A Potted History – West German Pottery

Sometimes referred to as Fat Lava, German Art Pottery and sometimes studio pottery, West German Pottery, after years of being ignored by collectors and interior lovers, is finally having it’s day in the sun!

You’ll often know a West German piece when you see it, they can be quite sculptural, often donned in wacky, bold colours or the other end of the scale, sporting the colour of choice from the 70’s, yep you guessed it brown! You’ll also see a good number of them covered in a thick lava-like glaze dripping down the sides, this is known as Fat Lava.

You could be forgiven for thinking they should be perhaps banished to a retro Room 101 but you would be SOO wrong. West German Ceramics are massively underrated and, if you get in there quick, the prices are still really reasonable. WGP had its first heyday during the 50’s and then during the 60’s and 70’s saw a second boom in popularity. Since the 1990’s interest has slowly been building once again.

West German Pottery has an amazing history. After the war, Germany was split into ‘country zones’ US, Soviet Union, UK and France but in 1949, just four years after the end of World War II, it adopted the name West Germany and really quickly rebuilding not just it’s pottery industry but its whole economy, it was known as Wirtschaftswunder or the Miracle on The Rhine. Germany had an abundance of skilled workers and this is where West German Pottery began. At one stage there were over 100 factories and smaller pottery studios. Scheurich, Carstens, Bay, ES, and Dümler & Breiden were the most prolific producers but there were other producers that made in much smaller numbers, look out for pieces by Roth, Marei and Ceramano.

Information about some makers and pieces is sketchy, for example not much is known about some of the artists from smaller potteries, but new information is being uncovered all the time. It’s one of the really exciting things about collecting WGP. You could pick up a small piece for a few pounds only to discover a few years later, it’s actually made by an artist that’s now really collectable!

Browse our collection of West German Pottery for sale