New European Ceramics – part XII

Belgian Salt-Glazed Vase with Wrought-Iron Mountings (LEO Design)

Let’s conclude our parade of European art pottery with something extra-special.  From Belgium, during the period which straddles both the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods, comes this superb salt glazed vase by Roger Guerin with a custom-wrought iron mounting, quite probably by François Carion.  Salt glazing, which was developed in Germany during the Medieval period, utilizes saline which interacts with the silica in the clay.  The result is a glossy sodium silicate finish with a curdled, “orange peel like” texture.  The possible color range is rather narrow—browns, blues and purples.  Initially, the technique was used on early stoneware utility items—like bowls, crocks and food storage container—and the technique moved to England, America and the rest of Europe. In the case above, ceramicist Roger Guerin uses the technique to create a random, organic drip-glaze effect—where truly no two pieces share the same result.

As for the wrought iron work, metalsmith François Carion was best known for his Art Deco (and Art Nouveau) metal lighting, furniture and mirror frames.  He entered into a partnership with Guerin to create a range of very special metal-wrapped ceramics.  Like the variety of results found in Guerin’s glazes, similarly, Carion’s metal mountings were each a one-of-a-kind creation.


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