Category Archives: West German Pottery

From Jopeko to Stein: A Major Attribution Change in West German Pottery

Unfortunately, when research and documentation first began in West German pottery, it wasn’t always done with stringent Stein Keramik shape 4 20documentation.  There were assumptions that became accepted as gospel, and now that more documentation is being done along with more conversation, better exchange of information, it’s sometimes an uphill battle to not simply prove an item was made by a particular company but to prove that it wasn’t made by the company everyone believed.  Such is the case with the Jopeko to Stein shift.

Until early 2016, Stein was a very little known company, and even those of us who knew it existed thought the company had stein.4.20.botproduced a small amount of pleasant but uninspired pottery.  Then, some people started pointing out that certain forms attributed to Jopeko had never been found with a company mark or label.  In particular, Günther Heinrich Stein Keramik Shape 9 20Wulf and Guido Van den Heule started digging, pushing, and exchanging pictures on Facebook.  The result was that while none of these forms turned up confirmed as Jopeko, some shapes were found with a Stein mark.

Now, Stein is one of the big players with some very impressive glazes.  Jopeko remains a major company with great forms and glazes, but a few of their best are suddenly on a new team.  In particular, shape numbers 6, 7, 9, 11, 40, 42, 44, 47, 50, 56,  70, 80, and 92 are Stein.  stein.9.20.mark.gunther

It will likely be another year or two before the proper attributions start showing up around the internet, but it’s always more important to buy the item, not the name.  The aesthetics don’t change when the attribution does, but it still comes under the heading of keeping an open mind and checking your resources.  We’ve made huge strides in learning which company made what, but there is a lot more to learn in what is certainly the widest, deepest, most varied pottery period in history.

If you got here without visiting the main site, you can get there by clicking here: ginforsodditiques.com.  You’ll find more information plus items for sale……not just the usual suspects.

Photos of shape 9/20 and the base courtesy of Günther Heinrich Wulf.  Much appreciated.

The Fat Lava Insanity

For my first post, I’m jumping right in with pet peeve time.  While I ES Keramik glaze, excellent fat lava examplelove the phrase fat lava, it is terribly over-used, misused, and abused.  First of all, “fat lava” and “W. German pottery” are not synonymous.  Depending on how tightly you define fat lava, I would guess that less than 15% of W. German pottery qualifies.

The phrase became an overnight sensation when Mark Hill published the expanded show catalog with the name “Fat Lava”, and some people think that’s where the phrase began.  Like most overnight sensations, this one was actually years in the making since eBay sellers had been using the phrase for a long time before the show or catalog.  There are disagreements over Carstens vase with rough texture but not fat lavathe origin, and it will never really be known, but based on the glazes sellers were trying to describe, my guess remains that it’s a computer translation problem.

The glazes described were sometimes volcanic, often “runny” or “drip” glazes.  However, while early 20th century drip glazes are the same level as the surrounding glazes, these “fat” glazes are significantly thicker than the glaze level they cover, sticking up from the body of the vase.  I believe that “thick” got translated as “fat”, Steuler vase designed by Heiner Balzaarand the phrase worked so well that it stuck.

Then, it worked so well after the release of “Fat Lava” that sellers began using it as a keyword to get attention, and it got applied to everything, thicScheurich Keramik vase with volcanic fat lava glazek or thin.  I’ll still use the phrase when needed, but it’s rather like a friend that insisted on hanging around enough to become an irritant.  If you love West and East German pottery, give it enough respect to call the pieces by their own name, as close as  possible with what we know so far, anyway.

If you reached this blog without going to the main site, you can get there by clicking here: ginforsodditiques.com.  You’ll find more information plus items for sale…….not just the usual suspects.