Art Pottery from the
Pacific Clay Products Company



In January, 1932 The Pacific Clay Products Co. at 650 Chamber Of Commerce Building, Los Angeles, California presented to the trade "Pacific Art Pottery", as printed in their catalogue of the same year "a pottery of high quality created from local clays. The wide variety of colors, soft yet brilliant glazes are rich with the allure and romance of the west."


Since 1886 the company had produced a line of staple stoneware products. Today the most common to surface are the yellow ware mixing bowls no. 9,12,18, 24,30. Also several yellow ware poultry feeders are seen occasionally, as well as several sizes of low sided, flat bottomed bowls and the occasional yellow ware crock in different sizes.


With the introduction and popularity of the bright colored glazes in the early 1930's several examples of the old staple stoneware line were glazes with these colors dripped over them. The most common of this type are the numbered mixing bowls (see figure #1) also mugs of two different types were glazed in this manner (see figures #13, #5) in addition the large pitcher 9 in tall from the stoneware line decorated with several combinations of drip glazes have surfaced (see figure #14). The most interesting item from the old stoneware line to surface bearing the drip glaze is the tall one handled bottle (see figure #15)


Examples of Pacific Art Pottery decorated with drip glaze are very uncommon compared to the number of other industrial pottery and "art pottery" from the period produced in California at the same time. This is probably because there were a lot less produced.


With the introduction of the "art pottery" line in 1932 several other more serious art pottery forms were created. In the catalogue of 1932 there is no mention of the drip glazes. However the individual colors found in the combination of drip glazes are shown, (canary yellow, apache red, royal blue, cactus green, sapphire blue, white and black). Several examples of Pacific Art Pottery have been found that are glazed entirely in one of these individual colors. Most common are the garden pottery and hostess ware (dishes, cups and saucers). However none of the "Art Pottery" line forms that are found decorated with the drip glazes have been seen by the auther to be decorated with just one of the colors alone.


There are several different color combinations and a few pieces have surfaced which appear to have been experimental glazes. The most common of the drip glazes is the combination of apache red with cactus green and sapphire blue (see figure #1). The blue and green flowing together like the colors of water and ice with flames of red dancing on the surface. All of the different glaze combinations seem to flow on the surface of the pot on top of a stoneware clay body. The pots seem to be the standard yellow ware underneath the dripped on colors often peeking through. Four different treatments of the interiors have come to light. The first and most common is the standard yellow ware glaze for the inside (see figure #5). The second is a dark matte brown color (see figure #4). The third is a white glaze that I found on the inside of two mugs of the smaller variety and inside a small vase (see figure #3). The fourth is that which is found on the inside of the experimental glaze of black and light to dark blue glaze and it is on both the inside and outside of the pot (see figure #6 & 9).

All known pieces of Pacific Art Pottery were cast from moulds or created by the technique of jiggering requiring finishing work before the glazes were applied and the form fired. The small bud vase (see figure # 8) is found in two different forms very similar in shape and size but slight variations in the flaring of the lip bring one to the conclusion that they must have come from different moulds (see figures #8 and #9). Also there is a size difference in several of the vase forms (see figures #4, and #12, and also #8, and #9). The bulbous shouldered vase form is found in two very slightly different sizes one being only a quarter inch larger than the other (see catalogue #5 and #13).


Two methods of manufacture were used, casting and jiggering these must represent two periods of production. Also it is interesting to note that the shape seems to coincide with the different stamped marks found on the bottoms.


Of the two periods of production of art pottery at the Pacific Clay Products Co., the later is represented by the use of the small double enclosed stamp and also marked by the use of a lighter clay body (see figures #6 and #9). And the earlier by the more common sandy stoneware body and the use of the large and small double outlined mark with the slanted letter "F". Because of these differences production must have lasted for over some period of time. However even though the glaze treatments of each piece is different, there is a sort of similarity in the way each is glazed. The combination of colors did not just happen. Every pot shows creativity in color and form of decoration. Because of the scarcity of pieces found today and the period of production which lasted for some time, I believe that the production of art pottery at Pacific was the work of only one person or by a very small group of very creative individuals.


Michael John Verlangieri

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VERLANGIERI Media/Gallery 1998