A small handmade bank of sewer tile. Rough, etched "bark" and applied clay grape clusters. Slot for coins, but no way to remove them. Circa 1930. Collection Jim Linderman
Sewer Pipe Pottery Planter Built on Broken Pipe Sections. Waste not, want not. A primitive planter made of sewer pipe clay filled around several broken pipe sections. A fine, if unshapely example of "make-do" end of the day creation. Likely Ohio. Circa 1900. Collection Jim Linderman
Clearly, the end-of-day sewer pipe sculptures made by factory workers from the 19th and 20th centuries in the Midwest are one of the last (and least) recognized and appreciated folk art forms in the US. While only one major book was produced on the topic (Jack Adamson's Illustrated Handbook of Ohio Sewer Pipe Folk Art in 1973) there are a few sources which brought the objects into light. A perceptive chapter appears in Wendy Lavitt's Animals in American Folk Art from 1990:
"Workers created these end of the day pieces for themselves, to give as presents or sell for extra income. They modeled the leftover moist clay that if not used would have hardened into unusable lumps...As people discovered sewer-tile sculpture, the stoneware potteries themselves began using molds to re-create the most popular items such as the lion on a base. However, most forms remained to sewer tile plants, with workers teaching their fellow workers, handing down "recipes" from the time that the first lion was made (probably about 1900) until well into the 1940s." Both books are out of print, but often available from used book sources.
Reclining Dog Chewing on a Shoe. While handmade and signed on base "B.J." this was likely a "well-used" mold. Lack of detail evident. Collection Jim Linderman
Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber was active in the late 1930's to the late 1940's. Born in Alabama and moved to Detroit at age ten... after being visited by a gang of the Klan. Let's not let that happen again. Best known for his professional record, but also for standing up for civil rights all his life. In 1934, Louis won his first professional title (for which he earned $59.00) and went on to win all 12 of his fights in 1934, ten by knockouts.
Fine brown clay with skilled hands, Titled by hand but note on base is illegible.
THANKS TO NATALIE CURLEY ANTIQUES
Joe Lewis clay sculpture Circa 1940 Collection Jim Linderman
Sewer Tile End of Day Pottery Squirrel incised by hand Folk Art. Generally, squirrels are not often seen in folk art works. They were pests and ate grain! Still, as this was likely made for a child, it is cute! Signed on base "JM" likely mid-20th Century. Collection Jim Linderman Dull Tool Dim Bulb