Tag Archives: Mid century modern design

Keys to the Company: Ceramano

This is part of a series giving a few of the key things to know about individual companies.

1. Ceramano started in 1959 and was created by Jacob Schwadderlap (also owner of Jasba) to focus more specifically on cer.polarishigher quality art pottery. (While many commercial potteries have produced art pottery lines, most of them also produced other lines that were less expensive to produce and sell in larger quantities. In many cases, art pottery lines were only possible because the more decorative and utilitarian items made enough profit to experiment with “art”.

2. The original designer was Hanns Welling. Gerda Heuckeroth also did design work.cer.polaris.mark

3. Ceramano used brown to red-brown clay with the exception of some blanks purchased from Ruscha in the very early years (possibly just wallplates).

4. Marks on Ceramano are almost always hand done, usually incised through the glaze and may include company, decor/glaze name, country, and shape number. In some cases, only the shape number is used. Some items include artist initials, but nothing is yet known about actual names. (The same is cer.achattrue with most companies.)

5. Just what a decor/glaze name refers to can vary to the point that items with the same name may look quite different. In other cases, the name actually refers to color rather than anything else. “Polaris” is the white version of a given form series, while the same design in red is “Fire” and in yellow is “Sunset”.  (Polaris is pictured.)

6.  Ceramano also produced some hand made items.  An example with the “Achat” or Agate glaze is pictured.  Lines on the bottom show where the pot was removed by sliding a wire back and forth, which is the case with all the “studio” items from Ceramano.  (This technique shows up on studio work from other artists and times and is not exclusive to Ceramano.)

7.  Some of the best known items include Pergamon and Rubin.  cer.achat.markOverall, Pergamon and a few others are fairly common, but form and quality of decoration can vary widely, which should be taken into account when considering “market value”.  Better decorated, harder to find shapes or sizes can still be of significant “worth”.  Rubin is harder to find and typically sells high, but there are also a variety of rare, impressive glazes of greater aesthetic value that may sell at a relative bargain….if you find them.

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Kurt Tschoerner Ruscha Designs

The original 313 form had lines that were perhaps a little too close to Murano glass in ways that molded pottery couldn't handle.
The original 313 form had lines that were perhaps a little too close to Murano glass in ways that molded pottery couldn’t handle.

Some of the earliest designs that Kurt Tschoerner did for Ruscha show his experience with glass and strong influences from Murano glass. This is clearly seen in the original and iconic 313 shape and bowl shape 417, both circa 1954.
The curves on these items are elegant and well-proportioned, but they are better suited to handmade glass than to molded pottery. That may well be why shape 313 was eventually redesigned with lines more like a ceramic pitcher and less like Murano glass.
Full documentation of which shapes Tschoerner designed for Ruscha and possibly for Otto Keramik is still lacking, so it’s difficult to judge when and how Tschoerner

Ruscha bowl shape 417.
Ruscha bowl shape 417.

adapted to pottery design, but the glass-like curves disappear from West German pottery fairly quickly. Luckily, pottery has the potential for great shapes of its own and some things can be done with molds that can’t be done by hand, so even though certain elements were lost, their place was taken by other excellent aesthetics…when at their best.

Visit our home page for more information plus above average West German pottery and other items for sale….not just the usual suspects.