Bidasoa folk art pot

Vintage Bidasoa porcelain lidded pot | H is for Home

It’s always nice to pick up a piece of pottery by a company of which we’ve not previously been aware. This was the case with this gorgeous lidded pot that we bought at the local flea market last week. It was produced by Bidasoa who were founded in 1934 and are one of the premier porcelain manufacturers in Spain.

Base stamp on a vintage Bidasoa porcelain pot | H is for Home

We think this particular piece dates from the 1960s era. It’s just gut instinct – there isn’t another example of this particular pattern in any of our reference books, or indeed the internet that we’ve managed to find – quite amazing really.

Detail of a vintage Bidasoa porcelain lidded pot | H is for Home

We absolutely love the folk art design featuring trees, flowers, stag, fox, goose, hare – and hunters on foot & horseback. If we didn’t already know that it was Spanish, we’d say it had to be Scandinavian. Perhaps the artist responsible is Scandinavian, but we haven’t identified who designed it as yet.

Detail of a vintage Bidasoa porcelain lidded pot | H is for Home

We were curious as to what other products Bidasoa produced so we’ve been trawling the web. It’s a mixed bag, but in amongst their wares is ‘Block’ dining ware produced in 1969 – an under-rated classic design we’d say – particularly in the black and white colourways (entitled ‘Noche’ and ‘Blanca’. We’ve just been saying that if we’d seen it at the recent Tibor Reich exhibition in Manchester it wouldn’t have looked out of place. So Bidasoa is now something we’ll keep an eye out for – always good to keep learning!

Vintage Bidasoa Block 'Blanco' coffee setVintage Bidasoa Block 'Noche' coffee set

Vintage Bidasoa Block 'Noche' condiment set Vintage Bidasoa Block part tea set

Bidasoa Block ‘Noche’ coffee set for sale on One Kings Lane | Bidasoa Block ‘Noche’ coffee set for sale on Etsy

Vintage Thomas trios

Vintage Thomas trio | H is for Home

One of last week’s favourite items was the vintage Micratex ‘Catrina’ cups we featured – and we’re going to follow that up with more crockery this week. It’s a combination of loving this particular pattern – and having a high regard for the output of this manufacturer in general.

Triangle pattern on vintage Thomas trio | H is for Home

We have a set of six trios designed by Eva Striker-Zeisel in the 1950s for Thomas of Germany. The simple repeating triangle or arrow pattern in grey on white is classic Mid Century Modern; so clean, pared back and unfussy.

Set of 6 upturned vintage Thomas trios

Like many people, we drink most of our tea and coffee out of mugs, but occasionally you fancy (or need) something a little ‘posher’. These are perfect as they aren’t too small and suit any hot beverage.

Base stamp on the underside of a vintage Thomas tea cup | H is for Home

Thomas produced high quality pottery – porcelain in fact, for this range – and it’s a real pleasure to drink from. They’ve had many fabulous shapes and patterns in their output – mid century modern, op art, stylised abstract. We’ve had quite a selection of them over the years – and this one is a real favourite. We’ve just added them to our web shop so they’re available to buy now if you love them too!

Pop goes the Teapot!

'Pop goes the teapot!' blog post banner

Vintage orange Rörstrand Pop teapot with tins of tea

We picked up this lovely vintage porcelain teapot on Monday morning – a good start to the week!

Underside of an orange Pop teapot showing Rörstrand base stamp

A very striking piece in terms of both form and colour, it’s called the ‘Pop Teapot’ and was designed by Inger Persson for Rorstrand of Sweden in 1968.

orange Rörstrand Pop teapot with lid off showing the strainer

It doesn’t just look great – it’s very ergonomic too. You need a teapot to feel good in the hand and pour well –  which this one does. The integral stainless steel strainer is a very nice feature too. 

orange Rörstrand Pop teapot with lid off and strainer to the side

Displays well and does the job well – a classic piece of design! We’ve noticed that the V&A museum has an example in their collection. Not to worry if you don’t drink tea either – it would sit quite happily amongst other pieces of art pottery or glass.

Vintage orange Rörstrand Pop teapot

This brilliant red-orange example will be available in our web shop this week.

Creative Collections: Altenstadt bottles

'Creative Collections' blog post banner

Vintage Altenstadt bottle collection

For this Creative Collections post we have this lovely group of bottle decanters.

Vintage Altenstadt pottery mark

They’re all marked Altenstadt, Western Germany to the base – so we know where they originate from, but we have to admit to ignorance when it comes to a designer or manufacturer. Anyone out there know?

Vintage Altenstadt pottery pirate bottle Vintage Altenstadt pottery sailor bottle

Each bottle represents either a specific character, such as a pirate or sailor…

Vintage Altenstadt pottery barmaid bottle Vintage Altenstadt pottery birds bottle

…or a group scene like the bar room or birds in a cage.

Vintage Altenstadt pottery city gent bottle Vintage Altenstadt pottery monocled man bottle

They’re very charming and look equally good as a group or stand alone piece. They’re very good quality ceramic and the graphics are fabulous, full of quirky details.

Vintage Altenstadt bottle stoppers

We usually put our collections together over a long period of time, picking pieces up singly. Not in this case however. The bottles were someone else’s hard work – hello Emma (of Wooden Donkey fame) if you’re reading this!! We bought her remaining stock when she retired from the vintage retail game. We were supposed to be selling them of course, but as you can see we’ve not managed to part with them as yet!

Porcelain or Ceramic Tile?

'Porcelain or Ceramic Tile?' blog post banner

Floorcraft Catlin porcelain floor tiles in a bathroom

Tile is a popular, practical and elegant flooring choice that looks great in virtually any home. Because of its durability, it’s excellent for any room – perfect for busy families and areas of heavy foot traffic. Tile flooring is low maintenance, easy to clean, moisture resistant and flexible. There is also a wide range of beautiful glazes & finishes. Ceramic and porcelain are two of the most popular and common types of tile flooring. But what’s the difference between them?

dark Design Distinctions Pearson Mosaic tiled bathroom

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is formed from red or white clay covered in a protective glaze and fired in a kiln. It’s available in a wide array of earthy tones, vibrant hues and distinctive patterns. It offers lots of creative options for traditional or contemporary interiors in areas where there is light to moderate footfall.

Design Distinctions copper ceramic tile flooring

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain is known for its beauty and incredible lustre. It is created under extreme temperature & pressure conditions which enhances the tiles durability. This manufacturing process means it’s denser, smoother and more impervious to moisture than ceramic, making it perfect for either indoor or outdoor settings. Carrying flooring through from interior to exterior – out to a patio, for instance, can be very effective visually – enhancing the sense of space & drawing the outdoors in. With a wide range of colours, textures and patterns, porcelain can add beauty & character to any room. Depending on your preference, porcelain is available in both a gloss and matte finish.

Dark American Olean Siena Springs porcelain floor tiles in a bathroom overlooking a lake & mountains

Perhaps one of the best things about tile flooring is the ability to lay it in a variety of distinctive patterns that immediately transforms a space. Eye-catching designs such as a classic black & white chequerboard effect or installing it on the diagonal are good examples. If you’re looking to add a touch of unique beauty to your home, consider tile flooring.

[disclosure*]

R is for… Rorstrand

'R is for... Rorstrand' blog post banner

detail of a pear from a Rorstrand pottery dish | H is for Home

Swedish ceramic production has been dominated by 3 firms – Gustavsberg, Upsala-Ekeby and the subject of today’s blog… Rorstrand.

'Pop' series teapot by Inger Persson for RorstrandPop series teapot by Inger Persson

Rorstrand is in fact, the 2nd oldest porcelain manufacturer in Europe, having been established in 1726. However, most of its early production was based on successful ranges developed by other factories.

'Koka' teapot by Hertha Bengston for Rorstrand | H is for Home
Koka
range by Hertha Bengston

The arrival of Alf Wallander as Art Director in 1895 was very significant. The factory began producing original, distinctive and innovative ceramics of its own.

Small 'Eden' lidded pot by Marianne Westman | H is for HomeEden range by Marianne Westman
'Eden' casserole dish by Marianne Westman | H is for Home

Rorstrand has attracted some of the most talented artists & designers of the day. Names such as Edward Hald, Louise Adelberg, Carl-Harry Stalhane, Hertha Bengston, Gunnar Nylund, Marianne Westman, Inger Persson and Bertil Vallien.

Stoneware ewers by Gunner NylundStoneware ewers by Gunner Nylund

The mid-twentieth output is our own personal favourite – with its simple stoneware designs & informal tableware ranges such as Picknick and Eden.

Rorstrand 'Picknick' serving trayPicknick serving tray

Rorstrand 'Ark' plate and bowlArk plate and bowl

There have been various mergers & takeovers within Swedish ceramics – the ‘big three’ firms are today part of a single conglomerate – Designer Oy.

Rorstrand 'Granada' pattern milk jug | H is for HomeGranada pattern milk jug

Rorstrand is still producing great ceramics – take a look at their current designers & ranges.

Of the recent output, we’re fond of the Grade tableware designed by Pia Torwell in 2000 – simple, functional & beautiful.

Rorstrand 'Grade' ceramic kitchen/tablewareGrade kitchen/tableware

For more information about Rorstrand & Swedish ceramics in general check out the books listed below. They’re packed full of images!

Additional images courtesy:
Fischler, George & Gould, Barrett: Scandinavian Ceramics and Glass 1940s to 1980s
Fiell, Charlotte and Peter: Scandinavian Design