Nell McCredie was an architect before she opened her pottery studio in Epping, Sydney in 1932 to make fine art pottery by hand. McCredie continued to produce pottery right up to her death in 1968, and she was interested in art and design in all her work – as she said:
“Pottery-making is definitely an art inasmuch as the design is a purely individual thing. The technique of moulding is mechanical but the conception and execution of a design is an art -a fascinating art.” [Where Pottery is made by Hand, SMH, Oct 20 1936.]
McCredie made vases and domestic ware – often with this distinctive white matt outer glaze and a contrasting coloured shiny interior glaze. The forms were simple and strong, quite different to a lot of 30s and 40s pottery- and often with the ‘ribs’ seen on these vases.
I’ve styled the vases with Waratah and Gerbras- the single colour flower looks fantastic with the monochrome vase. As with all her pottery, the vases are hand-signed on the base: ‘McCredie N.S.W.’
made in Sydney, Australia 1930-1940
Following from my last post, here are some more archetypal works from the Architect-turned-potter Nell McCredie.
Five pieces that evidence McCredie’s idiosyncratic matt white outer-glaze, with a cool green shiny inner glaze. The pieces are: [from back to front] – a gondola vase [with attached frog, as you’d expect]; a posey floating vase; two smaller ‘tulip’ vases and a pin dish [read ‘ashtray’ by a more acceptable name.]
Some of the pieces evidence internal crazing due to age…these pieces were all hand-made eighty years ago. As with all her work, McCredie’s pottery is hand signed on the base: ‘McCredie N.S.W.‘
These five pieces of Australian history are for sale: $AUD245
Peony Ware double handled dish
made in Japan c.1950s
Avid readers of this blog will know that due to my [real] life as a landscape architect, I am a sucker for all things botanical. Especially 50s kitschy botanical. This Peony Ware plate- featuring- Peonies….ticks all the boxes.
Peony Ware started manufacturing slip-cast raised ‘peony’ jugs, plates, tea cups and vases in the 50s as a response to the popularity of Carlton Ware. The quality of the peonies isn’t that of Carlton Ware- although it is hand-painted and the peonies are raised -it was sold as a sort of cheaper version; and only featured peonies. Carlton Ware in the 50s was producing Fox Glove, Wild Rose, Buttercup, Apple Blossom….while Peony Ware pumped out the peonies in every conceivable colour.
This is a double-sided, handled dish- with the peony in a modest cream colour- in excellent condition. It is stamped ‘Peony Ware, made in Japan’ on the underside. I’ve teamed it with a 50s figurine of a dog in a jumpsuit- the colourings and the size of the figurine seem to work well.
I love this group of icons. The colours, the forms, the ensemble. The first, Jesus with a timber fan – cum halo, stands on a polished timber plinth giving the peace sign. The middle icon- hand painted perhaps by someone in a hurry- has Mary with a somewhat shifty look, and Joseph looking like a harried hippy [could that haircut be any more unfortunate?] As for baby Jesus- is it just me, or is he a ventriloquist doll?
The final icon features Mary arms outstretched, standing on an orb that while representing the earth, is the colour of her dress and head scarf, and which itself is on a bakelite plinth. Mary’s face is featureless- it’s all about the clothes- she is just a cipher.
The trio form an interesting group representing religious iconography of the 50s. In Australia. In the 50s.
Jean doll living room furniture
made in West Germany 1960s
After Moishe- from ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ featured in the last post, he requested to appear in this vignette- an arrangement of living room furniture in lovely red and white.
Moishe could have been putting a record on, or lighting the romantic [if oversized] candle- but instead has opted to work the drinks trolley. I have to say he is looking a little peeved here- perhaps the colour palette doesn’t suit him as much? I should have liked to see him wearing a little red and white apron- then he would have fitted right in.
Pyrex coffee serving flask, made in Britain c. 1960s Smiths Ringer kitchen timber, made in Britain c.1960s
Pyrex made coffee percolators- and as see here- coffee serving flasks in Britain, America and Australia in the 60s. Every household had a percolator- which were quite functional in form and styling- and it was only the fancy-pants households that had the more decorative serving flask.
This serving flask is such a product of the 60s- the handle and knob and bakelite, the large chrome band is off-set by the fake timber laminate on the lid. The glass is decorated with a subtle white abstract design: this is a flask that is straddling early and later mid-century modern design ideals.
The kitchen timer [a Smiths Ringer, British made 1960s] is also made of bakelite. This ringer is all precise functionality- two toned- and the bell still works a treat [have not tested it for timing accuracy- may be slightly less than accurate since it’s over fifty years old.] I have featured Smiths Ringers on the blog before- I am somewhat partial to them.
For the retro kitchen- the Pyrex serving flask and kitchen timer are for sale: $AUD75
Semak ‘Vitamizer’ electric blender
made in Melbourne, c.1953
This beautiful bakelite blender is fully functioning – it has starred at many cocktail parties at my house as it’s fantastic for crushing ice and blending drinks. [Haven’t tested its ‘Vitamizer’ qualities, being too far gone on cocktails….]
Later versions of the Vitamizer have a bakelite body and clear glass top, and Semak still makes Vitamizers today, having started the company in 1948. As far as I can ascertain, the fully-bakelite models like this one were only ever made in black and white. Even the electric plug is bakelite.
The Vitamizer works on 240 V /120 W, and has serial number SN 6-510 stamped on the metal base. Perfect for the retro kitchen! For sale: $AUD125
Bakewells mixing bowl and jug
made in Sydney, Australia 1930s
Bakewells started production in 1884 and like so many potteries, moved from making industrial pieces [bricks and pipes] to domestic wares in the early part of the twentieth century. By the early 30s Bakewells was making pudding bowls and banded mixing bowls in multi colours- all to meet the insatiable demands of the new middle class.
Bakewells was in Bexley, in Sydney and is now very well known and very collectible. Particularly collectible are the banded bowls like this blue one- they can also be found in yellow, purple and green. The matching jug- with its 30s post-art-deco styling is made with the same off-white glaze. Perfect for the contemporary kitchen!
This is a fantastic Diana jug- described as J4 and selling for 9/- in 1950, when it was made. That’s 9 shillings- 9 ‘bob’ in the old parlance [or just less than half a pound!]
The jug was produced in this matt white glaze, and the brown and green drip glaze that has featured previously on this blog. I collect Diana in the brown & green colourings- but love the deco stylings of this jug and am sorely tempted to keep it.
I’ve styled the jug as a vase- the matt white glaze looks fabulous with the off-white colour schemes of most contemporary walls- and it’s nice to have a retro piece that has a few functions.
Camel insulated picnic ware
made in Hong Kong, c. 1960s
This set of insulated jug and mugs was revolutionary picnic ware in the 60s- the insulation was for both hot and cold liquids! The tartan motif in the middle of the insulating layers is real fabric- as if to reinforce the complexity of the technology- whilst also providing a jaunty picnic-vibe.
I like the way the tartan has been placed at angle to the jug and cup geometries- and the transparent handles- and the gilt knob on top of the jug. It’s all in the details! And because it was made in Hong Kong in the 60s- there are five, not six, cups in the set.
This set has never been used and is ready for any picnic action. It’s for sale: $AUD65