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Petra on pottery

featuring West German art pottery, Fat Lava and more 20th century ceramics

I got a reaction from Ralf J. Schumann on my previous post about the chess set made at the Bay Keramik factory. Ralf contacted a former manager from Bay and this manager still remembered Nico Bongers, the intern who made the chess set. This is what he said about it:

Nico Bongers (the son of an important wholesaler of pottery, porcelain and glass in the Netherlands)  stayed as an intern for about 6 weeks probably around the early 1970’s at Bay Keramik. He wanted to learn about the production of decorative ceramics and to improve his German speaking. Due to a personal hobby and as a souvenir he made the chess set by himself, probably created by him and certainly with the help of some modellers (“Modelleur” = modeller, someone who executed a design in ceramics. The design, mostly drawn just on paper before, could be created by the modeller himself or by a different designer). Who may have helped Mr. Bongers is not known anymore.
The glaze may be a test glaze which was never used on an official Bay Keramik product range. It was not unusual to use a test glaze for single items.
At no time there were thoughts at Bay Keramik to produce a chess set by themselves.

Well, this sheds some more light on the story behind the chess set. Thank you, Ralf!

*Ralf J. Schumann is a collector and researcher of West German ceramics from the 1950s. You can find his website through this link:

Ralf J. Schumann 1950s Keramiksammlung



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