09 June 2013

Lava Lovers Bowl - Glit

The terms "Lava" or "Fat Lava" is commonly applied to much mid-century West German pottery, even though there may be nothing much lava-like about it. This piece however you can certainly call lava because it uses real lava in the glaze!  I picked it up out of curiosity from an auction a few weeks ago.




At first I was misreading the markings on this bowl as GHP and couldn't read if it was Ireland or Iceland ..but as there was nothing Irish looking about it at all, I did a search for "Lava Bowl GHP Iceland" and bingo! up came the maker.

I was misreading the GHP, which turns out to GLIT. It is a piece made by Glit Iceland which was founded by Ragnar Kjartansson  in 1958. A pottery which seems to have specialised in using Icelandic volcanic lava (pumice, rock, ash) in glazes on their pottery.

I found a short entry on Kjartannson on Wikipedia:

Ragnar Kjartansson (1923 - 1989) was an Icelandic sculptor. He was a member of the Icelandic Sculptors Society which he established in the Icelandic capital in 1972 along with Hallsteinn Sigurðsson, Jon Gunnar Árnason Þorbjörg Pálsdóttir and others. He was also the founder of Glit, Ltd., the only ceramic factory in the country. One of his works is located along the main road in Eskifjördur, commemorating the mariners who drowned at sea.


A search online will yield many very attractive looking pieces from this Icelandic Pottery.

The red in the centre of this largish bowl contrasts beautifully with the green outside, and really goes to make it look like a piece of molten lava cooling down.








8 comments:

  1. That is a really spectacular piece.

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    1. Thanks Dana!, thought you would like this one :)

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    1. Thanks Barry, quite a unique piece....havent come across the use of real lava until now :)

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  3. nice to see something from home on your site!

    this one has travelled far.
    They prizes here in Iceland for a Glit piece have gone up and they are very sought after if they are not chipped or broken.

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    1. Yes, it has certainly travelled far....I often wonder about the journey these pieces have taken from their beginings.

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  4. Oh wow, it's spectacular!! I found a small Glit dish a little while ago, the kind with the mythical looking ornament in the middle and not so much lava (unless it's mixed in the clay...)
    It's such a thrill to find them, don't you think? They're a bit exotic:-) Even though we're almost neighbors, there hasn't been much pottery exchange. It's an amazing piece, Ray, thanks for sharing the information too!

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    1. Thanks tove, Yes amazing pieces.Ive never seen anyting quite like these.....hope to find more some day. I saw some spectacular looking ones online, and also some quite plain piece too. A great way of putting such a dominant Icelandic feature to artistic use :)

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