Monday, August 12, 2019

The Andersen Design Brand- An New American Evolution in the Making.




Rare One of A Kind Heron Sculpture by Weston Neil Andersen is being offered as part of our estate sale of  rare vintage work - a funding project for a new production and training facility for Andersen Design

Pictured above is a very rare heron sculpture, hand decorated by Weston. It would be an engaging creative project to produce the heron as a limited edition series working in collaboration with talented artisans creating unique redititions.

Alas, we do not have a fully functioning production facility. We need to fund one. We have the line and we have the brand, unique assets that came about through pursuing a work process over the course of sixty seven years. Such assets can seed creative opportunities in meaningful engaging work, for future generations. In our view it is a great economic development asset that would attract an even greater designer craftsmen community, young people, and most important provide not just jobs in meaningful and engaging work, training ceramic skills on the job, if we can find an affordable means to do so in Maine, and opportunities for growth in a sector of the economy where there is a need to replenish in Maine- the middle of the economy.

This is a difficult post to write, not knowing how much to say. One option is to ignore the problem and pretend all is as usual, but that is hard to do with the onset of the most active season of the year and still showing no new stock.

The process of producing anything beautiful and well crafted confers dignity upon the makers. 

For the past months during which I started this blog series, some may have noticed there has been very little new inventory posted on our ecommerce store, excepting our rare vintage work inventory. This is due to circumstance connected to our production which we have been expecting to resolve. Unfortunately today it looks like those difficulties are permanent and we need to relocate our production before we can produce more work. 

Setting up a production and training center is a large project to organize and finance, In the meantime we would like to finance smaller projects such as setting up a small line of table top items which can be produced by other American slip-casting studios using either commercial glazes and or decorating techniques created by our partner studio. A mug requires an investment of $5000.00 to set it up so that it can be produced by another studio,

We need to begin a process of finding studio partners whose way of working is consistent with our own brand.

We created our brown slip technique in midcentury. Today there is a commercial company producing a brown slip similar to our own. This has both advantages and disadvantages for us. The advantage is that we can work with other producers using the commercial version. The disadvantage is that it takes away from the individuality of our signature look. We were told we could not show our brown tree in a regional show because someone else was doing our brown tree using the commercial slip. It was quite literally our brown tree. The show manager would not allow our brown tree pattern because it competed, with the artisan most likely working with the commercial slip, and likely inspired by our work, perhaps not knowing we are still in business.
Even a small project requires financing. We are putting our collection of rare Andersen vintage and one of a kind work on the website to raise funds for creating working partnerships and establishing a new creative studio for ceramic art, design, and training. We do not know where that studio will be located as the zoning ordinances in our local community are prohibitive to what we want to do. However we have long wanted to work with a network of small independently owned slip-casting studio's which can produce segments of our line. While we are trying to figure out how and where we can setup a new production studio in which we can work creatively and train others in our techniques, we can setup partner studios. We have a large line of over two hundred designs which are a pleasure to produce and are an asset to others trying to set up or keep their own studios going.

To our point of view a community like the Boothbay Peninsula, where Andersen Design has been since 1952 could greatly benefit by such an industry, but other forces are interested in taking this community in a different direction. Andersen Design is in a unique position to create such a ceramic network because of our unique assets of over 200 designs and a brand name developed over the course of 67 years as an American made handcrafted product. We feel artist designers bring very important values to a community, needed in today's world. A interactive network of ceramic slip casting studios would also further the gathering of a larger designer craftsmen community, which is always a benefit to a brick and mortar shopping district. If Boothbay persists in its policies of prohibiting the market economy from locating any where except the most commercial of districts, then we will look at other communities. In the past, artists, designers, and craftsmen have been valued as assets which can bring economic growth and cultural value to a community. We will be looking for a community with rural values allowing the economic potential and well integrated life style that businesses in the home bring to small entrepreneurial culture. Even Microsoft began in a garage!
This Portrait of a lady with flowers cascading through her hair and down her form was likely created by Brenda in the late fifties or early sixties. The figure has a dreamy wistful look as she stands in a field with nature abounding. One wonders what is on her mind. Brenda's faces are always expressive. This one is no exception.

The platter is decorated in the greens and brown decorating colors created by Weston. The speckles in the white glaze suggest it is a early work from the early fifties. There is a small chip on the rim. It is signed on the back in Brenda's hand painted signature.

The platter is 1 inch in height, 7.5 inches in diameter, and 16 inches long.

Benefits of Acquiring a Rare Vintage Andersen Work: 
Christine Churchill The Collector’s Eye""If you’d like to know the next big thing in collecting twentieth century design, you might want to ask Sara Blumberg and James Oliveira….....
 Italian glass is one of the fields that now consumes them, particularly the stunning shapes that have been produced for hundreds of years on the fabled isle of Murano in the Venetian Lagoon. They’ve also been buying American studio pottery from the 1950’s and the 1960’s especially the simple bowls and vases made by Weston and Brenda Andersen in East Bootbay, Maine. Not to mention twentieth century Scandinavian pottery.
 What do these disparate fields have in common? Looking at the pottery shapes on display, you can see that the crosscurrents of design have flowed from Europe to America and back. But Sara has a more elemental reason: “It all comes down to form”. In relating why they love one group of Andersen pieces, she calls them “organic”

We are not a non-profit organization and so we cannot offer tax exemptions but someone purchasing one of our rare vintage works has the option of either adding it to their own collection or donating it to a museum and receiving a tax exemption that way.

Andersen Design is recognized in our field and has a long history dealing with museums. Since our company was started with the mission of creating a handcrafted product affordable to the middle class, that meant that Americans from the middle classes and upward collected our work, because they loved it, and they handed it down from one generation to the next so that it became an iconic part of the personal history of many families across the nation and the world. I am sure there are many museums which would like to have a Andersen vintage and or special one of a kind piece donated to its collection.

An added benefit is that as a value is established for Andersen work is established in the collectibles market, it benefits all of the many families who collected our work by increasing the value of their collections, who knows when that may become someone's saving grace.



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