What is it and What’s it Worth?

Do you have any idea what this figure is?  It sold for $14.99 in February 2018 and was made by Ceramic Arts Studio, a prolific maker of these particular items in the United States.

Do you have any idea what this figure is?  It is actually a vase! Head vases were used by florists from the mid-1950s to the 1960s and were part of a collecting craze in the 1990s and early 2000s. Ceramic Arts Studio was one of the popular makers of head vases in the United States.  Do you know the history behind Ceramic Arts Studio? Our Worthopedia currently has hundreds of listings for Ceramic Arts Studio pieces!  If you have any of these pieces, do a search now and see how much they are worth. 

Ceramic Arts Studio Company

Lawrence Rabbett, an art student at the University of Wisconsin, founded the Ceramic Arts Studio, located in Madison, Wisconsin, in January 1941.  Rueben Sand, a business and law student, joined him.  The Studio specialized in making wheel-thrown ceramics.  Finding the process time consuming, they began slipcasting pieces.

When Betty Harrington brought in a glaze piece to be fired, Rabbett and Sand hired her as a designer and modeler.  During World War II, the company began production of a line of high-end molded figures that were sold in jewelry stores and large department stores.  The company made over 800 figures.  Harrington designed half of them.

The company also made planters, salt and pepper sets, shelf sitters, and wall plaques.  This set of salt and pepper shakers sold for $20 in March 2018.

The company also made planters, salt and pepper sets, shelf sitters, and wall plaques.  It also produced a line of head vases for the floral industry.  The flood of cheap imported ceramics in the early 1950s led to the demise of the studio in 1955.

What to Look For

In the 1940s extending through the early 1960s, America experienced a collecting craze for small tchotchke figurines.  Although manufacturers were centered primarily in California, others, such as Ceramic Arts Studio, were located across the United States.

Many figures had distinctive decoration, facial expressions, and poses. This figurine pair sold for $45.99 in March 2018.

Ceramic Arts Studio collectors tout the high-level of design and quality of the figures.  Its figures had distinctive decoration, facial expressions, and poses.  In truth, other manufacturers produced products of equally high-level design and quality.

Collectors focus primarily on figurines.  Human figures, many with pink glazed checks, often came in pairs.  Many had an ethnic motif.  Animals ranged from domestic to mythical.

Human figures, many with pink glazed checks, often came in pairs. A pair of Ceramic Arts Studio head vases sold for $30 in January 2018.

Head vases and shelf sitters offer an affordable specialized collection.

Many of the individuals who participated in the Ceramic Studio Arts collecting craze of the 1990s and early 2000s are aging.  Major collections are being sold at auction.  At the moment, the secondary market is flooded with offerings, albeit many internet sellers still ask 1990s book prices.

Marks

Arch with “CERAMIC ARTS STUDIO” beneath which is “MADISON, WI.”.  Another version has a © in the center.

CERAMICS ARTS” over “STUDIO”.

Ink stamp mark: “BETTY HARRINGTON / CERAMIC ART STUDIO.”

Some pieces are marked with the name of the figure.


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