Fat Lava – the hot collecting area in retro/vintage ceramics and the subject of a recent exhibition and book – is the name used to describe the thick, crusty and downright crazy lava glazed pots, more usually from West Germany during the 1960s and 1970s.
If, like me, you’re old enough to remember back that far you’ll recall having seen these vases sitting on shelves and fireplaces in almost every living room looking very… well… brown, but the reality is that they came in a huge range of colours and styles from the sludgy browns that many of us remember to the fabulously bright oranges, reds and blues and in styles that range wildly from honest and earthy to loud and psychedelic. Many are one-offs with no single style, colour, finish or shape – the sky’s the limit and there’s something to suit every taste and interior (they look amazing in contemporary interiors which positively encourage them to scream their individuality out loud).
Just a few years ago you could pick up a nice crusty German pot for pennies and a derisory ‘are you mad?’ type glance from the stallholder at a boot sale or charity shop – not anymore, nowadays they’re, quite rightly, commanding higher prices – especially those with particularly thick glazes, bright colours, iconic shapes or from the major manufacturers. Fortunately for collectors, however, they’re still very much an acquired taste with some people probably never acquiring the taste at all – so bargains, although becoming thin on the ground, can still be had. Fat Lava – the new Clarice Cliff? Only time will tell.
For a wide and varied selection of great quality retro ceramics online visit Pips Trip who have some amazingly groovy and iconic examples of West German ceramics for sale from some of the major manufacturers of the period (with free UK postage).
And make sure you get your grubby mitts on a copy of Mark Hill’s truly excellent book Fat Lava. Buy one direct – Mark will also personally sign and dedicate your copy if asked.
All images © Pips Trip. Not to be reproduced without permission.