This is sparked by a conversation yesterday, but do you ever stop to reflect on the weird energy 1970s British ceramics and pottery had? I mean some REALLY weird stuff was going on.
I mean you don't think of tableware as 'subversive' it's kind of essential. And I am sure our parents either owned, or knew people who's household had at least some Hornsea stoneware on the sideboard.
Postwar ceramics industry took a lot of the 50s to shake off the lingering effects of ubiquitous 'Utility wares' and tried its best to cut loose in the psychedelic 60s.
But it was the 70s, tableware both found its feet but lost its mind at the same time. Picking really weird themes, for example owls....
So many damn owls.
And for some reason during the 70s, Owls and Cruet sets became intrinsically linked. Why?
Though the high water mark would be designer John Clappison's owl set created for Hornsea. 1,000s of households had pairs of Strigiforme eyes, observing mealtimes across the table.
And if your household avoided the owls then you were inevitably caught up by the mushrooms. And while no mycologist, I am sure those spotted ones are not for putting in your mouth...
Mushroom tea anyone?
One of the heavyweights* of 70s British ceramics were Derbyshire based company Denby.
Their wares looked like it had been beamed down from outer space!
*(if you've lifted a 70s Denby casserole dish, you will understand)
But with range names like Canterbury & Sherwood, there is a link to the English landscape and history that draws on odder energies.
With wonderful nominative determinism, the wonderfully named Midwinter Pottery was founded by William Robinson Midwinter in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent in 1910. Easilyone of the leaders in postwar tabelware fashions, in the 70s, it suddenly made a turn for the weird.
The Stonehenge range was designed by Roy Midwinter, and was decorated with designs created by Jessie Tate, Eve Midwinter. Released to market in 1972 it uncorked something bubbling in British Ceramic hind-brain...
The odd lump ‘oatmeal’ glaze were finished with hand-applied iron oxide banding, The burning orange sun seemed to chime with whatever was going on at the time in our troubled land.
Gaaah, now I'm all sad.
Anyway, Stonehenge was such a hit it was followed through the 1970s up with a Moon version, the Earth and 'Creation'
Portmerion pottery had already dipped a toe into the weird in the 60s, but it re released its popular Totem range with new cups in the 70s bearing bolder larger versions of the odd Shamanic-runic inspired markings.
One is the 'Vegvísir'An Icelandic magical stave rune To guide people through rough weather.

The other is for drinking mellow Birds Coffee out of.
Do you like me, year for that lost "folk mystery" of the 70s, national newspapers would run stories about UFO's, Leylines, Rennes le Chateau. With the publication of Paul Screeton's "Quicksilver Heritage" everyone's dad suddenly was having a go at dowsing in the back garden.
It seemed like everyone was looking for the Holy Grail in one way or another.
and before you can say "gnōthi seauton " Craft potters of the 70s were banging them out. Out of nowhere you couldn't move for medieval inspired pottery goblets!
I bet your house had a chipped pottery goblet that originated in the 70s. I know ours did. No one ever used it, and in fact I'm certain not anyone recalls buying it!

Roger and Doreen Birkett's Cornish Tremar Pottery, probably produced the high-water mark of the genre.
Tremar Pottery, were to be fair a classy act. For god's sake, even their Brown Sauce bottle, looks as though it was contains a potent salve brought from distant foreign lands by traders with gold in their ears.
Gah, even they couldn't avoid the ceramic owls though,
Honestly, WHAT GIVES?
Are 70s pottery owls a screen memory for our collective abduction by huge eyes grey Aliens back then?
In fact, let's not pursue the 'screen memory' thing any further, lest we open a mental door to whatever the Greenman-esque Celery face pots are blocking out!
And while we talk about forgetting stuff. Soup bowls with handles. They became a 'thing' in the UK around 1969, then around 1979 some kind of "Mandela Effect" event happened, And we all agreed never to mention them again.
As this wander through the tortured psycho-ceramic landscape of 1970s Britain has gone on longer than I anticipated, l give you (for a second time) the works of John Clappison. The designer who gave us coffee mugs adorned with angry fish, mermaids, witches, Nessie
And of course owls*

* ᴀʟɪᴇɴꜱ
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