"poured some strong tea out of a Clarice Cliff teapot"
Original Bizarre backstamp 1928
Public DomainOriginal Bizarre backstamp 1928 - Credit: Leonard Griffin

 Clarice Cliff was an English ceramic industrial artist. She was born in Tunstall, Stoke on Trent, in 1899. She started work in the pottery industry in 1913, initially as a gilder. She moved on to freehand painting, and studying art and sculpture in the evenings.  In 1916, she moved to a factory in Newport, Burslem, to improve her career opportunities. Her talent impressed the factory owners (one of whom eventually became her husband).  She was allowed increasing design freedom, and in 1927 was given her own studio.  She decorated in freehand patterns, developing a style she called 'Bizarre'. The work was immediately popular, and she soon developed an entire range.  Some of her designs, which became increasingly angular and geometric, would later be termed Art Deco. By 1929, her team of decorators had grown to 70 young painters, mainly women, called her 'Bizarre girls.' 

Clarice Cliff coffee pot 1930
Public DomainClarice Cliff coffee pot 1930 - Credit: Leonard Griffin

Her Bizarre and Fantasque ware was sold across Britain, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.  In the 'Pasadena Evening Post' she was quoted as follows: "Having a little fun at my work does not make me any less of an artist, and people who appreciate truly beautiful and original creations in pottery are not frightened by innocent tomfoolery."