Saturday, June 17, 2006

Modern Masters: Meeting Mr. Wright, Part 2

I've posted before about Russel Wright. A lot of modernists are familiar with his work, but I've found only a few who are passionate about it. I am definitely one of the latter.

Wright's first mass-produced tabletop line, American Modern, was once the best-selling dinnerware of all time. It is prized by collectors, and for good reason. The forms are beautiful.

However, it tends to craze (a term for the vein-like lines that appear in some pottery over time) and therefore it really isn't advisable to use it on your table every day.

So, I collect Iroquois Casual China.

Iroquois Casual was launched by Russel Wright in the late 40's. It is extremely durable and can go from oven to table. I also put it in the microwave with no explosions or visible tumors.

I have three colors. Sugar White:

Avocado Yellow:

And Aqua (note the vintage photo):

(And a few pieces in oyster.)

We use the Sugar White every day. I've dropped the plates on the floor and not had them crack, break or chip. The stuff is very durable. I've put them into the oven cold, directly from the refrigerator. I've abused them in general.

I recently bought the teapot, which is one of my absolute favorite designs:

I also collect pieces from Wright's collection from Bauer, which was a very short-lived experiment in the mass-production of art pottery.

The pieces were produced in Bauer's Atlanta factory and while they were critically celebrated, not that many of them survived the kiln or made it to retail due to very heavy glazing that popped and cracked.

Check out Mr. Wright.


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