Friday, November 21, 2008

New American Modern



If you’re reading this, you probably got here by way of the Bauer Pottery home page. If that’s the case, you may have already seen the very exciting announcement that Bauer Pottery has partnered with Russel Wright Studios and Annie Wright, Russel’s daughter, to reproduce a collection of pottery based on Russel’s American Modern line.

The only bad news here is that all you fans of Bauer Pottery and Russel Wright won’t be able to get any pieces in your hot little hands until Spring of 2009. The announcement is a lot like one of those movie trailers you saw in the theatre last June that ends with “Opens Christmas Day” or worse “Coming Summer 2009.”

Well to fill the time between next Spring and now, we’ll be posting up some stories and images of the line as it’s being developed. You’ll get an early look at the designs and colors won’t be in stores for another four months.

If this is the first you’re hearing about the new Russel Wright collaboration with Bauer, what we can say so far is that the line will consist of thirteen pieces in four classic colors: Chartreuse, coral, seafoam and granite. We’ll be working hard to match the new glazes to that of the vintage line and you’ll get to see some of that process here.

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To kick off this journey, let’s take a look at some of the earliest steps in the process of creating reproductions from vintage pieces. The first pictures show both original pieces and early steps in the models of the sugar bowl and creamer.

Russel Wright American Modern
Vintage Russel Wright American Modern Creamer on the left and the model for the reproduction emerging from the block of plaster on the right.

Russel Wright American Modern
Vintage Russel Wright American Modern Sugar Bowl sans lid and beginnings of a model of same.


Our model maker uses the original pieces as a guide as he crafts the new models from a block of plaster.

In the following pictures are models for the pitcher and the lid to the sugar bowl. The new models are made about 8-10% larger than the size we want them to turn out, in order to accommodate for shrinkage in the drying and firing phases.

Russel Wright American Modern
Model for a new American Modern Pitcher and a vintage American Modern Pitcher. It's a little hard to see, but take note that the model is solid, not hollow like a finished piece. The pieces that will be slip cast, do not need to be hollow, but more on that when we get to casting pieces.

Russel Wright American Modern
A vintage Creamer, next to the model for a new Sugar Bowl lid, next to a vintage Sugar Bowl lid


The finished models are then used to make the master mold from which the first samples are made. Any adjustments to the model can be made at that time before making the block and case. We'll get you some pictures of this part of the process and post them up next time.

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Coming up: Slip Casting, Pressing, Greenware, Bisque Firing, Glazing and more!

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