A Sweet Owl Flower Frog by MCM Ceramic Artist Howard Pierce
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I have spent this entire week scouring thrift stores and flea markets for vintage pieces to feature here at Faedra! One of my favorite pieces came from a flea market – this sweet owl perched atop a rock. This ceramic sculpture is by the famous mid-century artist Howard Pierce. When I flipped the owl over, I discovered an artist mark. Likely from decades of vintage hunting with my mom and grandma, I knew the name Howard Pierce was one to inspire excitement, although, I had no idea what a rad human he was until I did some more research.
Howard Pierce’s Life and Art in California’s Desert
Howard Pierce lived in Southern California and was a mover and shaker in the ceramics trade during the mid-century California pottery boom. Before seeking out the California sunshine, Pierce spent his early years in cold Chicago. After moving to California to get an education, Pierce became an avid apprentice to ceramicist William Manker. The artist learned the pottery trade during a time period that saw many great California pottery artists and companies turn iconic. These prolific California artists sought to satisfy America’s mid-century hunger for beautiful ceramics. Eventually, Pierce left his employment with Manker and struck out on his own to explore his own creativity and inspirations and to add his name to the list of top California ceramicists.
In the 1960s, Howard Pierce and his wife Ellen purchased a 20-acre piece of property in Joshua Tree, California. They subscribed to California’s early desert bohemian culture – a trend that is still going strong today! The couple found inspiration in the landscape and the animals who came to visit their home. Pierce added to the local scenery by creating sculptures of animals to adorn the property. In addition to the inspiring sculptures at his home, one can still find statues at local Joshua Tree landmarks, such as the hospital. Next time I find myself in the area, I promise to bring you pictures! Until then, you can see the pictures of his installations posted on a site maintained by his family.
Are you as inspired by Howard Pierce’s love of art and nature? I have put together a list of some of my favorite pieces available on the market. If you click on an item’s caption, you will find its home on the web.
Did you enjoy reading Howard Pierce’s story? Do you own one of his sculptures? Tell me about it in the comment section below!
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