This listing will be shared on our Instagram page in a few hours. www.instagram.com/invisedge
Part of a large consignment of vintage Ellis pottery that will be listed in iNVISeDGE over upcoming weeks/months! Many of the pieces that are about to be listed are rare designs / have glazes I’ve never seen before. These items belong to a family who were friends with the founders of Ellis Pottery so some were never sold in a retail situation. Keep following our NEWLY LISTED Category.
This piece is being sold on behalf of a private vendor (we took possession of this full collection and have sold / are selling this collection from our depot in Morayfield, BRISBANE). Collection from NEW FARM, Brisbane is also welcome.
Additional back-story that came from researching Ellis Pottery further. (Please skip to Background Info and Provenance Section if you only have interest in the piece on offer.)
Despite the fact that Ellis pottery is so highly-regarded (and collectable) there is little information out there about Ellis in books or even online. Some facts we do know …
- Dagmar and Miloslav Kratochvil, were political refugees who fled Czechoslovakia in 1951.
- Their studio was initially set up in the garage of their home in 1953.
- Orders from Myer / Grace Bros facilitated the expansion of their operation in the mid-1950’s.
- Their subsequent factory at 86 Nicholson Street, Abbotsford, employed students at the local RMIT.
- Their factory ceased to exist in 1972.
- The factory today in Abbotsford has no trace of their existence and there is very little documentation in books or online about the now-famous Ellis pottery firm.
- Dasa and Milda Kratochvil regularly attended editorial meetings for the Australian-published newspaper, “Hlas Domova” (Voice of Home).
- Despite their now rather obscure history, Ellis Pottery has helped Australian handicrafts sit proudly alongside international offerings from the same era.
This is yet another story of resilience and success that has coloured Australia’s rich history in the Arts. Australia’s indigenous artists are regarded as some of the best in the world. On top of this many artists who fled Europe and settled in Australia as a result of political unrest / World War II, went on to become some of Australia’s most celebrated artists ever, including Dagmar and Miloslav Kratochvil. In my time setting up and running iNVISeDGE, I have read time and time again stories of refugees who set up industries in their garages in the 1950’s and went on to achieve success they could only dream of. Many of these people came to Australia with no physical assets and the trauma of having to flee home and venture into the unknown. We can all learn from their industriousness and resilience.
Dagmar and Miloslav Kratochvil BOTH worked 2 jobs, slaving for 18 hours a day for years (oh I know the feeling only too well) to get to a point where they could afford to set-up their studio in the garage of their home. I, too, set up in my garage until I actually started to get somewhere and local Council closed me down! (Which is hindsight they never should have done. I was not running a business from home, I was merely using my garage to store items for iNVISeDGE. I was too young and exhausted to fight them so I just closed down iNVISeDGE at the time.) Once the Kratochvil’s work received the recognition it deserved, their industriousness didn’t stop (it was just the start of what Ellis pottery would later become).
My vendor’s mother was with the Kratochvils and helped them close the Ellis factory in 1972 after nearly 2 decades of creative pursuit. I would love to be able to go back to 1972 and be a fly on the wall as this factory was being closed. What was the feeling as they went about closing 2 decades of creation? Were their hearts breaking or celebrating achievements? I suspect it was a bittersweet moment for all who were there. It breaks my heart that no businesses like Ellis have survived and now mass-produced “rubbish” that quickly ends up as landfill reigns supreme. These days the only thing Australia seems to do well at is destroying the environment in the pursuit of digging up fossil fuels we don’t even need! The whole idea makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time!
What’s ironic is that COVID-19 may actually pave the way for small LOCAL CREATIVE industry to prosper again. God only knows how many small businesses in the last decade have largely “slogged their guts out” and got absolutely nowhere. Drowned by international CONGLOMERATES who exist because of the greed of their founders and their overseas share-holders, small business in Australia- small businesses like what Ellis became- have had little chance of achieving the types of success possible in the 1950’s. I pray that COVID-19 may create a new normal. Instead of this virus forcing us apart and away from each other, I pray that COVID-19 eventually brings us together and paves the way for LOCAL CREATIVE industry to prosper again like it did back in the 1950’s.
If about HALF of us started to value what we should be valuing (ie. LOCAL INDUSTRY) I think we might just be able to start living with peace and love in our hearts again instead of destruction, violence, anger and bitterness. I pray for this almost every day- I pray that the major reform Australia needs becomes a reality. If this is possible (and I believe it is), we will return back to the heyday of the 1950’s where we actually knew the people in our community who created the furniture we sat in, the decor items we revered so much, all of the food we ate and the meals that were prepared with so much love at our one and only local restaurant…
Background Info and Provenance
(This description was written in 2021.)
A LARGE ceramic/pottery lamp-base made by Ellis- Australia in the 1960’s. This is part of an extensive consignment of ELLIS pottery. The mother of the owner of this consignment (Marcela Cechova) was fast friends of Milda and Dasa Katochvil, founders of Ellis pottery. My vendor’s mother, Marcela was not a pottery collector, the Ellis pieces she acquired were gifted from the Ellis pottery founders and many are RARE. Ellis Lamp Bases in red are quite rare.
I decided to do a trawl online just before doing this listing. I went through every Ellis listing on eBay and Facebook Marketplace. At the time of writing, there were NO red Ellis lamp-bases for sale at all and after a trawl of Google Images I could only find one photo of a red Ellis lamp-base (on the Bitch is Back website in Melbourne. It looked virtually the same as this one which further verifies that this is definitely an Ellis piece). This piece of Australian art history will add a pop of colour and character to any home. It’d be perfect in that retro space- you need some red if you want to pull-off the true retro look!
Good Bitossi lamp-bases (Italian) in this size fetch about AUD $700 in Australia (written in 2021) so this rare Australian offering also represents an astute INVESTMENT opportunity. Ellis pottery is much-loved not just in Australia but internationally. The beautiful stylized shapes won hearts quickly back in the day, so much so that the Kratochvil’s initial setup in their garage quickly became inadequate. When Myer / Grace Brothers started placing large orders, they moved into a factory in Nicholson Street, Abbotsford (not far from Melbourne). The Kratochvil’s employed a team of more than 15 people, many of whom were students from the Art Department of the RMIT.
For many (myself included) searching for Ellis ceramics gives me more joy than any Pokie Machine ever could. When I come across one of the more elusive Ellis shapes, my heart skips a beat, my palms start sweating and I have been known to jump for joy (particularly if I find an Ellis piece in a box under a table at a garage sale! Although, I wait until I’ve left the unsuspecting home before I jump up and down and cheer like an idiot!) When this consignment of Ellis pieces came my way, I went out of my way to represent these pieces (my vendor now lives in Yeppoon, 600km North of Brisbane). Some of the pieces in this consignment are rarely seen and some are the only ones like it I’ve ever had.
(The mother of my vendor, Marcela Cechova, became fast friends of the Ellis pottery founders through their joint support of the Australian-published Czech newspaper “Hlas Domova” (Voice of Home.) Macela was a journalist and a regular contributor of “Hlas Domova” which was published for decades- the Kratochvils often attended editorial meetings.)
This stunning ceramic lamp by celebrated handiwork firm, Ellis, has been around for more than a season and certainly more than a few issues of your favourite interior design magazine. If it’s still in vogue after 5 to 6 decades it will always be. After mass-produced modern pieces have ended up as landfill, this vintage décor piece (made in AUSTRALIA BY HAND) will be passed onto yet another generation. There’s no better way to invest in your home and help protect our planet for future generations. INVESTING in (and valuing) LOCALLY-MADE hand-crafted items is a small but important way we can all help change our children’s future.