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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fat lava

For quite some time I've been fascinated by brightly colored West German pottery, but I'd never taken time to read about it till my SIL brought some home from an estate sale over the weekend. A cursory search turned up some websites that seemed promising, so I returned to them today for a closer look.

The term "fat lava" is believed to have started as an imprecise translation of "thick lava," describing the heavy, lava-like glaze on some West German pottery. However, it has evolved over time to be an accepted name for a certain type of West German pottery made from the 1950s to the 1970s, which may or may not have the lava glaze.

Mark Hill, the author of Fat Lava (West German Ceramics of the 1960s and 70s), is the expert most often mentioned on the sites I visited. Some of the leading manufacturers were Roth Keramik, Scheurich, Ruscha, Jasba, Dümler & Breiden and Bay.

From,,, - H is for home photostream

This stuff is so much fun! Just looking at it makes me smile. I think I'm going to have to be on the lookout for more of it, as well learn much more about it.


  1. I fell in love with this stuff the same time I fell in love with mid-century pottery, and was curious about the different types of "fat lava". The kind with the little pops or holes in the firing process in particular.

    I wonder if they differentiate the different types of fat lava in the book?

    Was able to buy a few small pieces with "fat lava" but I wish I could get more!

  2. Great examples of amazing stuff. ~ Jenny

  3. Like Jenny said: great samples. I haven't seen such bold examples of West German pottery. I have seen "softer" versions, kind of like the vase I used as a prop in my post about the felted bead necklace I DIY'd. Now I am going to keep my eye out yard saling for more colourful pieces.

  4. Silly me - commented while signed in with a different google account. Sigh. Computers. Both Tanyas are this Tanya, :)

  5. Love them! Haven't seen any in person, but now I know what to keep an eye out for. I think they have a distinct Tiki vibe.