Thomas' Deerfield vs. California Pottery

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Chauncey Thomas worked in Deerfield, Massachusetts, for only two years. By the beginning of 1913, he and his Deerfield equipment (including his kiln) had been moved to Berkeley, California. Soon he opened the California Tile Company, and began teaching at the California School of Fine Arts. By 1915, he was partnering with fellow Charles F. Binns' student William Bragdon in a pottery business that would settle on the name California Faience Company. Thomas remained at the California Faience Company until 1938.

Interestingly, there are both fundamental similarities and fundamental differences between the pieces that Thomas executed at the Deerfield Pottery and those originating from the California Faience Company. While each of the above vessels shares a spare elemental form, there is an organic irregularity to the hand-thrown Deerfield piece that is absent from the later molded pot with its more uniform appearance. Most striking, however is a change in palette. Thomas' Deerfield work tended toward darker earthbound hues quite appropriate to New England, while the output of the California Faience Company focused on aquas, marine blues and other appropriately West Coast colors.

Left image: Vase, Chauncey R. Thomas, Memorial Hall Museum, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association

Right image: California Faience Pot, Chauncey R. Thomas, Courtesy of William Kirby Brown