Antiques Column with Michael Dowse
This week for a change we find ourselves in America and with a charming and exciting married couple who created a name for themselves in the ceramic world from the 1940s onwards.
Edwin and Mary Scheier were ceramicists and they met and married in Virginia in 1937, forming a very successful partnership both personally and professionally.
Both were artists in their own right; Mary having studied at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts as well as the Grand Central School of Art in Paris and Edwin having been a student of the New York School of Industrial Arts. However it was their ceramics that would eventually win them national acclaim and invitations to teach at the University of New Hampshire and this was essentially self-taught.
They were both talented and experimental and challenged boundaries and ideas within the art world, embracing the Modern Art movement of the mid-20th century, even digging up their own red clay for some of their pieces. Their partnership in ceramics saw Mary’s talent for wheel-thrown pots and Edwin’s flair for glazes and unusual design combine perfectly to produce outstanding results working both independently and collaboratively.
Mary became known for her elegant and thin-walled vessels, usually smaller pottery and often functional ware, while Edwin was known for the larger, sculptural and more experimental pieces. He was constantly trialling different glazes most noticeably in soft shades such as pinks, blues, greens and purples and the images were often simple incised, line drawings. The themes of their work were largely based around primitive and biblical imagery. They were exploring human behaviour from Adam and Eve, birth, temptation to protection, motherhood and coupling with some of the designs showing people within people, womb-like or within animals.