Monday, August 19, 2013

Egersund Unique

They are, arent't they? Simple, yet unique? This post is gonna be a sunny one, color and pattern- wise:-) I got these last weekend too, together with the pieces in my last post, but decided they deserve a post of they're own. 

Egersund Unique is handpainted and the pieces therefore have an individual look and on the olivegreenish brown edges you can clearly see the brushstrokes. Unique was designed by Kaare Block Johansen in 1971 and was in production until 1976, just a few years before Egersund Fajanse closed down in 1979.

There's very little information to be found about Kaare Block Johansen, which is strange and sad, as he made these wonderful and iconic designs. I've found however, that he was at the factory from the 50s and that he was their last remaining designer before they closed down. 


 




Unique was very popular and has become an icon of norwegian early 70s design, I guess it captured the sunny happy vibe of that decade really well. I found the milk jug in Stavanger this summer. With this color, they're easy to spot:-)


I have a Korulen set from an earlier catch, with two large serving plates and three lidded bowls. I know I've shown you before, but these two need to be seen in relation. The lids are especially gorgeous. Korulen is exactly the same design by kaare Block Johansen, but the sunflower pattern is designed by Unni Margrethe Johnsen. Johnsen finished her education at Statens håndverks- og kunstindustriskole in 1966 at the age of 24 and were immediately employed by Porsgrund Porselænsfabrik.

She was characterized as a breath of fresh air. Not surprising, seeing her wonderful design. For the next nine years, she designed both for PP and Egersund Fayanse. From the mid 70s she set up her own studio, where she consentrated on working with clay. Her work from the mid 80s and early 90s are concidered her most artistically significant. I wish I could find some examples. Sadly she passed away in an accident in 2001, only 59 years old. 


 



The great thing with these two designs is that they mix really well. Just look at those sunny concoctions below!


   
 

When I tell you the design is from 71, it's no typo. I haven't been able to find out what the number 73 stands for, it might be the actual production year. Notice how the handpainted Unique is marked differently.

Wanna know some more about Egersund Fayanse? It was founded in 1847 under the name Egersunds Potteri by Johan Feyer who himself was a pottery maker, trained in Newcastle upon Tyne. Feyer brought english pottery makers to Egersund to teach the craft to local workers. For the first 20 years, the factory produced the brown pottery that this region is known for (see examples here) made from local clay. In 1851 the factory had 26 employees.

In 1863 Feyer started the transformation prosess to start producing white pottery, the so- called fajanse, and the factory was renamed Egersunds Fayancefabrik. They hired swedish pottery makers from Rørstrand and english labourers. The fayence was produced out of a mixture of clay, kaolin, danish flint and norwegian quartz. The first years, pottery with a simle decor were made, often transfer prints, inspired by other makers, magazines and so on. Eventually, the company developed a strong artistic profile, and were associated with artists like Kitty Kielland, Jacob Sømme (who designed one of their most iconic products, the Puffin jug), Oluf Wold-Torne, Andreas Schneider, Andreas Ollestad, Jacob Bjorheim and Theodor Friestad. Alongside everyday household products, they also made more prestigious pieces, like enormous vases for exhibitions (you can see an example in this post, a large art nouveau piece from 1910 by Andreas Ollestad). 

The factory burned down in 1905, but was rebuilt in 1907 with bigger capacity and electrical power. It expanded profoundly in 1950 to meet the demands of the post- war years, and the work force were close to 500. The harsh demands of mass production eventually forced them to join forces with other companies. In 1967, the factory merged with Porsgrunds Porselænsfabrik, from 1975- 77 they were owned by Arabia and from 1978 by Upsala- Ekeby, until they were closed down in 1979. To my understanding, they produced locally under their own brand until the end.

For more than 132 years, the factory produced a wide variety of designs, that shows the various trends within the art- and design world during that period, from the brown household pottery, to elaborate art nouveau pieces, cutting edge art deco and early modernist designs and the "golden age" of scandinavian pottery, the nation- building post- war years. Many examples are shown in the wonderful Egersund pottery museum, have a look over here.

I keep thinking what other great designs they could have made if they weren't closed down. But I guess, as we can see with Figgjo, which is still up and running, the market changed, the import increased and they have generally been faced with more competition and new demands. What was produced at Figgjo after the 70s and early 80s has not by far reached the same iconic status as their earlier designs, and they have concentrated on the professional market, restaurants, hotels and cruise ships.  Luckily, there's still quite a bit of their designs from those golden years out there for us to enjoy!

PS. I've linked up with Max over at Blackbird has spoken for her Op shop Show- off! Head on over to behold some lovely thrifted stuff!

21 comments:

  1. Oh...the bottoms of the cup and the pitcher! I love that.

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  2. Fantastic Tove! What an amazing collection you now have.

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    1. Thank you so much, Francine! I seriously need to cool it a bit... How many tea sets does a girl really need?

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  3. Jeg drikker hver dag kaffe af min (ene) Unique kop. Der er så meget solskin over det design, men også unikt design. Formen er samtidig elegant. Sammen med Solsikke stellet er det da en ren fest!

    /Birgitte

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    1. Så hyggelig at du drikker kaffen av en norsk kopp hver dag:-) Man blir i godt humør av å starte dagen med de fargene, jeg har byttet litt om i skuffene, så nå er det Unique og Korulen som er med til morgenmaten hver dag! De setter liksom stemningen:-)

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  4. I've never seen orange and brown together look less garish or retro-these are really classy. I love the long feet on the unique cups and jugs and the glassy glaze.
    Importation pressures were the death knell for studio pottery in NZ in the 70-80's too, prior to that everyone had home grown, mostly hand made pottery in their houses here (also mainly in brown!).
    Thanks for providing a history, 'll be so excited if I chance upon one on my travels!

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    1. Thank you so much, Max, I'm so thrilled you like them!! I agree that the long feet or high base give the Unique cups character, and that's also where you really see the paint strokes. I'm almost surprised that the color combo doesn't make them look more garish. I'm glad you agree about that:-) It's really interesting to hear how parallel the story of the New Zealand potteries is to ours. I've never come across any pottery from NZ or Australia over here, that would really be something!!

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  5. Heia Tove, du må også begynne på lenke på The Nifty Thrifty -postene til http://www.alivingspace.com/

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    1. Hei:-)
      Å, den visste jeg ikke om! Takk for tipset, må inn og kikke:-)

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  6. Ja, skulle vi ikke ønske at vi hadde et stort kjøkken med masse skapplass slik at vi kunne ta med oss hjem alt det flotte serviset vi kommer over og som andre har kastet ut! Biter oss i leppa og går ofte med faste skritt og tungt sinn fra de fleste av disse servisene. Ser dessuten av og til på "syke samlere" for å minne oss selv på hvordan det kan ende hvis vi ikke greier å stå imot fristelsene :-)
    Hilsen Pep og Salt

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    1. Uff ja, det er mange smertefulle øyeblikk hvor man bare må ta til fornuften og forlate åstedet... Jeg prøver å bli mer selektiv og kjøpe bare det jeg virkelig liker, nettopp med tanke på at det hoper seg opp....
      Syke samlere har jeg visst ikke fått med meg, kanskje jeg burde? Skrekk og advarsel?

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  7. Oj oj vilken underbar samling du har! Jag länkade just inlägget till en finsk samlare, hoppas det är okej. Jag hade några delar av Unique som jag sålde till henne. Tycker att dom är så fina, men man måste ju göra sej av med någonting. Nu satsar jag på Sera istället

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    1. Tusen takk! Så hyggelig å ha deg tilbake:-) Selvfølgelig er det ok at du har linket til innlegget mitt! Jeg ble litt nyfiken, er det en fin blogg man burde vite om? Jeg har altfor mange serviser nå, men klarer ikke å kvitte meg med noe.... Så hyggelig at du samler på Sera fra min hjemby:-) Jeg er også veldig glad i Sera, både fargene og mønsteret!

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    2. Hon bloggar inte , bara samlar. Hon köper en hel del på Facebook, det är där jag kommit i kontakt med henne. Jo, det har blivit väldigt lite blogg pä sista tiden, livet tar över ibland. Men jag hoppas att det blir mera i höst =) Ha det så bra!

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    3. Liver er tross alt det viktigste:-) Ha det så bra du også, ha en herlig helg!

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