Guide to the Edwin and Mary Scheier Pottery Collection, 1940-1992

Collection number: University Museum
Size: (43 items)

About the Sheiers

Edwin Scheier (1910-2008) and Mary Goldsmith (1908-2007), met at the Big Stone Gap Federal Art Gallery in Abingdon, Virginia, where Goldsmith was director. After their marriage in 1937, they became travelling puppeteers, designing and building their own puppets, and in 1938 the Scheiers worked with the Federal Art Project in Norris, Tennessee where they learned about ceramics, eventually setting up their own pottery shop in Glade Spring, Virginia.

In 1941, David Campbell, director of the League of New Hampshire Arts and Crafts, invited the Scheiers to the University of New Hampshire to teach ceramics. During their employment at UNH the Scheier's visited Mexico several times and became interested in both the archaeological artifacts they saw and the weavings done by the Zapotec Indians, for whom Edwin began to create designs for weaving. After they retired from UNH in 1960, the Scheiers lived in Mexico for ten years before finally settling in Arizona.

From September 8th to October 24th, 1979, the UNH Scudder Art Gallery featured a retrospective show of the Scheiers' works, including paintings, pottery and weavings. The Scheiers' work has been exhibited in a number of American museums including the Currier Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the New York Museum of, The Museum of Modern Art, Worcester Art Museum, Walker Art Center, the University of Arizona Museum of Art, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Addison Gallery. Works by Scheier have also appeared in The International Museum of Ceramics, Fenza, Italy; Royal Ontario Museum, Canada; Instituto Mexicano Norteamericano de Relaciones Culturales, Mexico City; and museums in Japan and Germany.

About the Edwin and Mary Scheier Pottery Collection, 1940-1992

The collection contains 38 pots of various shapes and sizes and 5 large, flat blue plates. The pots were thrown and then decorated using sgraffito and applique techniques. Sgraffito is decoration produced by scratching through a surface layer of glazing revealing a different colored ground beneath. Applique refers to a design which is applied, in this case pellets of clay laid on to the pot's sides to create eyes, nose, mouth, etc. The journey from birth through life is a favorite Scheier motif represented on their pots by stylized human figures holding smaller figures inside themselves.

This page presents a selection of images from the works on display in Milne Special Collections and on the Level 5 balcony of the UNH Library.

For more information about the Scheiers, see Michael K. Komanecky's book, "American Potters: Mary and Edwin Scheier" and the documentary film "Four Hands, One Heart" by Ken Browne.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Copyright is retained by the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, N.H. Inquiries regarding reproductions and fees should be addressed to Currier Museum.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Edwin and Mary Scheier Pottery Collection, 1940-1992, University Museum, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Gifts of the creators.

The University Museum maintains a large number of additional carvings, weavings, and other visual art created by the Sheiers.

Collection Contents

1963Vase with Abstract Design

Stoneware with applique decoration. Location: Milne Special Collections Reading Room

  • Finish: glossy
  • Color: mottled blues, greens, rust, and brown
  • Signed: Scheier '63
  • Dimensions: 18" x 27.5"
1966Vase with Figure Design

Stoneware with sgraffito and applique design. Location: Level 5 Balcony

  • Finish: matte
  • Color: light blue on darkblue, engobe, one glaze is brushed on over another.
  • Signed: Scheier 66
  • Dimensions: 22.5" x 40"
1966Vase with Face and Figure Design

Stoneware. Location: Milne Special Collections Reading Room

  • Finish: matte
  • Color: light blue over dark blue (engobe), neck and base are bronze crater glaze
  • Dimensions: 20" x 29"
1966Vase with Face Design

Stoneware. Sides of pot are shaped into four faces. Location: Milne Special Collections Reading Room

  • Finish: matte where black, glossy where metal
  • Color: black, grey, and bronze crater glaze
  • Signed: Scheier 66
  • Dimensions: 19" x 28.5"
1992Vase with female figure design

Stoneware. Location: Level 5 Balcony

  • Color: purple
  • Signed: Scheier '92
  • Dimensions: 14" x 11.5"
1992Vase with female figure design

Stoneware. Location: Level 5 Balcony

  • Color: green
  • Signed: Scheier '92
  • Dimensions: 13" x 11"
1991Vase with alternating female figures figure design

Stoneware. Location: Level 5 Balcony

  • Color: brown
  • Signed: Scheier '91
  • Dimensions: 13.5" x 11.5"
1991Vase with male, female, and child figures design

Stoneware. Location: Level 5 Balcony

  • Color: purple and blue
  • Signed: Scheier '91
  • Dimensions: 12.5" x 11.5"
1992Vase with male and female figure design and lid

Stoneware. Location: Milne Special Collections Reading Room.

  • Color: Purple
  • Signed: Scheier '92
  • Dimensions: 16" x 10.5"
Collection
Ed and Mary Scheier, 1956
Hewitt Hall ceramic studio, UNH Durham
Photo credit: Richard Merritt, UNH