• Matt Stewart

Design Spotlight: Edmund Rónaky & Jaru Pottery

For the past century, California has inspired a vast array of art potters, potteries and ceramicists who, in turn, have been an important part of the Golden State's preeminent art and design scene. I want to start to take a look at some of the most notable names and brands that have helped to shape California's creative clay.

The first is Edmund Rónaky (1919 - 2000), a Hungarian-born artist who produced unique mid century pieces for Jack and Ruth Hirsch's legendary Jaru Pottery,a.k.a. Jaru Art Products ( Started in Culver City in 1950, Jaru (the name was a combination of the first two letters of Jack's and Ruth's first names), sold ceramic artwares and figural designs by Rónaky and a number of other noteworthy SoCal artists (including Greta Peterson and Peggy Nagel) until the the brand was sold in 1968 (Jaru continued to produce through the 1970's and 1980's, however collectors are mainly focused on pieces created under the Hirsch's direction).

Best known for his signature "bird" shaped vessels, Rónaky's unique aesthetic helped Jaru earn an important place in SoCal's MCM design arena. Eight years ago I covertly purchased the Edmund Rónaky for Jaru "bird" ashtray pictured below for Steve's birthday (he'd flipped for it in a Palm Springs antique store a few months before). Acquiring this one-of-a-kind piece not only introduced me to Rónaky and Jaru, but sparked my ongoing interest in California pottery and ceramics.

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