We have a winner! Instagrammer and Art Director Benjamin Ewing will soon be the proud new owner of a Case Study Ceramic Wok. Thanks for playing and we hope everyone will enter the next one!
Pomarius Nursery is a large-scale retail nursery in Portland with a selection of plants and an eye for design that keeps local gardeners coming back for more.
What really sets Pomarius apart, however is their knack for landscaping and garden design. The team recently had the opportunity to work with Maison Inc. on the spectacular renovation of the Shaw House.
The Shaw House was designed by Portand starchitect John Yeon in 1950 for Lawrence Shaw. Considered one of Yeon’s residential masterpieces, the home was featured on the cover of House Beautiful in 1953. Since then, unfortunately, the Shaw House fell into a sad state of disrepair.
Now, however, the home has been resurrected to its former glory with the help of Maison Inc. and the Pomarius Nursery. Pomarius was in charge of the new landscape and garden design, which was handled beautifully. The Case Study Ceramic planters they chose seem to coalesce perfectly into the simple modernist landscape.
Join us tomorrow at the Modernica Factory for the Case Study Ceramics Seconds Sale! We’ll have hundreds of ceramics favorites available at deep discounts, but only for four hours, so don’t miss it!
Deano’s Deli will also be on site to keep you fed while you shop. Please note that Modernica will be happy to accept cash, credit, and debit cards on site, but no checks please. See you there!
Photo courtesy of Plum Tree Pottery.
Maija Grotell studied ceramics in Helsinki before migrating to New York in 1927. The ceramicist taught at various schools and entered her work in small shows and exhibitions over the next 10 years, slowly becoming more recognized for her impeccable ceramics work. Her big break came along when Eliel Saarinen invited her to become head of the ceramics department at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Maija Grotell and Nelly Beveridge at work in the Cranbrook Academy of Art, 1940. Photo courtesy of the Cranbrook Archives.
Cranbrook is considered by many to be epicenter of the early 20th century modernist movement. Grotell taught there for 30 years, during which time she worked with sculptor Carl Milles, designer Eero Saarinen, and many other prominent figures in the world of art and architecture. Some of her finest work was accomplished during this time. Besides her many, many ceramic works, she also helped Eero Saarinen develop the brilliantly-colored brick glazes that are still present on the walls of the 1965 General Motors Technical Center.
She continued to influence the practice of mid-century ceramics until she retired in 1966. Today, her works are prized and represented in the permanent collections of museums across the world.
General Motors Technical Center with glazed brick walls – Warren, Michigan, 1965. Photo courtesy of Curbed.
Glazed stoneware, 1940. Photo courtesy of the Met Museum.
Painted vase, 1940s. Photo courtesy of Worthpoint.
Vase, 1940s. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Lindley Martin Ceramics.
Vase in mottled glaze, 1950s. Photos courtesy of Worthpoint.
Vase, 1952. Photo by Jack Ramsdale.
Glazed stoneware vase, 1950s. Photo courtesy of Live Auctioneer.
Glazed Ceramics, 1950s. Photo courtesy of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum.
Glazed stoneware, 1950. Photo courtesy of the Moderne Gallery.
The shiny cracked look that is so common-place on pottery pieces of today was not so mainstream in the 1940s. That was when Barbara Willis first achieved her distinctive crackled ceramic glaze. For the time, the look was innovative and sophisticated, and within 5 years Willis’s ceramics were some of the most sought-after in California.
Unfortunately, Willis was forced out of business in the 1950s when the market was flooded with inexpensive imported pottery, and she turned to other professions to make ends meet. Willis didn’t put her hand to the potter’s wheel again until the late 1980s, when a renewed interest in mid-century art brought her work into the limelight.
Surprised and pleased, Willis was well into her seventies when began making her ceramics anew. She continued creating her art until she was no longer able to lift the heavy clay, at the age of 92. Her work is still sought-after and prized in the ceramics market today.
All above photos courtesy of ‘Barbara Willis: Classic California Modernism’ by Jack Chipman.
California’s Designing Women, 1896-1986. Autry Museum, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Abigail Stone.