I decided to start up a page for the finds that I originally though might be California Pottery, but later discovered they weren’t. This is only for pieces that have conclusively been identified as such - please view the Unknowns Gallery for pieces that are still unidentified. I’ll be expanding this page in the future as new “California” finds are debunked - in addition, I’ll be listing other items/patterns that are commonly mistaken.
• Russel Wright Steubenville
I realize that Russel Wright fans may be laughing at this entry - once you get familiar with his designs, you’re not going to mistake them for some other California pottery. However, I thought it was worth it to at least show one piece, because these Steubenville pieces have a glaze that is very similar to some of the other Calif companies that produced speckleware.
In particular, the glaze on this Russel Wright gravy boat in Coral looks similar to some of the glazes from Laurel Potteries. While the shapes are different, they could possibly be confused by people not familiar with both of the potteries, especially since some of the component items like this gravy boat are not marked. This did originally have a gravy tray bottom which IS marked as Russel Wright - however, they’re often separated. I believe there are other Russel Wright items that were also not marked too. So it’s just something to keep in mind.
• Laurentian Art Ware Mug
My original thought was that this was a Marc Bellaire piece, or perhaps an artist that was imitating Sascha Brastoff. It has a modern looking design that definitely looks like it could have been produced by a California pottery in the 50s. At the time I picked it up at the thrift, I couldn’t really make out the stamp on the back.
It was only after some careful research (and squinting in bright light) that I realized the stamp read Laurentian Art Pottery. This is actually a Canadian company - I haven’t seen this exact design, or even the same modern style on Ebay. However, I’m sure that this is what the stamp says. The handle is quite interesting on this mug - it’s crooked on the vertical, and actually it’s easier to insert your hand through the handle that way.
• Arabia of Finland
This wasn’t so much a mystery since it was marked. But when I first saw this small planter, I thought it might be a Gainey Ceramics item, or even an Architectural Pottery piece. It turns out it’s from Arabia of Finland and was designed by Richard Lindh sometime around 1965. I’ve seen pictures of this exact planter with two other larger ones in white. I like how the coaster fits the planter perfectly. As I said, you shouldn’t have any problem identifying it - although the saucer did NOT have the Arabia mark while the planter did.
• Hollywood Craftsmen
I originally bought this mug thinking that of course it was from California because of the name “Hollywood Craftsmen”. It turns out it’s the National Silver Company (also known as Nasco). It may not be technically wrong to call this California Pottery, however, since Nasco often contracted out to actual California potteries to produce these items. Other stamps they used include “Hollywood Silverplate” and “Royal Hawaiian Made In California”.
• Pacific Stoneware
This company is sometimes confused with Pacific Clay Products but it’s actually an Oregon company. These particular Pacific Stoneware items are attributed to Bennett Welsh who produced these items most likely from the 60s to the 70s. Luckily, most of the items are stamped with both Welsh’s name as well as a later copyright date which means they are definitely not Pacific Clay Products pieces.