Potteries of California is a personal fan site, blog and photo archive for California Pottery. We hope that it will eventually also function as a meeting and discussion place for other fans and collectors. In addition, we will attempt to organize the site so that it will function as a limited reference guide.
We would like to stress that we have only been “collecting” for a very short time compared to many. There is a very good chance that you have a much more impressive collection of vintage pottery made in California. So what led us to consider working on this site?
Well, we are avid thrift store and flea market shoppers. In the past, we had mostly looked for Pyrex and other kitchen glassware. But recently we’ve become enamored of pottery and ceramics - specifically those colorful wares made during the mid-century pottery boom in California. And since we’ve lived most of our lives in Southern California, it’s rather fun to research this type of pottery because it was actually produced here. Some of the original company plants and potteries still stand today.
What we have found is that there were literally HUNDREDS (some say thousands) of different potteries in California. While there are some really excellent books out there, it’s nearly impossible for them to talk about ALL the lesser known potteries (although Jack Chipman’s books do cover many of them). Some of the smaller ones are given only 2-3 lines of text and 1 picture (if at all). It’s just not feasible with the limited space of a hardbound book.
So, that is going to be the main focus of the site. We’ll try and discuss and share pictures and information about those lesser known (or even unknown) Potteries of California. It’s going to be a sort of fun “trial and error” type of discovery, since the information on these smaller makers is so limited.
Athough some discussion of the bigger names (Bauer, Catalina, Metlox, Vernon, Franciscan, Pacific, Schoop, etc.) is inevitable, we won’t spend as much time trying to catalog everything - that’s already been done in other books. Please don’t be offended if your favorite pottery company is not listed on the site yet - if you’d really like it to be, then we could use some help writing some original text (not copied from a book) about the company that you collect.
In the past, the focus of the site has been solely on the “vintage collectible” side of California pottery. We didn’t discuss at all modern potters or pottery in California, not because we wanted to exclude them, but because we felt it would dilute the purpose of the webiste. However, we’ve decided to occasionally feature, interview and discuss modern potters because we feel that it’s connected to the larger picture of collecting. If you create pottery, are located in California and would like to be featured on the site, please send us your site/portfolio.
You may also notice some styles that are less emphasized than other - that’s due to personal preference. For instance, Figurines represent a good percentage of collectible California Pottery, but we don’t really collect those ourselves. We are going to rely on contributors for photos and information about those potteries specializing in what we don’t collect.
Also, we occasionally feature photos from old auctions within both the blog and the reference for informational purposes. The reason for this is that it’s just not possible for us to personally collect every type of California Pottery. Where we have the option, we always use our own pictures. Please let us know if we have featured an old photo of yours and would like it removed.
A few other things: the Potteries of California website is not meant to be a replacement for any of the great pottery books out there. We are also NOT affiliated with any actual pottery company at this time.
We have to admit that we are truly collectors at heart: you might also be interested in some of the other collector websites we run, including the Pyrex Love reference website and the Mad About Mugs fan site. Because we concurrently take pictures of items for those sites, we may be reusing some of those photos in in order to save time.
While you’re welcome to write in - please remember that we may not be able to answer all of your questions. We collect for fun and this is meant to be a FUN project. If you’re going write in to complain or criticize the website or us, know that we’ll just delete your email/comment, and ignore you - it doesn’t matter who you’re related to or who you know.
You can also join or view the pictures on the Potteries of California Flickr group. If you have a question about a particular piece, you should post a picture of it there and ask for help.
Thanks, and we hope you enjoy the site.
~ Linda and Bryan
That would be great - since our own collection is still growing we would love to feature photos of your California pottery. Please contact us about what items you have and any related information about them. We will always try to credit you on your photos if they are used on the site. But because there’s so many people writing in for our collector sites, please be patient if we don’t get back to you right away.
For all identification questions, please post a picture up on the Potteries of California Flickr group so that everyone can see it. WE WILL NOT WRITE BACK IF YOU CONTACT US BELOW ABOUT AN IDENTIFICATION QUESTION DIRECTLY. We’re also on Twitter. You’ll have to “follow” us first, though, and let us follow you back before you can send a direct message to us.
As with Pyrex Love, we don’t respond to questions about value. Oh, and here is the same spiel taken almost directly from our other sites:
We DON’T give values or pricing.
We DON’T sell Books directly. Look here for those.
We AREN’T affiliated with any of the pottery companies or manufacturers.
We DON’T know the answers to every question.
Please remember we DO NOT answer emails about the value of a particular item…