John ffrench (1928-2010) was an Irish studio potter / ceramic artist whose work is fantastically colourful and unique.
ffrench attended the National College of Art in Dublin after which he moved to Florence to attend the Instituto Statale D’Arte to specialise in ceramics. He returned to Ireland in 1962 where he was a founding member of Arklow Studio Pottery. In 1969, he emigrated to Massachusetts to teach and where he he founded The Dolphin Studio. However, he maintained a studio in County Galway where he spent time making each summer.
Check out eBay and Etsy for available pieces. His work occasionally comes up for sale in places such as Sotheby’s and Tennant’s Auctioneers.
At the end of this post is a very short film featuring the artist. It’s part of a 2007 retrospective exhibition entitled A Life of Colour. There’s a book available (shown in the montage above) which contains almost 750 illustrations of his work.
creditJohn ffrench video clip
from David Shaw-smith
Additional image credits:
Crawford Gallery | Pinterest
We love a bit of Iden Pottery – the subtle colours, interesting patterns and tactile surfaces. You may need to be a bit selective however, some of the early hand made studio ware is gorgeous.
We bought this fabulous lamp base a while ago, but still haven’t married it up with a suitable shade. We’ve been keeping an eye out for a cream or beige Hessian shade but alas, nothing of the right size or shape has appeared on our travels. We need to make a more determined effort – perhaps an internet trawl is required. It’s such a shame to leave this lovely piece languishing in a storage box.
Iden Pottery was founded by Dennis Townsend when he left Rye Pottery in 1959. The wares were sold by Harrod’s and Heal’s and are well regarded for their quality of design and finish. Their pared back subtlety means that they don’t scream at you from a distance – so keep your eyes peeled for hidden gems on flea market stalls or charity shop shelves.
Larger objects such as the lamp base work well as stand alone pieces in a variety of interior styles. We like grouping smaller pieces in groups alongside other pieces of Iden – or as part of a general collection of studio pottery from the same era.
Earlier this week, we wrote about a piece of Ambleside pottery we bought. Today we’re going to show you a few more examples of work by its maker, George Cook. Cook was the founder and main designer-maker of Ambleside Pottery based in the southern Lake District, Cumbria. He ran the pottery from 1948 until he retired in 1968, when he sold the premises to Brian Jackson. Between 1959 & 1966, he trained Gordon Fox who currently owns & runs Kentmere Pottery.
George Cook pieces regularly come up for sale at auctions across the UK and occasionally appear on eBay. They’re very reasonably priced… for the time being!
The 1954 Rydal Women’s Institute programme reveals how the group held their April meeting at George Cook’s studio. A pottery demonstration formed part of the event. The studio was located in North Road, in an abandoned corn mill (see bottom photo taken in April 1886) by Stock Ghyll, Ambleside. The pottery remained in existence until the 1980s. At present, it operates as the Giggling Goose Café. Apparently, examples of the pottery can still be found on the roof above the kitchen window.
Additional image credits: Worthpoint
We don’t go into charity shops that much any more, but we had a mooch in a couple yesterday – after viewing the auction at Hartley’s in Ilkley (a nice town for a day out if you’ve never been – auction, independent shops, cafes etc). We made a few purchases including this cute little vintage slipware dish.
It was made at Ambleside Pottery which was founded by George Cook in the late 1940s. This is quite an early example and rather charming, we think. They also produced some fabulous sgraffito designs which have real mid century modern style.
The pottery closed in the 1980s. It’s developing a wider following of collectors, but is still very affordable. Strangely we saw the best piece of Ambleside Pottery we’ve ever come across in Ilkley – a huge 1950s flagon-like slipware jug. It was for sale at the aforementioned auction. We couldn’t attend on bidding day, so left a bid. Alas, we didn’t leave one high enough, missed out – and have regretted it ever since!
We bought these two lovely vintage Paris side plates this week – what classic 1950s designs!
They’re quite similar, both featuring French café scenes, but were produced by different makers – namely Ridgway and Alfred Meakin.
The illustrations are gorgeous – café society, stylish ladies and gentlemen, parasols, hats… and poodles!
They display very well – catching your eye and drawing you in for a closer look – something different to notice each time. Available to buy in our webshop now.
There’s such a goldmine of vintage Scandinavian designers from which to choose, we’ve decided upon yet another this week – Raija Uosikkinen (1923-2004).
She is probably most well-known for her fruity Pomona and folk art Emilia patterns for Arabia, where she worked from 1947 to 1986. She also designed annual Christmas commemorative collectors’ plates for the company between 1978 and 1983.
The Finnish designer’s work is most easy to find on Tradera (the Scandi version of eBay), Etsy and to a lesser extent on eBay.
Bukowskis | Dishware Heaven | Flickr | Retronomi