OBJECT STYLE

What is West German Pottery ?

RACHAEL ADAMSComment
 West German Pottery in my living room at home. The bottle green urn is my most favourite piece. 

West German Pottery in my living room at home. The bottle green urn is my most favourite piece. 

West German Pottery, is the mid-century must have ceramic of the moment ! Featuring heavily in specialist vintage stores and vintage enthusiast homes, there are over 700 recorded styles (not including glazes!) to collect and right now at very reasonable prices. 

Known for its bold, bright decorative ceramics produced in the 50s, 60s and 70s, West German Pottery is an explosion of experimental coloured, glazed and shaped clay objects that some argue is a direct reaction of booming creativity after years of Nazi rule in the country.

The distinct style of the pottery is very easy to identify, as many pieces detail vibrant contrasting colours against a neutral or black base. A key design feature, is the ‘fat lava’ glaze, a thick, encrusted glaze that looks like an eruption as it bleeds down the ceramic.

Many West German Pottery pieces are sturdy and robust helping to facilitate international shipping. They vary greatly in silhouette and size from large cylinder shaped urns to Moroccan inspired bulb bottom vessels. Designers also experimented with different handles, positioning them in unusual places on jugs and pushing the boundaries on style and shape. 

 West German Pottery, small cobalt blue with an unusual square handle picture in my lounge at home. 

West German Pottery, small cobalt blue with an unusual square handle picture in my lounge at home. 

Some of the post-war West German Pottery studios are still in business today, for example Scheurich, a large scale producer, creating around 200 different glazes per design. Ceramano and Ruscha, were two clay houses known for their high-end craftsmanship and elegant styles, where as Es Keramik was a leading studio famous for its striking use of colour and design.

It’s worth noting that not all West German Pottery is stamped however that is not to say the piece isn’t an original or lacks value. The pieces we have sourced in our store however are stamped and detail with W.German or West Germany and the production number. Some ceramics also identify the studio too. This can also be tracked by the colour of the base. Whilst most studios used an off white, Ceramona , Roth and Carstens all used a red brick clay.

Finally, if you’re unsure which era a piece of West German Pottery is from you can look out for specific design elements. Pieces from the early years ('50-58) are influenced by the previous Art Deco era which can be seen in their shapes. Around mid 60's, the introduction of volcanic glazes started to appear taking texture to a new level and thus ‘fat lava’ glaze was born. A final point worth mentioning if you are considering investing in West German Pottery is that colour ways such as greens/greys and all white are more rare and harder to come across than traditional reds, oranges, browns and neutrals, which sometimes can reflect in the price. 

 West German Pottery, a beautiful double handled white jug pictured in my bathroom at home. 

West German Pottery, a beautiful double handled white jug pictured in my bathroom at home. 

Visit our Chorlton store or shop our Instagram to see our ever-changing West German Pottery collection.