..... gallery old Issues references FYI inbox contact .....

Broadmoor Eric Hellman Swirl Pottery

no.024 2010-03-01

These vases were thrown by Eric Hellman while at Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. He developed the swirl finish painting technique in Minnesota, or maybe earlier in Denmark, before coming to the United States in 1929.

Michelle Lee (Nemadji "Indian" Pottery) relates an exchange between longtime employees Harold and Dorothy Wahlstrom. In the account the Wahlstoms use Hellman's "cold stripe" colorizing technique that he introduced to Namadji in 1929.

'We used Pittsburgh® Paint. I'd take a stick and dip it into the cans and the paint would drip onto the water and float.' ...

'We'd put a little vinegar in the water,' ... 'It would help the various colors of paint expand into each other. There were wide and narrow bands floating on the water.'

'Then Dorothy would blow onto the paint as it floated on the water. The paint would move outward, leaving a circle of clear water on the surface. She would then grab a vase and put it down into the clear water,' ...

'The paint would then move back to the middle of the washtub and adhere to the pot. She would then twist it slightly as she pulled the pot out of the tub.'

Both Broadmoor vases were painted using this "cold stripe" technique. Only the outsides have the swirl finish.

We wonder if Eric Hellman may have thrown, fired and finished these vases at his own studio. The brown clay is unusual for Broadmoor. In all other cases we know of Broadmoor pottery had a mostly white clay body.

Please contact us if you have insights on this or other topics. Thank you.