Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

A Life Full of Colour

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

A Life Full of Colour

Article excerpt

Byline: Lesley Apps

CLARICE Cliff (1899-1972) is arguably the most famous name in British Art Deco ceramics, well-known for her colourful and innovative designs, which are hotly sought after among collectors.

Prices can range from around $100 to the tens of thousands, so if you ever see a piece for a few dollars, grab it, even if it's chipped, but beware of fakes as there are plenty of those out there in eBay land etc.

I first came across a Clarice Cliff piece at an Ulmarra antique shop a a salt and pepper set. It had a flaw of some sort, possibly a crack and so the $60 price tag seemed a lot particularly as it was almost 20 years ago. Still, I should have grabbed it as those colourful a[approximately]Bizarre' patterned sets are worth several hundred dollars today, even with the damage.

Clarice spent almost her whole life in ceramics. She was born in Tunstall, England, and left school at 13 to become an apprentice painter at the Lingard Webster Pottery in her hometown, and by 17 was attending night courses at the Burslem School of Art.

In 1927 she was studying sculpture at the Royal Academy of Art and was given her own studio at the Newport pottery factory by her future husband Colley Shorter. The factory was housing a large amount of low quality, poorly glazed wares so Clarice began covering the pieces with a bold, but simple triangular pattern a this was the first of her famous Bizarre wares. The designs became an immediate sensation and she followed with her most successful and longest running pattern, Crocus, one of the more affordable designs on the market today. It was entirely hand-painted and vibrantly coloured with flowers between brown and yellow bands.

Clarice's unusual shapes and angular designs managed to cleverly fuse nature with the abstract lines of the Art Deco period and they were as functional as they were beautiful. …

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