Locations: Culver City
Dates of Operation: 1950 - 1990s
Seller Values: Check average price on Ebay
Popular Lines & Patterns:
Worry Bird, Starburst
Jaru Art Products is interesting because the company lasted up until the 1990s. By diversifying their output to include household decorative items as well as ceramics, they were able to last much longer than a lot of other companies that fell by the wayside as imported items took over. The company was actually started by Jack and Ruth Hirsch back in 1950 as a aggregator of ceramic wares from different artists who were contracted to do the work. The company name, like so many back in the day, was a combination of the first two letters of their first names.
As time went on, the company did create their own lines and wares inhouse - they were probably helped out quite a bit by Bauer’s V. Houser and R. Red who formed their own company which was eventually incorporated into Jaru’s manufacturing. Still, the artists and companies that did contract out for the company produced some really nice modern California pottery. Two of them who we come across sometimes are Edmund Rónaky and Peterson Studios. Both of these wares done for Jaru may actually be marked with their names as opposed to Jaru itself. Rónaky in particular was quite influential on Jaru, and created an iconic pitcher shape and design that is instantly recognizable.
Like the Vohann of California company, there is a noticeable difference in the ware Jaru produced earlier on and that which came later - especially toward the last 25 years of the company’s existance. I really like a lot of the earlier items that they made - some of them remind me both of Jenev and the artsier Cleminson’s pieces.
But many of the Jaru items that I’ve come across are of the later period, and are either simply glazed, overly tacky or extremely simplistic. Some of it looks like cheap ware that could be produced overseas today. I believe that the change in ownership from the Hirsch’s in the late 60s to the 42 Products Corp. (info on the change of ownership was noted in Chipman’s Encyclopedia) may be one of the dividing lines between the items I like and the stuff that is not as interesting. I’ve definitely passed up quite a few newer pieces from the 80s.
Marks on Jaru items are varied, but one big issue is that a lot of the older stuff either used paper labels, was not marked, or was marked with another name (as in the case of Rónaky). I believe that this can cause earlier Jaru to be misidentified. In the 1970s, while they still used often paper labels, they sometimes marked AND dated pieces on the bottom or on the side of the item. You can see examples in the pictures below. This marking of the item on the side is sort of interesting - not too many California companies I know of did this. Treasure Craft / Pottery Craft was one other company that I know did sometimes mark on the side bottom of their pottery.
One last note - there is an overseas toy company whose items often show up in Ebay when you search for “Jaru”. I believe that this is completely unrelated, and actually, the name is written as “Ja-Ru“.
More ImagesEbay listed under this name. We've tried to hand tailor the searches below so they will bring up the most accurate results. If there are no results, it will list general California pottery.