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The Camden Art Tile and Pottery is an art pottery that was produced in Camden, Arkansas.
It was founded by Samuel "Jack" Carnes, John Lessell, Stephen Sebaugh and the Camden Chamber of Commerce. Factory production began in the summer of 1927 through the early 1960's. It was produced in various colors and in many designs and shapes. The pieces varied from ashtrays to urns, as well as many animals. There were many pieces that were handpainted by talented artists. Camark Pottery was distributed throughout the United States. Camark Pottery's name is derived from "Cam" for Camden and "ark" for Arkansas.
John Lessell produced Camark's "Lesselware" in Ohio using Arkansas clays. He was a veteran of many pottery companies and his designs followed him as he moved from one pottery to another. Some of his designs for Camark were: "Old English Rose" (similar to Weller Marengo), "Bronze" (similar to Weller LaSa and Owen China Company Swastika Keramos). Some of his other lines were similar to J.B. Owens' "Sudanese" and "Oppalesce" lines. Lessell died December 1926. His wife and stepdaughter did decorating for Camark until the end of 1927. Pieces designed/produced by Lessell are highly sought after today.
Stephen Sebaugh, one of the original founders, developed mono, bi and tri chromate glazes. He had worked with Lessell at other companies.
Some of the early employees and designers for Camark included: Alfred Tetzschner, Frank Long, and Boris Trifonoff.
Alfred Tetzschner introduced a modernistic line in 1927. His line included "Cracko" and "Spano". Frank Long, a former handthrower for Niloak joined Camark in 1927. Boris Trifonoff was a Russian ceramist, who was a former employee of Muncie Pottery in the 1920's and Weller Pottery. He joined Camark sometime before 1930. He is credited with the development of mottled, stippled and drip glazes.
Ernest Lechner along with Leonard Kohl joined Camden pottery in 1939. A new art pottery line was mass-produced and hand-decorated in the 1940's/1950's and was known as Industrial Artware. The Industrial Artware were individually hand-painted decorations and shapes with molded relief floral patterns. The Handpainted Line was the company's last attempt at producing artware.
From approximately 1930 until Camark Pottery closed, the production included vases, decorative bowls and flower frogs, console sets, flower pots and some utility items such as teapots, cups and saucers, salt and peppers shakers, as well as decorative wall plaques.
Samuel "Jack" Carnes made many European trips returning with items that were an inspiration for new products. He died in 1958. The company was then sold to Mary Daniel in the early 1960's. It remained in production until her death in 1983. The company was operated as a retail store, using past inventory. The pottery closed after Ms. Daniel's death. It was then purchased in 1986 by the Ashcroft family of Camden and is still owned by the family today. Some attempt was made to bring the pottery back into production. However, it is no longer in operation.
To view some examples and marks of Camark Pottery:
Camark Pottery Examples and Marks
According to the numbering system, it seems that there are at least ninety different glazes. Some of the names include Delphinium Blue, Dubonnet Ivory, Light Mat Yellow, Lupin Blue, Peach, Seafoam Green, and Turquoise.
The most common mark is "CAMARK" impressed.
Schroeder's Antiques Price Guide-Eighteenth Edition
Official Price Guide to Pottery and Porcelain-Eighth Edition
Kovels' Antiques & Collectibles/Price List 2003
Arkansas Art Pottery
The Next Monthly Newsletter will feature Chalkware.
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