Sunday, September 30, 2012
Rookwood Pottery was founded in 1880 by Maria Longworth Nichols. Maria was part of the very wealthy Longworth family of
Cincinnati. After admiring Japanese ceramics at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, Maria decided to open her own pottery. Luckily she had a lot of money and the area had a lot of clay. Cincinnati was already a center for commercial potteries. The School of Design of the provided her with trained artists. Her vision was to produce pottery individually decorated by artists. While her vision did come true, Rookwood was somewhat forced to have what became known as Standard Ware to help pay the bills. University of Cincinnati
Rookwood had ups and downs for many years. The Paris Exposition Universelle of 1889 earned Rookwood several gold medals. This triumph ensured the pottery’s financial profitability. Rookwood attracted the most talented decorators in the business. Things went well until the 1930s depression from which they never fully recovered. Sadly in the 1960’s Rookwood closed its doors. In 2004 Dr. Art Townley who had purchased the company’s assets, including molds, glaze formulas, and trademarks found a group of investors willing to restore and return the manufacture of Rookwood Pottery to Cincinnati. Today the kilns turn out art tile, art pottery, corporate gifts and special commissions.
So the next time you are at grandmas take a peek at the bottom of her nick knacks. Who knows you may find a genuine piece of Rookwood. If you don’t find any in your family china cabinet go to the
and admire their extensive collection. Cincinnati Art Museum
For more information, these two sources might be of interest.
--About Rookwood. This is on the contemporary Rookwood Pottery web site.
--How to Identify Rookwood Pottery. An article by B. Ellen Vonstenburg.
Posted by at 10:59 AM
Sunday, September 23, 2012
The milky latex sap of opium poppies contain isoquinoline alkaloids.These alkaloids are classified as a narcotic and can be turned into what is known as heroin or opium. These potent alkaloids are obtained from the mature seed pod of the opium poppy plant. The addictive and harmful affects of opium have been known for a long time. However, for many centuries opium was not considered harmful and was in fact revered as something from the gods.
In ancient art the poppy was the mythological symbol of sleep( Wake up, Dorothy!) Poppies were often a personification of the Greek Hypnos the 'god of sleep" portrayed by a bearded man leaning over the sleeper and pouring poppy juice into his eyes. Representations of poppies were engraved on Roman coins and also on bronze coins of the Maccabees (135-106BC). Toward the end of the Bronze age vases were used to carry pharmaceutical preparations made from poppies. Cyprian vases found in Egypt were shaped like a poppy pod. Many ancient cultures made jewelry with representations of poppy pods. Some scholars think it was drugs like opium and halucigenetic mushrooms which led to the evolutionary human capability for symbolism which in turn led to religion and art.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Dan Brown’s bestseller DaVinci Code used a chalice and the letter “V” to symbolize the shape of a woman’s womb. Brown drew heavily from art history in his works of fiction, and it is easy to find many references across time and culture to vessels that represent the feminine form.
The Last Supper: In the novel, Brown suggested that the Holy Grail was not the cup of wine Jesus used at the Last Supper. Brown asserted that the Holy Grail was Mary Magdeline, that she was the wife of Jesus and that she was a vessel for His unborn child. Brown's super sleuth, Robert Langdon, discovers that Leonard DaVinci was part of a great conspiracy of scientists and artists who concealed the truth about the descendents of Jesus secret, but hinted at it through codes seen in famous works of art. One of these codes was in the masterpiece itself. In DaVinci’s Last Supper, Brown suggested the V-shaped void between Mary and Jesus was code for this womanly vessel.
Shrine Vessel: The long neck and belly of the Nigerian Ga’anda Shrine Vessel is no veiled and secretive reference to the form of a woman's body. The markings on the vase obviously refer to the reproductive capabilities of a woman. According to WNET's "Art through Time: A Global View," the marks around the lower body of the vessel represent the ritual scarification of girls -- starting at age five and progressing through maturity -- that was typical in the culture of the time. Reference.
The Female Effigy Vessel: This vase from early 20th Century Zaire shows the elaborate hair style of Mangebetu women. The patterns on the face and rounded chamber of the body show the body decoration typical of the era.
Woman with a Vessel: A classic Mesoamerican jar from from southern Nayarit has a multiplicity of meanings relating to the feminine form. In this piece, the woman carries a vessel on her head. The sculpture itself is a vessel. As, of course, is the woman. Viewed in profile, the woman is obviously pregnant. Reference.
Lekythos in the Form of Sphinx: A late 5th Century BC work from ancient Greece, this was a vessel for perfumed oil. The rim, neck and handle represents a lakythos, the body a Sphinx and the face a woman’s head. Reference.
Posted by at 4:42 AM
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
In the late 19th century Cincinnatians could choose from around 1,810 saloons. If you didn't want to drink your share of the 40 gallons consumed by every man, woman and child at the saloon you could bring your beer home in a "growler". So whether you "pop open a tall one" or "hoist a few" in a stein enjoy your beer in moderation and always in a cool vessel.
For your enjoyment;
source- Cincinnati, The Queen City by Daniel Hurley
Sunday, September 9, 2012
My name is Nancy Berlier and I’m working behind the scenes to help get the word out about Vessels: All the Eyes Can Hold.
I had the pleasure of working with Vessels curators Lynn Conaway and Carole Gary Staples a couple years ago on the fabulously successful fiber arts show, Fibers, also held at the Kennedy Heights Arts Center (KHAC). Lynn and Carole have a passion for this community arts center and have drafted another KHAC champion, Debra Wallace, to manage the show’s gift shop.
If you are not familiar with the center, it is a beautiful Victorian in the heart of Kennedy Heights. Both homey and architecturally stunning, this was the perfect venue for about 30 artists whose work was shown in Fibers. Family and friends of the artists who gathered for the opening reception were treated to food and music as they wandered from room to room of the rambling old building to greet and meet the artists.
I think Vessels: All the Eyes Can Hold promises to be another success. The inclusion of many artists whose work crosses genres – ceramics, fiber, wood, basketry and other media – will ensure the gallery will be filled with diverse works. The idea of the show is so imaginative. A vessel can be a vase, a basket or a ceramic pot. Or it can be a ship. Or it can be a human heart -- biologically or spiritually. I'm sure we will see a few surprises.
Please help us get the word out about the show by sending them a link to this blog. The Call to Artists will go out Nov. 5, 2012 when we will provide details about rules and procedures. Deadline for entries will be June 7.
The show will open Aug. 17, 2013. I hope to see you there.
Posted by at 7:13 PM
Tuesday, September 4, 2012