Century House Pottery
“In 1948, it was uncommon for a young single woman to buy a run-down stone building on the edge of town, move in and start a business. But Jane Scalbom, a university-trained artist and art teacher, did just that. She followed her dream – opening a ceramics studio on University Avenue in Madison, Wisconsin where she could design, make, and sell her work and that of other artists.”
So begins Century House Pottery 1948-1963, a new book written and published by the Wisconsin Pottery Association. In mid-August, 200 copies of the book were picked up from the printer. The book is the story of Jane Scalbom and her husband Max Howell who together designed, decorated and fired pottery in their studio and home; and describes how the business evolved into the furniture store that is still in business today on University Avenue. The book is illustrated with family photos of the business and 125 examples of their work. It includes price estimates for what one might have to pay for the pottery if found in an antique store today.
The book was prepared by a core group of Wisconsin Pottery Association members working with a book designer, and assisted immeasurably by Kirby Howell, the son of the founder, who still owns and runs The Century House--- although the pottery component ceased several decades ago. The book should be of real benefit to anyone researching the history of the Century House Pottery, as well as an interesting read for the many Madison area residents who own a piece or two---perhaps commemorating their own or a parent’s birthday or anniversary---and always wondered where it came from.
The book is available for $24 at any Wisconsin Pottery Association regular meeting, at The Century House, 3029 University Avenue, or by mail through the Wisconsin Pottery Association website, www.wisconsinpottery.org (postage additional).