I used to be just lately visiting some household at their lake home in Vermont. It’s a Victorian “cottage” with ten bedrooms and a communal kitchen containing a treasure trove of classic dishes, glasses, and devices. Very similar to Carrie on Intercourse and the Metropolis, when she spies a pair of Manolo Blahniks, I stood on the door of the dish closet and sighed, “Hey, lover.”
Proper there, on a backside shelf, was a inexperienced bowl with white lotus leaves across the sides. Might it’s? Might I be within the presence of a Cathrineholm?
WHO WAS CATHRINEHOLM?
Good query. It would seem that it’s an individual’s title, however that’s not true. Cathrineholm (sure, it’s appropriate to write down that as one phrase, though some sellers checklist the model as “Catherineholm”) is the title of a factory in Norway that produced ironware and, later, enamel-coated bowls, pans, and different tableware.
The manufacturing facility opened in 1827 and solely made iron gadgets. In 1907, the enterprise pivoted to enamelware—iron items like pots and pans with a coating of painted enamel on the floor. Coating a chunk of iron with enamel includes taking bits of floor glass, including pigments and clay, and heating it till gritty liquid varieties. Artists apply the liquid to the floor of a cast-iron pan or one other vessel, which is then dried and fired to bond the coating to the metallic.
THAT FAMOUS LOTUS
The manufacturing facility produced enamel-coated gadgets for years, however its line of tableware with a minimalist lotus design put the corporate on the map within the Sixties. Two designers had been chargeable for the sample: Arne Clausen and Grete Prytz Kittelsen labored collectively to create the road. Clausen created the lotus leaf design that defines the look, whereas Kittelsen selected the styles and sizes of the plates, bowls, and different items.
Apparently, Kittelsen has stated she wasn’t a fan of the lotus design. Within the e-book Grete Prytz Kittelsen: The Artwork of Enamel Design, cited on Hammer & a Headband, Kittelsen said,
“I nonetheless don’t just like the sample used most incessantly on gadgets produced within the mid-Sixties, Lotus. Oh, God, how I fought in opposition to these lotus leaves then!”
Kittelsen is understood for the snowflake sample of merchandise that the manufacturing facility produced. The corporate made Dutch ovens, casseroles, and bowls with snowflakes across the rim in lots of the identical colours because the lotus bowls in order that house owners might coordinate their collections.
After all, being a Scandinavian product, the corporate made a fondue pot that followers of sizzling cheese and enjoyable gatherings snapped up. It was one other creation by Kittelsen, typically referred to as “Viking” or “Saturn,” and it echoed the favored atomic design aesthetic.
Private desire apart, the design grew to become iconic for example of Scandinavian and mid-century trendy minimalism.
MORE THAN BOWLS AND LOTUS LEAVES
Bowls produced by Cathrineholm are most likely essentially the most well-known merchandise to return out of the Norwegian manufacturing facility, however there are extra lotus-themed items to select from. These included plates, serving platters, pans, and occasional pots. The espresso pots are highly regarded with collectors and may be laborious to search out.
Whereas the lotus sample virtually outlined Cathrineholm within the mid-Sixties, the manufacturing facility did produce different traces. The “flag” bowls and plates had been widespread then and stay so with at the moment’s collectors. Nonetheless a minimalist design, the flag bowls are a bit more durable to search out however definitely worth the effort. The model additionally featured some stainless steel trays with enamel on the floor and stainless steel uncovered on the underside.
OTHER LOTUS DESIGNS
As with something as widespread because the Cathrineholm Lotus line, imitations got here alongside. An American firm, Deka Plastics in New Jersey, produced a set of bowls that weren’t the strong Cathrineholm enamelware however considerably lighter and cheaper plastic. Deka made tons of of plastic gadgets, many novelties like “Footsie Tootsie” mugs and pitchers which have their very own followings.
After staring on the bowl in my good friend’s dish closet, I requested if I might have a look at it. It was a light-weight plastic slightly than cast-iron with a ceramic coating. The marking on the underside learn “Deka,” and some research led me to the road of bowls and different gadgets with a lotus design.
The lotus design on the Deka bowls is barely completely different, however collectors should be conscious that the 2 manufacturers will not be the identical. Many public sale listings will present Deka merchandise as “Deka Cathrineholm.” Nonetheless, it’s necessary to notice that the Deka merchandise are “impressed by” or “designed to enhance” Cathrineholm items, and the manufacturing facility in Norway, which closed in 1972, didn’t produce or license them.
WorthPoint® spoke with Tara Besore, who publishes “Hammer & a Headband,” a weblog about her mid-century trendy residence and the way she retains the MCM vibe alive in her home. She talked concerning the distinction between Cathrineholm and Deka, telling us, “Deka made all kinds of whimsical plastic dishware within the USA, together with colourful bowls with the lotus sample. These antiques are usually a bit extra inexpensive than the genuine Cathrineholm enamelware from Norway, so Deka can provide a technique to begin or develop a lotus assortment on a price range.”
Tara’s weblog additionally cites another firms that supply lotus designs, similar to Lyngby Porcelain and a Danish firm, Lucie Kaas, that has labored with the household of lotus designer Arne Clausen to reissue dinnerware with the unique design.
Whether or not you’re searching for a Cathrineholm authentic lotus piece or some look-alike items, the clear traces and colours are textbook examples of Scandinavian-inspired model. Whereas my good friend’s bowl was not Norwegian enamelware, it was nonetheless enjoyable to find, particularly since one in every of my good friend’s aunt noticed me with it and stated, “I bear in mind getting that bowl for Mom’s Day, and after we downsized our home to a small condominium, I couldn’t half with it, so I introduced as much as the lake.”
That’s what I believe makes it priceless, not the model or the designer, however the historical past of 1 bowl that somebody couldn’t bear to surrender.
Brenda Kelley Kim lives within the Boston space. She is the writer of Sink or Swim: Tales From the Deep End of Everywhere and writes a weekly syndicated column for The Marblehead Weekly Information/Essex Media Group. When not writing or strolling her snorty pug Penny, she enjoys yard gross sales, flea markets, and badminton.
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