After its founding in 1940, the Ceramic Arts Studio of Madison, Wisconsin mostly specialized in hand-thrown pots.
After seeing only mild success, partners Lawrence Rabitt and Rueben Sand began looking elsewhere for inspiration.
Betty Harrington, a secretary for the State of Wisconsin, found her children playing with the clay they found from a recently excavated well.
Without any formal training in art but possessing a passionate creativity, Harrington shaped an incense burner out of the clay.
She brought it to the Ceramic Arts Studio on Blount Street, hoping to have it fired; but she found so much more.
Sand and Rabitt enjoyed her work so much, that Harrington was offered the position of head studio designer on the spot and changed the direction and style of the company by bringing highly unique designs to the market.
Her most popular designs included "shelf-sitters" like this figure of "Maurice", and his theatrical friend, "Beth".
Much harder to find than their later counterparts, Maurice and Michele, Maurice and Beth are adorned in the most unusual and extraordinary robes in a green and brown flecked glaze.
The pleats and folds in each of their robes are filled with a slightly darker glaze which adds a wonderful depth.
Their faces are masterfully painted; even their lips and cheeks are ruddy. Both Maurice and Beth show beautiful emotion.
The underside of each figurine has the original black maker's mark which reads "Ceramic Arts Studio, Madison WIS. ©" as well as their respective names in a matching and slightly larger font.
Both figurines remain in impeccable, near-mint condition. We are thrilled to say that this pair is a wonderful representation of the quality and aesthetic of CAS ceramics.
The indicator of original Ceramic Arts Studio of Wisconsin is certain painted numbers or signs on the interior of the piece. These pieces have the original painted signs, but can't be photographed. You can see a little of the interior mark on one one photo of the underside.
These pieces are so unusual, it is difficult to place a design era to them. They are very avant garde, but match most any decor.
They speak to a flair of theatrics and have an air of mysticism.
These are highly collectible and in excellent condition. There are no cracks or chips on the pieces.
Measurements: Beth: 5" tall, approx. 6" long, weight: 192.1 grams (6.78 oz) Maurice: total length is approx. 5 ¾" long, when seated rises 4 ½" tall, weight: 175.3 grams (6.18 oz) Total weight: 367.4 (12.96 oz)
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