Daga pottery is not the work of a studio but of a Latvian man named Maigonis Daga. Daga was born in 1923 in Latvia and immigrated to Australia in 1948 after war broke out in his home country.
Maigonis, or Maigon, attended the famous Adelaide School of Art where he learned sculpture and studio ceramics. Daga spent his time at school perfecting his craft, and after he graduated he began his independent pottery firm in 1954.
Early Daga pottery is very modernist and looks strikingly dissimilar to most of his later pieces. Daga worked mainly in functional forms, but he would slip-cast singularly decorative pieces as well. The pottery is a masterclass in shaping work, and Daga kept his glazing and finishing simple during his Australian phase. Most of these works are earth-toned monochromatic, dichromatic, or a well-blended similarly-hued palate.
His studio gained admirable success, but he closed it down to move to the U.S. in 1964. Maigon created pottery from his own home in America until 1970 when he opened his second studio “Daga Design Studio” in Minneapolis. The 1970s saw a lot of commissioned lines from Daga, and his focus was on increasing the popularity of his studio and retaining work. Then, in the 1980s, Daga began his second era of art pottery creation.
This later, American art pottery centers around small animal forms on decorative plinths, and shows off Daga’s marvelous sculpting ability. The plinths are solid granite, and the ceramic sculptures on top take natural forms - some abstract and some representational.
Almost all of Daga's works are marked with an incised “Daga”. Some feature an engraved, form number - this is especially common on his earlier pieces.
Maigonis Daga passed away in 2001 and the “Daga Design Studio” ceased production for several years. The pottery that Daga produced is both familiar, and enchantingly distant. Natural tones blended with modernist, artificial shapes evoke this feeling in his early work. The harsh granite beneath comfortable, rustic sculptures do the same in his later work. The mark that Daga left on the art pottery world will not be easily forgotten, and his art remains timeless.