Terms to help new collectors of pottery

When I started to buy and sell pottery, there were some terms that I picked up pretty fast that I use quite often.  These terms are pretty common and help describe the manufacturing process of the piece.  Here’s some of the terms:

Pinholes—these are faults in the surface of a ceramic body (or even the glaze) that resemble pin pricks.  These are not very big at all, and there is usually no other damage around them.  Air bubbles are the most common culprit that causes these.

Bloating—this is the permanent swelling of a ceramic piece during the firing in a kiln.  It’s caused by the expansion of gases like air not being able to escape out of the piece.

Iron oxide—this is a common oxide in glazes and some clays that generally gives the item a reddish color.

Biscuit pottery—this is also called Bisque pottery.  This is pottery that has been fired, but no glaze has been applied to the piece.

This is only a few of the terms out there.  What have you heard?

A portrait plate made by two different companies? How’s that possible?

At a recent sale, I ran across a great portrait plate from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s.  It has a great motif on the front—a gorgeous lady with a gold trim near the edge that has harps and a floral motif.

Royal Vienna ZEH SCHERZER ZS And Co Porcelain Portrait Plate Artist Signed Gracioga

But when I picked it up and looked at the back, it had two different company marks on it.  The first reads ROYAL VIENNA and the other is Z. S. & Co Bavaria.

Royal Vienna ZEH SCHERZER ZS And Co Porcelain Portrait Plate Artist Signed Gracioga plate

This is pretty interesting—the two marks actually have a purpose.  The ROYAL VIENNA mark is for the hand painted decorations on the front of the plate.  The second mark stands for ZEH SCHERZER & Co., and they produced the ceramic plate.

The ceramic plate was produced and then sold to ROYAL VIENNA undecorated.  When ROYAL VIENNA received the plate, they then painted it with this terrific motif.

Sometimes the artist even signs the piece.  It could be anywhere really—I have seen the signature on both the front and the back of the piece.  This plate was signed on the back, and it was signed Gracioga.

You can see this terrific portrait plate in my Etsy shop here.  Have you ever run across anything like this?

What are some parts of a Ceramic piece?

When it comes to a ceramic piece, you can hear some pretty interesting vocabulary words that describe what it’s made of.  Here are some of the words that I have heard over the years:

Bisque – this is clay that has been fired once, and it is an unglazed piece.

Terra Cotta – it is a brownish-orange earthenware clay body.  It’s commonly used for ceramic sculpture or even architectural ornament.  It’s an Italian word that means “baked earth”.

High Relief—it’s a strongly raised or even deeply carved pattern.  This style of carving can get pretty detailed.

There are a lot of words that you will hear that describe what a ceramic piece is made of, or even a specific part of an item.  What kinds of words have you heard?

That’s a Catalina pottery vase made by Gladding McBean!

When out shopping at a local flea market, I ran across this terrific pottery vase that is marked CATALINA POTTERY C-333 MADE IN USA.

The vase has the Calla Lilly pattern on it, and it was made from 1937 to 1942 by the Gladding McBean Company.

When you see the mark on the bottom of the vase, you think it is for CATALINA ISLAND POTTERY made from 1927 to 1933. A good rule of thumb to use is if it just says POTTERY and does not have the word ISLAND, it’s made by Gladding McBean.

One great thing about this vase is the fact that the top of the vase is not too small so that it doesn’t strangle your favorite flowers.  Not only that, but it would also look wonderful on any table.

You can see this terrific vase in my Etsy store here. Have you ever run across anything like this?

When a piece goes from functional to just plain cool

Pottery and glassware are fun areas to get into and collect, especially since they can be very cool and functional at the same time.  It could be something for the kitchen, the table or even the fireplace mantle!  It always surprises me what I run into, especially when it’s something like this clock.

royal-oxford

This very functional electric Royal Oxford Gibraltar clock that dates to the 1920’s.  Not only does it sit pretty close to the wall, it doesn’t take up too much room on the mantle so that you can put a lot of picture frames around it on the mantle.

You can see this great clock in my Etsy store here, and another great item for the mantle is a football shaped clock featuring the Dallas Cowboys.  You can find a post about the lamp on this blog here.  Another still very functional item is this great ice bucket.

tea-room

It features the TEA ROOM pattern and was made by the Indiana Glass Company from 1926 to 1931.  The great thing about it is that it can double as a flower vase as well.  You can see the terrific ice bucket in my Etsy store here.

What kinds of items have you run across like this?

The perfect gift for a Dallas Cowboys fan is a . . . lamp?

The great thing about going to an estate sale or auction is that you never really know what you will find.  I was out shopping not too long ago, and found something that any Dallas Cowboys fan would love.  Not only that, it would look great in either a man-cave or a bedroom.

lamp

The lamp is made of ceramic, and the light bulb looks like the wattage is not to terribly high (so this lamp would be great as a night light).

lamp-on

What is cool about it is that it’s in the shape of a football—and you can also use this to shine a light on who your favorite team is.

You can see this great gift idea in my Etsy store here.  You can also see six more out-of-the-box ideas for a Christmas gift here.

What kinds of fun gifts have you received over the years?

More pottery vocabulary words for the beginning collector

When you dive into the world of antiques and collectibles, you will find out how things are made.  Here’s some of the words that I’ve picked up over the years about how pottery is made:

Greenhouse—this is the place where pots are kept to harden before they go into the kiln.

Feathering—this is an effect that’s obtained by moving a feather through wet slip decoration.

Salt glaze—this is an effect by throwing salt into the kiln when pottery is being fired.  The salt vaporizes during the firing and a fine orange peel surface is left on the pottery.

What kinds of words have you run across when you are out at your favorite place to shop?

Great vocabulary words to remember for the antiques lover

It doesn’t take very long for you to hear some interesting words when you deal with antiques.  They could apply to just about anything, here’s some of them that I have run across.

Lavabo—this is a French word that means “wash bowl.”

Nesting tables—this is a group of tables (there’s usually three, every once in a while there’s more) that is constructed so that one fits under the other.

Tin glaze—it’s an opaque white glaze that contains tin oxide.  It has been used on faience, delftwares and even majolica pottery.

This is only a small portion of the words that I have heard over the years.  What kinds of words have you come across?

Here’s some more vocabulary words that new collectors will run across

You never know what words you may run across when you dive into the world of antiques and collectibles.  Here are a couple that I have run across over the years:

Greenware—this is any unfired clay body before the piece is Bisque Fired, and it is very fragile.

Cased Glass—this is two or more layers of different colored glass get blown with one layer over the other.  Sometimes glass makers carve images into the glass, revealing the multiple layers and colors of glass in the process.

Mercury Gilding–this is a technique of applying a gilt finish consisting of gold and mercury to decorative objects like a mirror.  Mercury is a metal that is liquid at room temperature. When combined with gold or silver, it becomes viscous, its consistency becoming similar to that of butter. Mercury gilding is the process in which mercury is mixed with gold to make an amalgam that is applied to the surface of an object.  When the object is heated up by fire, the mercury evaporates away and the gold is left behind.  This is a VERY toxic technique and is illegal to do in many countries.

This is just a small sample of what I have heard, what kinds of words have you run across?

Political collectibles of all sorts

In an election year, politics is one of our main topics of conversation.  Political buttons, banners, pins and even hats boasting the name of a current candidate are everywhere.

Collecting older political memorabilia is a fun way to remember our past—and you can find examples at many flea markets, antique stores, or even auctions.

I recently acquired a Frankoma Donkey mug from 1977 advertising the Carter and Mondale campaign.  It was a great find—even more so since we are in the middle of another political season.

frankoma

You can see this terrific mug in my Etsy shop here.  Another area that you can run across are paper related items.

paper political

This could be photographs, invitations to an event, or even a print of a famous painting.  I have a lot like this on eBay, which you can see here.

What kinds of political items have you run across?