Thursday, July 10, 2014


Did you know Paul Gauguin made ceramics?

Don't have any information about this piece, but I'm sure it was done after he had been in Tahiti.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Jar with a Perfectly Fitting Lid

This jar is made on the wheel; thrown as one piece, a hollow form.

After the bottom and diameter are established, the walls are brought up and closed at the top.

This one has a top-knot, but you can make it rounded or add anything you wish after it becomes leather hard.

The walls are purposely thrown a little thicker than usual in order to accommodate the cut for the interlocking lid flange and the base lip. It's also good to make the jar a bit taller, since the lid cutting operation will take some height out of the middle.

This glaze is done with a splotch of green glaze on the bisqued piece, the application of wax resist over that, then the top and base are dipped in a contrasting glaze.

No matter how well matched the lid and base are, there is always the 'perfect seat' of fit. Making a decoration travel from lid to base helps to make sure the lid is returned to this optimum fit.

Below is a diagram I developed to illustrate the technique for cutting lids from closed forms. 
If you click on the image, you can enlarge it for easier reading. With some computers, you can click the curser on the image, hold and drag the image to the desktop, then import it into a document for reference.

If you cut the lid flange at the base of the indentation, it is possible to remove the completed lid and inner flange. Just a bit of smoothing up is needed.

The base, still attached and centered on the batt, can be trimmed on the inside to create a 'shelf' for the lid flange to rest upon.

Unfortunately, I don't have any examples to photograph of the jars I've made using this approach, I've sold them all except for this green one.

It is possible to reverse the cut--make it so that the lid slips down over the bottom flange--by cutting at the top of the indentation to release the lid, then inverting the lid into the base and after securing it, cutting the inner edge, leaving the outer surface undisturbed.

The outer edge of the base may need some cutting adjustment on the inner lip so that the lid slips easily over. This is an example of an early try at the reverse cut.

Once you get the hang of the cutting and a feel for the thicknesses, either way is fine, but I prefer the first method because in my experience, it gives a truer fit.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Website Recommendation

A plate a day.

is a great blog featuring just plates. All kinds of plates. Like these:

Love this set!

Beautiful and bright. Imagine a table set with these.

Couldn't resist this.  Google for more details.  I've ordered two.

A set with a different bug on it would be great.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

More Clay Frogs

Here are some more design ideas:

This is a pleasing little object. I'm not sure whether it is one or two pieces; I'm assuming two. Obviously it is made from a mold and designed for small-ish flowers. 

The idea of a frog with a matching stand is intriguing. I like this idea, but I would want to be able to get into the frog to clean it out.

The basket form is quite pleasing, but the insert is low. Maybe it is not a flower frog at all, but an old-fashioned soap dish.

In any case, it could be a frog with a taller insert. I would make one with either 4 legs and a large hole in the center for taking it out or one with a ring inside the vessel for the insert to rest on.

The next example is an ingenious for working flower holes into the design, By adding them into the lips on the sides of the vessel.

I think this example has a flat backside and the two holes there are to hang it on the wall as a wall pocket.

A completely different approach is to put the frogs holes and small vase shapes around the rim of a vessel.

A variation on this idea could be a tall donut shaped vessel that could be filled with water and that had taller 'flutes' for the flowers.

The last two examples are bowl shaped frogs. Quite pleasing to look at, but I would still want removable tops for cleaning.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Clay Frogs

I once made a frog of combination clay and metal similar to this one. The upper framework was in clay and held up well during the firing.

This cylinder shaped frog is a pretty standard frog design. Good and stable, weighty, no-nonsense frog.

Same goes for the rounded one. I like the taller form. Plenty of room for the water reservoir.

One like this could stand alone, but tiny feet are advised to keep dampness off the surface it would sit on. Or it would work in another clay piece.

The winner here is a beautiful oxblood glaze.

Nice pairing of bowl and frog here.

If the frog were made taller in this one, it would take on a whole different look.

I like the combination of flower stem holes and the sculptured surface, but I'm not so sure it would show if flowers were in the bowl.

Another example.

This is the real winner. Great proportion between the frog and bowl. It looks like the frog just landed in the middle of the bowl.

 The design would harmonize with any kind of flower.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Scarf Dancers, A New Discovery!

While searching for the "September Morn" painting and flower frog, I discovered a whole new world of 'Scarf Dancers'.

Most of these were made in Germany pre-Second World War.

And later copied for sale in the U.S.

 Some are better than others.

And can be very dramatic.

 This one met Goldfinger.

After she met Goldfinger.

Sometimes they bring friends.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Glass Flower Frogs

Many of the art glass companies made flower frogs during the early 1900s to about 1950. Many designs could well be inspiration to potters. 

I remember a very large. shallow bowl made of black glass with a scalloped edge with a center area for a matching frog that was a "Very chilly nekked lady in a lake". She was about 6 inches tall and looked like this.

She did most of her standing in the attic, however--mostly due to the fact we lived in a small, conservative town.

I can remember only a few times when she stood in a grouping of daffodils, though, and I thought she was beautiful.

A lot of glass companies made simple frogs as well as sculptural pieces like this.

Some work better in glass. Especially as in this example of a green glass 'brick' form. It would be quite pleasing with the flower stems showing through the bottom.

This won't work in clay, but the form is nice. A great glaze or design on the face might be a good opportunity.

Somewhere I have seen a similar vase by Paul Gauguin.  Did you know he made many ceramic pieces? Undervalued, in my opinion

Clear glass is successful because it seems to disappear as in the next frogs. I don't know about Lalique, but I know Baccarat made some flower frog pieces.

The clear two-pieced set one sold at Christies for $250.

Tall vases with a removable frog in the top works well in clay. As a matter of fact, I made a couple of these and they were very successful.  The frog rested on a small ridge and could be removed so the vase could be used for used in another way. 

The same could be said for the next two bulbous vases. A pierced lid could be made either with the criss-cross motif or with holes in it. These two are technically rose bowls. Anything with a metal criss-cross flower holder is classified as such. The rounded shape just screams for a great, runny glaze. 

This is a unique take by Tiffany. I'm not too sure how it would look with flowers; you would surely want to let the bottom of the bowl design show.....

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Flower Frogs

After a long, wet and cold winter, the trees and bushes are budding and early flowers are virtually leaping out of the ground.

This puts me in mind of the flower frogs I used to make for shows. One of those fill-the-corners-of-the-kiln things that "paid the rent".

Definitely a niche item. I wouldn't have even thought of making them if a lady hadn't described what a pansy frog was and requested I make one for her. Since she was a friend, I made her one and then tried including some at a show. They were great little sellers and fairly easy to make.

You know how it is. Every show you have someone who wants you to make something for them and usually I  take a dim view of this having been stung a couple of times stuck with a piece I had made and the buyer having evaporated.

I still have a custom made salt and pepper dispenser set designed to fit a particular stove niche......


the flower frog request sent me off on a mission to expand my knowledge about their different shapes and history. I remember seeing them at my grandmothers' and aunt's houses. We had a few in the house I grew up in.

I have a couple of antique flower frogs I've picked up along the way.

The first is a Japanese one made to suggest lotus leaves. It is designed to sit inside another vessel and support either a grouping of flower stems for each hole or quite large stems like iris or lily plants.
Large, tall flowers and this small frog might present a problem. I have never understood why frogs are so short. This one makes more sense.

The pink example is currently on eBay for $12.00.

Vintage Flower Frog ~ Flower Pedals Design ~ Made in Japan
The other piece that was in my mother's things. For years I had no clue about what it was. It is a variation of a pansy frog.

The slots are for tiny blossoms with stems that are too weak to support themselves. They are threaded into the slots and into the water reservoir  filled from the top.

This one is a McCoy Pottery piece and can be found in antique shops.

Flower frogs might work as kiln fillers and could be successful for sales in garden shows, at nurseries or art fairs.

More about frogs in the next post.