How I became a fat lava lover (or not?)


Until last year that was how I percepted a German ceramic “thing”.

I, the design lover. Everything in my home must be a thing of beauty (and a joy for ever). Nothing less than the major designers of the twentieth century. Architecture and interior design are my passion. German ceramic pottery wasn’t, I felt almost disgust by looking at it. Memories of a narrow minded world and my wonder years in the seventies. The image of houses where I never wanted to live or die in.

Until last year.

At the request of the Dutch museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the artist Marieke Van Diemen designed an installation where a large collection West Germany vases were presented as a large autonomous work of art.

How becomes an everyday object a desirable item? The serial production of the vases and the sometimes minor differences in colour and detail are aspects that are reflected in Van Diemens installation. Marieke van Diemen shows that the way in which objects are shown have a decisive influence on the perception and appreciation.

When I entered the exhibition room I had mixed feelings. The effect of the overcrowded shelves was overwhelming, but simultaneously I felt the repulsion I had for so many years. It was not possible that I could even ike this?! I remained a long time in the room. The impression of Van Diemens work and especially not knowing exactly what to think about it, send me back again later. Van Diemen succeeded in her intent. I could not dislike this work of art. I even became fond of it.

During the next six months German ceramics grew on me. In my numerous visits to second hand shops and flea markets I looked out for them. I asked myself every time whether I would buy them or not. Always, I hesitated and I didn’t. Ugly. But four months ago, I bought the first one. I am drawn more and more to them. In groups they are fabulous. And they give an incredibly warm bohemian effect in a cool modern concrete living space.

Yet every day there is doubt. One day I still think they are ugly. The next day, I love them. And I wonder which side the balance will tilt.

Meanwhile, I have nine of them.

I will present them on this blog the next days. And whenever I’m buying a new one, I will add it.

Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.



  1. Welcome fellow fat lava lover (or not). I am sure you and your pottery will develop a long and fulfilling relationship!

  2. Fat Lava 4 ever! visit

  3. The reality is that the term West German pottery is far too broad because it covers decades of production by 90 or more companies. A lot of it really is ugly. Some of it looks ugly until you spend time with it. Some is simply beautiful. While the glazes make a big difference, a lot of the difference is in proportions, often very subtle. Many of the designers from that work deserve to be major, known names and probably will be eventually. Kurt Tschörner, Gerhart Otto, Cari Zalloni, Hanns Welling, Cilli Wörsdorfer, Gerda Heuckeroth, Trude Carstens and many others come to mind.

    Think of every other field you’re interested in and already know about, and you’ll realize that within those fields the quality ranges from poor to marvelous, with most of the work in the middle. It’s the same with WGP, and as with the other fields it takes time to find enough things to look at to start getting a sense of the differences.
    GinFor’s Odditiques

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