The Jean Elton Heritage Collection consists of one-of a kind and original works that were made at various times over the now-40 year history of Jean Elton. Each has a story which is alluded to here. None of these pieces are currently being produced.
Although these pieces are intended as decoration, unless otherwise noted, they are safe for use with food.
Please contact the Studio with any questions about the Heritage Collection.
Wheel-thrown and slab built bowl, circa 1974.
This is the first piece that the principals of Jean Elton ever created. Bill threw on the potter's wheel the bowl base and Lois coiled the top. This was made in the ceramic shop of Ft Sill, OK.
Three part, thrown vase, circa 1974.
This is the second piece ever created as a collaboration between the principals of Jean Elton. It was executed at the ceramic shop at Ft Sill, OK. It consists of two bowls sealed together, topped with a third vase fused with the bowls beneath.
Wheel-thrown vase, circa 1974.
This was one of the earliest pieces thrown by the principals of Jean Elton. One classic principle of throwing is to avoid a straight profile. Even when the overall shape was to have essentially a rectangular profile and therefore straight sides, it is much more pleasing to have slight bowing in either direction. This simple vase evidences that principle.
Pit-fired Vessel, circa 1987.
Coming home one day Bill notices smoke emanating form the back yard. Alarmed, he asked Lois what was going on. Lois calmly replied that she had dug a hole and was pit firing some pottery. This piece is the last remaining one from that firing. Approximately 14" in diameter.
Wheel-Thrown Fish Vase, circa 1983.
Inspired by Bernard Leach's fish pot, this piece was thrown on the wheel in Northern Virginia at a local recreation center. A crowd had gathered to observe the rather tall piece (about 18") being thrown. A gasp went through the crowd as the piece was distorted into an oval-like shape. Many years previous to making this piece, the Jean Elton owners visited the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to view Bernard Leach's fish pot. We were told that in addition to the one we were viewing there, there was a copy in a private collection. A few years later, we were touring the British countryside visiting British potters, including Bernard Leach. While there, it was suggested that we visit the great potter's next door neighbor. Thinking this strange, we nevertheless did so and to our amazement, when we were ushered into the living room for a chat, the other Leach fish pot was nonchalantly positioned on the table in the corner next to the lamp.
Raku Bowl, circa 1979.
Raku has a long, interesting history, one that cannot even be fairfly summarized here. But in its American manifestation, the ceramic artist removes the work from the hot kiln and plunges it into organic material like sawdust and then covers the container to starve the ensuing flames of oxegen, thereby producing a beautiful dark overtone (referred to a "reduction" in ceramic art circles). This piece was made in Quechee, VT but almost caused the home in which the Barkers were living and which housed the first Jean Elton Gallery to burn down. Once this piece was in its reduction container, the artists left it just outside the lower level of the home/gallery/studio and went upstairs to have lunch. Shortly, however, the Barkers noticed flames outside the kitchen window that were stretching all the way up from the bottom floor. Apparently the pressure created in the reduction chamber caused the lid to pop off and the flame started to burn strongly. Fortunately, there was no damage to the home and the piece turned out well. One of the few remaining Raku pieces executed by Jean Elton.
Early Sailvase, circa 2006.
This is one of the early sailvases created before the current decorative theme was established. See "How We Made..." (Main Website Navigation) for information on how this shape was originally made. Glaze by Alan Dodd, a friend of the Studio who works with us from time to time.
Early Sail Vase, circa 2006.
This was one of a few original sailvases executed before the current decorative theme was established. See "How We Made..." (Main Website Navigation) for information on how this shape was originally made.
Slap-made bowl with floral design, circa 2007.
Prior to using slipcast methods, Jean Elton made large bowls using "hump molds" over which slabs of clay were layered. A standard kitchen rolling pin with a router-created design was rolled across the top to create the rim.
Slab Vase with Impressions, circa 2001.
Prior to using slipcast methods, Jean Elton made large bowls using "hump molds" over which slabs of clay were layered. A standard kitchen rolling pin with a router-created design was rolled across the outside of this piece to create the outer design.
Wheel-thrown and alterned plate, circa 1984.
This and the "fish pot" mark the beginning of distorting of work for design purposes. This piece was thrown and (electric) fired at the local recreation center in Springfield, VA. It is about 12" in diameter.
Wheel thrown plate, circa 1985.
This piece was thrown and (electric) fired at the local recreation center in Springfield, VA. It is about 12" in diameter.
Hump Mold Bowl on Pedestal, circa 2002.
Prior to using slipcast methods, Jean Elton made large bowls using "hump molds" over which slabs of clay were layered. A standard kitchen rolling pin with a router-created design was rolled across the ouside to create the outer design. The top was then scalloped and the entire piece turned upside down so that a foot could be thrown on the bottom.
Wheel-thrown bowl, circa 2006.
The throwing marks in this bowl (about 10" in diameter) are remarkable uniform over which the glaze "breaks" into a beautiful display of rich colors. This glaze is no longer used by Jean Elton
Original Disk Pitcher, circa 1982.
This is the original disk pitcher. The disk pitcher is the best-selling Jean Elton product ever. This original work was produced as a class project for Lois's class at the University of Hartford (CT). It was produced by throwing two similar plates and fusing them together and slicing off sections to create the foot and the spout after which a pulled handle was added. The piece is about 10" high and is decorated with a glaze no longer used by Jean Elton. While the piece is meant for decoration, it is perfectly safe for use.
Wheel-thrown teapot, circa 1977.
This teapot (about 6" high) was created in Erlenback, Germany. The Jean Elton principals began using the name Jean Elton while living there. Having become friends with Wilhelm and Elle Kuch and some of their apprentices, the Kuchs were kind enough to allow Jean Elton to use some of their proprietary clay, from which this teapot is made.
Wheel-thrown bowl, circa 1975.
This bowl has a base glaze with the top dipped in a glaze with a complementary color that tends to create an outline at the intersection between the two glazes. It is one of the pieces made in Germany from clay kindly provided by Wilhelm and Elle Kuch.
Decorative Wheel Thrown Bowl, circa 1988.
This bowl, approximately 6" in diameter, exhibits all the classic attributes of a strong wheel-thrown shape: uniform, bold throwing marks and visual lightness with a narrow, footed base. The glaze, while chosen for its ability to "break" into different shades over the throwing marks, is NOT safe for use with foods.
Wheel-thrown and assembled teapot, circa 1981.
This classic, yet bowl tea pot (about 6" in height) was thrown and assembled by hand.
Pinch pot with wheel-thrown spout, circa 1981.
While Lois made a few of these, this small vase (approximately 5" high) is one of the only Jean Elton pinch pots remaining from the early 80's. The basic shape is created by pinching two bowls and putting them together, throwing a top and fusing all the parts together with slip. The texture is created by impressed with a straw-like tool. The piece is then glazed, but the external layer of the glaze is rubbed off leaving the glaze to accumulate in the impressions, while on most of the surface, the now very thin glaze acts as a stain. The top is dipped in a lighter glaze for contrast.
Pit-fired style bowl, circa 1988.
This bowl (about 8" in diameter) was fired in the 21 cubic foot kiln in the Studio's current location in Fairfield, CT shortly after the kiln was installed. Influenced by Paul Soldner, we stacked several pieces randomly into the kiln and loaded it with branches of trees that had dropped on the lawn after a storm. The randomness of the stacking and the organic nature of branches combine to create the spontaneous designs that this piece exhibits. The problem is that the process entails lots of smoke and rather displeasing oders, causing neighbors to complain. Not wanting to be bad neighbors, we only fired the kiln once that way and this is the only bowl that survives from that occasion.
Ceramic bust on wooden pedestal, circa 1979.
This is the only ceramic bust ever made by either of the original principals of Jean Elton. It was made to commemorate the following:
Spending a few years (1978 – 1980) in the Hanover, NH region while Bill attended business school, we got to know Ann Margolis who was the chairperson of the local ceramic art society. We made ceramic work with her and got to know her husband also, who, interestingly enough was a dermatology physician who had something to do with the treatment of the famous novelist John Updike for his psoriasis at Massachusetts General Hospital. Updike had recently published in the New Yorker Magazine a short story called “From the Journal of a Leper” that described a potter with psoriasis who specialized in creating very smooth ceramic work. As the potter was treated, and his skin began to heal, he unconsciously began making the surfaces of his work much more rough. Dr Margolis told this story to us because he had noticed over the two years we worked with his wife, that Lois -- a petite woman -- had started out making small objects, but was increasingly -- as she gained confidence in her skills -- making larger and larger objects. Even today, Lois eschews making smaller things, wanting instead to make a statement. The exception, ironically, is this sculpture, which is only about 4" high.
Wheel-thrown vase, circa 1988.
This vase, approximately 8" in height, exhibits all the classic attributes of a strong wheel-thrown shape: uniform, bold throwing marks and visual lightness with a narrow, footed base. Also, consistent with one classic principle of throwing which is to avoid a straight profile, this piece reflects that principle with a pleasing, slightly concave profile. The glaze, while chosen for its ability to "break" into different shades over the throwing marks, is NOT safe for use with foods.
Pair of wheel-thrown tumblers, circa 1975.
These tumblers (about 8" tall) were made with in Germany with the clay body kindly provided by Wilhelm and Elle Kuch, after we had come to know them and some of their apprentices.
Wheel-thrown pitcher, circa 1975.
This small pitcher (approximately 5" high) is blistered from being fired too high in one of the first firings of the new kiln that was purchased in the US and shipped to Germany in the mid-70s. While the glaze is safe for food use, it is not recommended for this piece due to the difficulty in cleaning.
Wheel-thrown teapot set, circa 1977.
This teapot set (the teapot is about 4" high) was made in Germany from the very plastic clay kindly provided by Wilhelm and Elle Kuch, well known ceramic artists from Germany.
Set of 14 Punch Mugs, circa 1983.
This set of mugs (each about 3" high) was made in the first and only kiln ever constructed by Jean Elton, which was in Simsbury, CT. Each is dipped in only one glazed, but since each is dipped more than once, the thicker portions of the glaze create a contrast to the base color.