In Part I, I introduced three different types of pottery, and how each is made. Part II will discuss the aesthetics of art deco pottery, including the use of shape, color, texture, design, glaze and paint, and how these artistic elements reflect the trends of the day.

COLORS

White (the most popular), light yellow, beige, icy blues (the most fashion-forward and mod — the infamous seafoam blue makes many appearances!).  I’ve found quite a bit of black as well as metallic gray and red.

SHAPE and TEXTURE
Geometric, angular, uniform, mathematical, graduated, concentric.  Modern and simple, not over-designed.  Each art deco vase contains one or two artistic themes that are repeated or reflected throughout the piece. (PIC)
Smooth surfaces seem to be the norm — polished, high gloss. This reflects the wide use of glass and shiny metal used in architecture during the Great Depression. I’ll discuss gloss later in this article.
Acid Etching — a process used by famous makers such as Lalique, Tiffany, and Daum (among others).  Acid etching involves introducing a particular type of acid to a surface to cause a “reaction”.  This reaction affects everything it touches, so artists usually covered the parts they wanted to remain in the original color with a wax pattern.  This creates different effects and, ultimately, the surface design of the material. (PIC)
“Crackling” — an effect created with paint and a reactant, seen often nowadays on wooden furniture and mirrors. The surface appears to be “cracked”, and was then glazed to protect the pottery. Artisans used this technique with art deco glass as well.
PAINT
as is evident in the wall paintings of the modern art deco period, some artists painted avant garde shapes and lines on pottery vases. Any painting directly placed on the pottery had to be covered with a protective glaze. Depending on the artist, painted pottery pieces can fetch a handsome amount at auction, given their individuality, although some replica designs were mass-produced.

GLAZE
Most pottery pieces shine with a high-gloss glaze.  Research indicates that the most popular 1920’s and 1930’s high-gloss glaze was a bright tin-enamel. As an interesting side note, modern-day high-gloss glazes are sold as “deco” glazes.

Whether painted or geometric, high-gloss black or shiny seafoam, art deco pottery can contain a myriad of stylistic elements and exhibit artisan techniques, offering modern-day art deco connoisseurs chances to purchase or admire one-of-a-kind vases.

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