One of the jokes about the Foreign Service is that you can supposedly tell a woman’s first post by how her house is decorated. I think I picked up one tiny painting, a carved seashell, a necklace, a couple fridge magnets and a beach towel in Belize. More souvenirs than art.

But I’ve never been a big collector of art. I had a few teen idol posters in high school (was crushed when River Phoenix died) and have always enjoyed the romanticism of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. We also picked up a reproduction of one of The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries called À Mon Seul Désir on eBay a few years ago. So most of the stuff I have has always been pretty main stream.

Our reproduction tapestry of À Mon Seul Désir - the original was created in the 1500s and is now in Musée national du Moyen Âge in Paris.

Our reproduction tapestry of À Mon Seul Désir – the original was created in the 1500s and is now in Musée national du Moyen Âge in Paris.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the Pre-Raphaelites. There’s a house near us that used to be the home of painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. He lived in it with his wife, Laura, for 30 years starting in 1884 until his death in 1912 and had lavish dinner parties with the social and artistic elite of 19th-century London.

According to one author’s website, “He built a Dutch-style studio for Laura, who also painted, and a three-story studio for himself, capped with a semi-circular dome covered in aluminum, which gave a silvery tone to his paintings.” And you can still see the copper-covered entrance to the house from the road.

My favorite piece by Alma Tadema - "Ask Me No More" painted in 1906.

My favorite piece by Alma-Tadema – “Ask Me No More” painted in 1906.

I imagined we’d be buying all sorts of glorious antiques and prints while in London, but nothing has really jumped out at me, and it’s all ridiculously expensive.

So I’m looking forward to getting to Iceland and finding lots of new art to fill our house. And I’m already off to a great start! I posted on a bit of Icelandic art a while back and have since found out that there’s an entire art gallery in Reykjavik dedicated to the artist I highlighted, Johannes Sveinsson Kjarval, that sells prints of his work. So I’m hoping to get a couple of those.

But I’d really like to have some original items as well. To that end, I’m very proud to present these three pottery pieces that I’ve picked up. They’re gorgeous, so unique, and I love them! They’re handmade with Icelandic lava. I’ve found them scattered across the world on Etsy and eBay. But they were all made between 1960-70 in the same tiny little ceramics shop in Reykjavik called Glit.

My three little pieces of Glit pottery.

My three little pieces of Glit pottery.

In 2013 the Museum of Design and Applied Art in Reykjavik had an exhibition called a “Glimpse of Glit” featuring chosen items from Glit Pottery from between the years 1958 and 1973. And they had lots of great info about the history of the shop that still exists today.

“Glit was adamantly devoted to utilizing Icelandic clay and ground minerals in production during its first decade of operation—especially hardened lava.

“The Glit Pottery LLC was founded on June 10, 1958 by Einar Elíasson, a businessman; Pétur Sæmundsen, then head of the Federation of Icelandic Industries and later head of the Industrial Bank (Iðnaðarbanki); and Ragnar Kjartansson, sculptor and ceramic artist. The pottery, operated at Óðinsgata downtown Reykjavik until 1971, when the decision was made to expand the company and move its operations to Höfði. The company’s time at Óðinsgata is often referred to as the “Old Glit”, and the company as it operated at Höfði called ‘The Big Glit.’

“Glit’s administration had lofty artistic ambitions immediately upon the company’s founding. Ideas about expansion and exportation came early on, so that nearly from its inception the company operated under the highest of standards and was unyielding in their demand to withstand all comparison. Many of this country’s best-known artists of the 20th century worked at Glit at one point or another, remembering the place as an artistic breeding ground, especially during the time when Ragnar was in charge of the manufacturing workshop at Óðinsgata. Technological advances and the desire to increase production led Glit to shift gears, moving them from Iceland’s history of art and design and into its industrial history.”

So, ya, I’m getting classier. 😉

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