Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bauer Bird

Bauer Pitchers. Collection: Brian Tunks
Some fourteen years ago I saw a book on Bauer Pottery (1885 - 1962) from the US. As many of you would be aware, it was a range that gained enormous popularity specifically during the early to mid-twentieth Century. Bauer was originally produced in Kentucky and later moved the main studio to Los Angeles. This synchronised nicely with the growth of brands such as Franciscan and Catalina Pottery on the West Coast. What Bauer did for pottery was to introduce seasonal ranges in bright consistent colours. I was given a book by my partner which highlighted the role of colour and diversity of forms manufactured by this company. This was a pivotal point in making my decision to establish Bison.

I have a good collection of their work and owe a debt of gratitude to 'Andy' Bauer and Victor Houser. He was instrumental in introducing the American market to a collection which was artisanal in nature but had utilitarian appeal. They employed a number of production methods and stamped the bases of most of their pieces with 'Bauer USA'. I particularly love their ring series which, although not a complex design, has a nostalgic appeal. Many designers fail to acknowledge the influences of earlier artists who in-turn inspired their work. Considering that we have an archaeological record for clay vessels stretching back numerous millennia, it seems disingenuous to deny their influence and legacy.

Souffle Pots. Collection: Brian Tunks

Photos: Brian Tunks

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