Colorado Gallery

Early Garden of the Gods Pottery

#68 2013-11-03

Most of our Garden of the Gods Pottery this time was made before Eric Hellman began ceramics research for the Navy in 1943.

This early work didn't spare many finishing touches that gave character to the pottery. It was often thrown, signed and had glazed or lacquered interiors.

After the war Garden of the Gods Pottery, including Hellman Pottery was usually just ink stamped and molded with fewer processing steps.

This large decorative plate is a stunning example of Eric Hellman's skill as a potter. The two pound ten ounce piece has a beautiful green dry matte glaze front with a caramel brown under-glaze showing through (click).

The signed back appears to be glazed twice with a caramel as well as a darker brown glaze (click). We believe, however, it was processed differently as follows:

The plate was thrown and bisque fired before glazed caramel brown overall. Hellman then signed the back with a potters' pen, applied a clear glaze at the center over his signature and a green front-side glaze. Then the second lower cone glaze firing was done.

The clear glaze would thus darken the caramel into the brown you see at the center.

At some point the runny first glaze at the underside contact edge was ground flat, and the plate was left with a protected signature.

The next thrown vase has a lovely iridescent blue and gunmetal-like streaky glaze. Similarly signed in Hellman's flourished manner, it's bottom is lacquered much like Broadmoor Pottery.

The 1930s-era ink stamp described by Lee with its "Colorado Springs" component, looks to be underneath the shellac.

Next we reshow a handled vessel from an earlier article. The faint Colorado Springs ink stamp is also 1930s-era, this time with an added inner ring (click). Check out the beautiful streaky glaze (click).

We're partial to old ashtrays and this one is a favorite. Thrown with a dark green glaze; probably 1930s again with a Broadmoor-esque lacquered bottom.

This beautiful dated swirl was probably one of the last Hellman pieces before his war years. May 1941. Thrown with a lacquered interior.

This thrown bowl has a clear glaze applied over the light brown clay body inside, and painted with nice reds, blues and blacks out.

"Colorado Springs" is again the tell for GOG's earlier period.

This bowl is very similar. As before, looking at the irregular unglazed and unpainted rim, it is a thrown piece with a brown clay body.

However the interior and bottom show the bowl was probably glazed white before any finishing touches were applied. The interior has a second clear glazed inside with attractive red, yellow and blue swirl paints out. The bottom is left white.

Our final piece is a rarer pine cone mold ware vase with Hellman's swirl paint finish and incised signature. Ink stamped no 042 it also has a lacquered interior.

The 1930s era stamp shows up slightly better with a blowup of the bottom (click). Also our two shots in a different light better show the bottom and pine cone impressions.

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