The Canadian craft scene has always been very active, and this certainly holds true for the studio potters.
There seemed to be a real surge of it during the late 1960s-70s, at least from my perspective. I can remember my Aunt Jane using hand thrown bowls made from beige clay very typical of Ontario and Quebec pottery from that period, for her salads and desserts. And as we comb through estates we see lots of it, vases, dishes, bowls and even figures, much from the same period. I think in some ways it came about as a result of the whole ‘hippy’ or earthy movement, people wanting a lifestyle that looked towards simpler wholesome living, making our own breads and almost going back to basics. This was perhaps an effort to distance themselves from the June Cleavers of the 1950s-60s who loved entertaining in high style with fancy dishes filled with bridge sandwiches made from Klik ham.
Anyways, as a result we find all kinds of studio pottery around today, and most of it remains a mystery. There are all kinds of wonderful shapes and designs that only bear a cryptic cipher or a scribble across the bottom. And with no definitive book out there deciphering these mystery marks we are left guessing many times as to who these artists and potters were.
Additionally I think that the pottery of this period has yet to come into its own. It has not become fully appreciated by enough collectors yet, and while there has always been a devoted audience for it, I think it has the potential to really gain momentum in the collecting field.
So get to know some of the BIG names in Canadian pottery, Deichmann, Harlander, Lorenzens, Jean Cartier, but don’t forget the lesser known guys like Jarko Zavi, L&M Designs and The Five Potters. Become familiar with the signatures, look for their designs and always keep an eye out for good form and decoration. These are some of the collectibles of tomorrow.