seated elves, larger-than-life frogs commanding top dollar.
The importance of women’s role in the American Art Pottery movement is clearly demonstrated by the success of two female potters whose works now command top dollar. Rose Cabat, at 94, is still producing her silken “feelies” –the tiny, luminescent pots, so-named because of their the sensual shape that invites touch.
Polish born, Polia Pillin’s pottery has a luminous finish, almost like glass. She viewed the pot as a surface on which to project her private mysteries. Many of her abstract designs of animals, nature and the human form are reminiscent of Pablo Picasso’s paintings. Arnold Small, a Pillin admirer, will be bring to the show pieces from his collection, including the hard-to-find nudes and Siamese cats that have become so prized by collectors.
The Pottery Lovers Reunion is also a wonderful resource for contemporary art pottery by some of the country’s most talented artists, among them Paul Katrich, Chris Powell, Tim Eberhardt, Eric Olson, Scott Draves, Marvin Bailey, and several others. Get in on the ground floor with these artists and watch your investment grow.
And what about that vase or pot left forgotten on a shelf or tucked away in the attic? That family treasure could be the key to putting some extra cash into your pocketbook. How to tell if it’s valuable? Bring it to the show. The dealers who exhibit at this event are among the most knowledgeable in the field. They’ll give you an idea of what it is worth and may even be interested
in buying it.
Room sales begin at the Ramada at 8am July 11 until July 18. Show hours at the end of the week are: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday, July 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, July 18.
Admission: Free! The auction will be held on Wednesday, July 15. For more information go to www.potterylovers.org or call Joe Tunnell at 423/534-8220.