Going to run a quick roundup before I head out to look for more goodies. Over the last couple years, thrifting for inventory has taking a nosedive - so I've been supplementing it with some other methods, both online and off. You can still find amazing things at thrift stores, but it's just a lot more work. I still like it better than the estate sale grind (although I should probably step up my game on those).
I wasn't really familiar with ceramics by John Novy but was delighted to find this unusual candle holder at the thrift. Fully marked on the bottom, so I can only imagine it had just been put out. From what I've read, Novy was a ceramicist in San Diego, although he was born in Austria. He was also a member of the San Diego Potters Guild and part of that legendary Allied Craftsmen group in the 1960s-70s.
We've had this Win Ng enamel dish for quite a few years, along with another larger shallow bowl. You probably know Win Ng from the Taylor and Ng brand and store, but he also did a lot of studio work in ceramics and enamel. We originally knew of him through the "naughty" animal series of mugs that we used to find all of the time - I think we had a very early blog post on those mugs. It's still possible to find these enamels unidentified every so often, along with pieces by Jade Snow Wong, because the sig on the back is often very hard to read if you don't know what you're looking at.
I'd thought this piece might be more modern on first glance, but it turned out to be a Rookwood Pottery vase from 1924! It has a simple shape which almost made me pass it by, I thought it might be German or Japanese from the 1980s even. But it's fully marked on bottom with the Rookwood stamp and "586C".
It's still always a shock to find very old art pottery like this in a thrift. Over the last 10 years, we've found a number of rather amazing pieces that are either unmarked or just not identified. Granted, a year or two might go by where we don't thrift a single piece, but it's still crazy what slips through.
These Alvino Bagni for Raymor primitive style cylinder vases were a pick up from an estate that I went to very late. At the time, I didn't know what they were since they didn't have any marks at all - apparently, the other pickers didn't know either because they were still there. But the price was right, and after some lucky googling I figured out that they were Bagni.
Saved the most interesting find for last - I'd heard of these alleged Edith Heath studio vases when we first started collecting California pottery. It was actually from reading Jack Chipman's Scrapbook that I was aware of these curious items with pink or blue speckles and darker brown glaze on top that were incised "Heath" on the bottom. Several years ago, our friends Bit of Butter had come across one in real life, and it seemed like the consensus was that it was indeed done by Edith Heath. So when I saw this one, I had to pick it up even though the price was a bit high.
Chipman's book states that he's uncertain they are indeed by Edith Heath / Heath Ceramics. They came in several different shapes (all vases and bowls as far as I know), and all seem to have the mysterious incised Heath name on bottom. I haven't tried to contact Heath yet to confirm, but it seems like most people are saying that it is indeed by them. I have to say - after handling it in person, I would have had some doubts if so many other people hadn't already said it was by Heath. The ceramic is actually white, which is different than the usual brown clay you see on Heath.
The brown accent glaze does seem to be correct for Heath. But it is very lightweight for a studio piece, and I don't think I could feel any "finger rings" on the inside which would indicate it was made on something like a potter's wheel. There are also a number of other California potteries that made production pieces with this type of speckled glaze. I actually was combing over the piece trying to see if there was a "cast" line which might indicate it was production and not studio ware. I didn't find one so far. I had this theory at one point that maybe these were Heath Ceramic pieces, but they were hand finished cast pieces that never went into full production. I sort of doubt this is the case any more, but who knows.
In any case, we're still thrilled to have one of these pieces. I'd be curious if anyone has any concrete proof it was by Heath - the best would be if someone had some magical literature that showed them.