Harlander, Theo; Harlander, Susan , Brooklin Pottery
Soap dish, c. 1950–1970
16.5 x 12 x 18.6 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Robert and Ina Abra in memory of Richard and Elsie McIntosh
German immigrants Theo and Susan Harlander established the Brooklin Pottery studio in 1952 in Brooklin, Ontario, introducing a continental approach to the field of Canadian studio production. They specialized in custom-ordered household items such as these three pieces. Theo would throw the pieces on the wheel and Susan decorated them with freehand sgraffito patterns, designs incised or scratched through the slip or glaze to the earthenware ground. The incised designs on Harlander pieces wrap effortlessly around the vessel form, displaying Susan’s exceptional understanding of design aesthetics. The Harlanders added new breadth to early Canadian studio pottery, introducing a distinct modernist, design-centric style that contrasted with the more common yet well-executed functional wares (such as those influenced by Bernard Leach and the early British studio pottery movement) made during this time period.