Matte Green

Weller Arts & Crafts Matte Green Pottery Bowl (LEO Design)

I've always loved matter green pottery.  Perhaps it's the leafy complement to my other love, quarter-sawn oak.  The piece above was made by Weller around 1910.

Weller Pottery was founded in 1872 in Fultonham, Ohio by Samuel Weller.  It was a humble beginning with one log cabin, one kiln, and one man doing everything: digging the clay from the ground, mixing it to achieve proper consistency, throwing the pieces on a pottery wheel, glazing and firing them, then driving them to market, hoping to sell them.  In the early years, Weller concentrated on rather pedestrian “Utility Ware” items, including crocks, kitchen bowls, water coolers, jars, jugs, and pipes.  Within 17 years, Mr. Weller had built-up a modest business and moved it to Zanesville, Ohio a hub of Mid-Western American pottery manufacture (and closer to his selling market).  At this point, Mr. Weller began to add decorated art pottery pieces to his range—and the business really took off.

As the years progressed, and tastes changed, Weller would add and delete specific lines from his offerings—to meet customer demand.  But a trend was emerging:  greater success (and profitability) was to be found in the simpler, less labor-intensive designs.  This meant more “casting” in pottery moulds (vs. labor-intensive hand-throwing) and less hand-decorating.

After World War II, with rising American labor costs, much of the production of “mass market” art pottery was moving overseas—to Japan and Germany.  Finally, in 1948, Weller Pottery closed its doors for good.

The piece shown above is classic American Arts & Crafts pottery in the signature matte green glaze.  It was made by Weller around 1910 and reflects stylized simplicity and the natural earth tones so popular within the Arts & Crafts movement.  The piece tips its hat to Viennese Secessionism while also expressing a vague, Native American sensibility.  Click on the photo to learn more about it.


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