Ephraim Faience Pottery was founded in 1996 in Deerfield, Wisconsin by Kevin Hicks and Scott Draves. Mr. Hicks is still in charge of Ephraim, while Mr. Draves left Ephraim to establish Door Pottery in 2001. Ephraim is located in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. The name Ephraim originated from the village of Ephraim located in Door County, Wisconsin.
Ephraim produces hand thrown, hand decorated art pottery in the traditional style of the arts and crafts movement. The company produces vases and bowls primarily with handcrafted flower and animal designs.
The company produces art pottery in the tradition of the Arts and Crafts Movement with matte glazes over sculpted vases, bowls, and other forms in editions of no more than 500 pieces. Ephraim primarily produces vases, as well as bowls, boxes, candleholders, pitchers, tiles, wall pockets, and lanterns. Typical motifs found on Ephraim pottery include naturalistic designs such as ginkgo leaves, flowers such as water lilies and irises, a variety of handcrafted animal designs including cats, birds, turtles, panthers, walruses and more.
Ephraim Pottery Marks
Ephraim Faience has an easily understood and fully documented system of markings to determine the age of the pottery as well as the artist who decorated the vase.
Ephraim’s early period of production from 1996 to 2000 is the hardest to date correctly. In 1996 and in 1997 the company trademark was the logo with the words Ephraim Faience Pottery stamped inside the logo. Unlike later years of production, Ephraim did not stamp the artist’s signature on the base of the pottery.
In 1998, Ephraim modified the logo by adding U.S.A underneath the logo. For 1999 Ephraim added the initials SD and KH in the 9:00 position of the trademark logo for company founders Scott Draves and Kevin Hicks. The U.S.A addition at the 6:00 position of the logo was also present in 1999. During this time, Ephraim vases and other designs were still not consistently stamped with the artist or decorator's signature. Although many pieces designed by Kevin Hicks in 1999 can be found with his stamped signature. Experimental and one of a kind examples of Ephraim were not routinely marked with the incised E now used by the company.
From 2000 through 2015, Ephraim used the clock-face system of tick marks around the Ephraim logo to date the period of production of the pottery. For example, in 2001 there is a tick mark in the 1:00 position, 2002 vases have a tick mark in the 2:00 position and so on through 2012. Vases produced between 2000 and 2005 had tick marks in both the 12:00 position and the corresponding hourly position for the year of production. After 2005 the tick mark in the 12:00 position was dropped from the Ephraim Faience trademark.
In 2013 the process started over with Ephraim vases produced in 2013 having a tick mark in the 3:00 position, 4:00 position for 2014 and 5:00 position for 2015. In 2016, to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Ephraim trademark was changed to a 20 with the logo inside the zero and Ephraim to the right of the 20. Since then, this trademark logo has continued to be used with the addition of Roman numerals for the year of production added below the word Ephraim in the logo.
Since its small studio beginnings, Ephraim Pottery has enjoyed significant growth and collector interest in the arts and crafts style pottery the company produces. Today, Ephraim Pottery is one of the largest, contemporary arts and crafts style pottery companies in operation.
All Ephraim Faience Pottery is hand-made and each form is limited in production. Ephraim typically retires designs before 500 examples have been made. All Ephraim Faience Pottery is marked with the company’s impressed mark, which is changed each year. In addition, most pieces of Ephraim are stamped with the signature of the artist.
As with other quality contemporary art pottery, when retired or early examples of Ephraim Pottery are offered for sale in the secondary market, prices often greatly exceed the original purchase price. As a result, collectible arts and crafts style pottery such as Ephraim Pottery has turned out to not only be an attractive decorative addition to many mission and bungalow style homes or art pottery collections, but an appreciating investment as well.