We need to talk about your living space

Why do we put up with bland and boring living spaces, let’s fill them with life and colour! Colourful doesn’t have to mean cluttered either, so you can get that thought out of your head!

Your home is a place that can be a quiet sanctuary of calm as well as a space for entertaining your friends and family, so why not have the odd conversation or statement piece scattered about the place? Don’t just confine them to your living room either, your kitchen can also have a splash of vintage colour!

Here at A Fine Vintage HQ, you’ll find the odd piece of vintage ceramic dotted about the place! Mix it up, get the contemporary and the vintage together and don’t be afraid to do so.

A retro blue wooden sailing boat on the mantlepiece next to a 1920s hall mirror and new heart-shaped red tea light holders…

Vintage blue star blue sailing boat

or a cheeky Mr Bibendum waving out from behind colourful potplants and the ubiquitous yellow ceramic pineapple (well why not!)

Mr Bibendum admits colourful pot plants

Don’t just leave it there either, use fab vintage pieces in the kitchen too to break up the monotony of the granite worktop!
Who else has got a Sylvac lemon vase for their dish sponges…

Sylvac lemon and cabbage leaf jug

Or a vintage blue jug adorned with cherubs with their wooden utensils in…

Blue angel jug

or a green cabbage leave dish to hold their onions… Can’t just be us surely!

Green cabbage leaf dish with onions in

The point is, that you don’t have to buy vintage just for show in a cabinet, use it, make a statement out of it and most of all enjoy it.

Rehome, reuse, recycle, repurpose and relove

Art Deco Period – Who, what, when, where and why

I think that you can guess by what’s for sale on A Fine Vintage’s website that the Art Deco period of ceramics and glassware is our favourite period of design.

With that in mind, we thought you may like to know a little more about this exciting time in history. Art Deco, sometimes referred to as simply Deco, is a style of design, arts and architecture that first appeared in France just before the onset of the Great War 1914-1918. It was however, most popular from 1925 in the decorative arts world up to about the start of WWII in 1939. However Art Deco style continued right up until the 1950s and has influenced and inspired designs throughout the decades right up to the present time.

The term Art Deco took its name from the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial arts held in 1925 in Paris (Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industries Modernes). Its influence could be seen in buildings, fashion, ceramics, glassware, furniture and even trains.

Its intention was to bring together the finest craftsmanship and materials with modern design. Art Deco was and still is, synonymous with luxury, glamour, the jazz age, wealth and class and had the overwhelming desire to be modern. 

You can see how Art Deco was influenced by a plethora of previous styles, from the geometric patterns and angles of Cubism to the colours of Fauvism, encapsulated by the work of Henri Matisse, which favoured the use of bold colours over exact representations of subjects.

Art Deco red, black and gold trio
Art Deco red, black and gold trio

Like Art Nouveau before it, Art Deco’s impact has been primarily on the decorative and graphic arts as well as architecture and fashion. So it is no coincidence that Art Deco’s influence has been very important in the ceramics industry, fundamentally changing previously approved concepts of form and decoration.

Susie Cooper inspired Myott side plate
Susie Cooper inspired Myott

Widely used in Art Deco decoration were stylised chevons and geometric patterns based on repeated lines and overlapping rectangular shapes as well as angles in form and straight line gilding.  Stylised floral decoration was common on Art Deco ceramics too but vastly different to the organic nature of Art Nouveau with its soft environmental lines and flow.

Art Deco had a huge impact on the British ceramics world with ceramic artists Clarice Cliff and Susie Cooper in the late 20s breaking the mould and major manufacturers like J&G Meakin taking influence too with their angled plates and simple floral designs  Glass makers too embraced the Art deco scene with Rene Lalique, the name most associated with Art Nouveau and Art Deco glass.

J and G Meakin Art Deco plate
J and G Meakin Art Deco plate


West German Art Pottery – a brief history

Between 1949 and 1990, the term West German Art Pottery became the way to describe German pottery because the country of origin was often the only “mark” on the base, (see below)

German Vase - Dumler Keramic - Fat Lava Period
Dumler Keramic – Fat Lava Period

Even though we now know more of the names of the famous factories like Bay Keramik, Dümler & Breiden (as in the pictures shown), Scheurich and Carstens and such items are increasingly attributed to said potteries, the term “West German pottery” remains a generic term for such works.

From the 1950s to 1970s, German pottery saw a renaissance and studio potters and porcelain makers were actively producing art pottery in the then West Germany.  Although production slowed in the 1970s, such potteries produced well into the 1980s. In the mid 1990’s interest was piquing once again in these vibrant art pieces.

The terms Fat Lava and West German Art Pottery are often used interchangeably, but are actually different. The term Fat Lava relates to the thick glaze that gives the pottery a lava-like look and was used commonly by the German pottery industry.

Dumler Keramic - Fat Lava Period
Dumler Keramic – Fat Lava Period

The term Fat Lava was being used by sellers in Germany in the 1990s, although the translation is probably more likely to be ‘thick’ than ‘fat, but it’s a great term that everyone who loves this pottery style understands. Some people attribute the term to an exhibition of such works by Dr. Graham Cooley during the King’s Lynn Arts Festival in 2006 which is a decade or so later, but that’s for you to debate!

A Fine Vintage has two Dumler Keramic vases (as shown in the above and below images). The first is finished in a speckled white glaze which is further decorated with a ”pop art’ boxed design in vibrant orange and green. The squared pattern is finished in a drip glaze. The colours used epitomise the atmosphere of the race to the moon era. It was on July 20 1969 when Man first landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong stepped out of Apollo 11 onto the lunar surface. This piece screams with the global excitement at that time.

The second which has just been added is a stunning super vintage West German vase produced by the West German Dumler Keramic in the 1960s / 1970s. It’s a fine pottery vase decorated in a vibrant orange drip glaze on a glossy brown ground base and is typical of the period. Click the images to find our more.

Fat Lava Vase | Dumler Keramic
Fat Lava Vase | Dumler Keramic

Vintage is the new NEW

Recycling, reloving, rehoming, reviving… these are the buzz words of today for all of us desperate to breathe new life into old things. Be they antique, vintage or even modern retro! Below is our take on things, but after posting this on Instagram, we soon discovered everyone has their own opinions, we draw the line at the 90’s being vintage!

A guide to terms | A Fine Vintage Ceramics and Glassware

Ceramics and glassware are so analogue, ‘an antidote to the analytical, screen-based way most of us spend our lives’, say The Guardian and we at A Fine Vintage agree.

The digital world isn’t tactile, you can’t touch it, you can’t smell it, you can’t put in on your table and show it off, (well you can sort of do the last one but you get what we mean!) That said, there is a huge boom in Instagrammers, Pinteresters and Facebookers talking and showing off their pictures and videos of all things vintage, including us.

Beautiful ceramics and glassware have never been more accessible. Whether your looking to add to an existing collection or looking to start a new obsession there’s lots out there for you to discover and give a new lease of life to. From what was everyday tableware 70 years ago and rare today to something more extraordinary you’ll find a great choice of ceramics and glassware on our site.

This blog will talk about some of our favourite designers, some history about the famous potteries, and showcases some of gorgeous items throughout the coming months.

Please join in our social media community as we will keep each one up to date with different  things: Facebook: @afinevintage | Instagram: A_Fine_Vintage