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Santa Barbara Ceramic Design was founded in 1976 by Raymond Markow. He still owns the business, and made a transition from hand painted art pottery to production household accessories in the mid-1980�s. I worked in and out of the studio from 1979 to 1989.


The art pottery is marked on the bottom with the artist's initials, "SBCD" and if thrown, the potter's inscription (lamps are marked on the back above the wire hole). Custom orders were welcomed and resulted in one-of-kind pieces sometimes marked with an asterisk (*). In a limited production run such as the Artist's Collection, series numbers are marked on each piece.

When hand painted pottery phased out I moved from Santa Barbara to Charleston and for a year or so, continued to sell off the art pottery and promote the production line.

My collection is from the hand painted period - vases, lamps, plates and mugs; a mix of what I personally collected during my years at SBCD, pieces I bought back from wholesale accounts, those I commissioned and many destined for craft galleries and exhibitions. In 1989 Hurricane Hugo destroyed my truck and my ability to distribute the inventory. They've been stored in the attic since then.

Each is digitally photographed and documented. Catalogs, price sheets, identifying marks and pictures are available.

The hand painted pieces and some of the early silk-screened work are enjoying a secondary market as pieces pop up at auction and in antique stores. During the company�s 13 year art pottery period about 80,000 pieces of art pottery were produced - sufficient to be "collectible". In comparison, the Newcomb College Pottery produced 60-70,000 pieces from 1894 - 1939. As with Newcomb and their contemporaries (Rookwood, Roseville, Weller, etc.), Santa Barbara Ceramic Design explored the ways in which flora and fauna could be represented on pottery.

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This is a colorful line of white stoneware in the form of clocks, address tiles, garden markers, outdoor thermometers, switchplate covers, and much more in SBCD�s trademark bold imagery. Fruit, flowers, animals, designs by Mary Engelbreit, Nancy Thomas, Carol Endres, Judy Buswell, and includes Curious George and Pooh. Many are SBCD originals.

This rather obscure SBCD line of pottery was inspired by a visit Ray and I paid to Bloomingdale�s in New York in 1982-3. He spotted the Rosenthal display of detailed abstract designs, carved into vases and cast in a Parian-ware body. Ray put his twist on the idea and created the �Florescence� line - a very functional, all-white selection of vases with floral designs. It expanded our retail reach, selling for only $18 - $48.

After a few years, the line was discontinued and in 1985-6 Ray sold it to me.

In 1986 I contracted SBCD artist Shannon Sargent and SBCD potter Don Tate to come to South Carolina and help expand the line.

We added 5 pieces and except for the bowl, all were available as a vase or lamp; the designs were Frog/Lilypad, Irises, Cypress Swamp, Heron and Bouquet (bowl).

15-30,000 pieces were made by Ray and about 15,000 by me. I have the original carvings but in September of 1999 sold the molds to a couple in Summerville, SC.

For collectors: all Florescence pieces Ray or I made are glazed inside only, except for experiments. Ray�s pieces are off-white inside & out and fired at cone 10. Because of his high firing temperature, Ray�s are more durable and about 10% smaller than mine. I used a cone 06 clay body, glazed the interior with blue, pink or white (clear), and offered air-brushed backgrounds and slip-painted foregrounds.

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