Chip n’ Dip California Pottery Alien Face

Submitted by Douglas Wood June 1st, 2010
Certifikitsch Winner

This alien face is proof that artists see things that regular folk don’t. The resourceful artist in this case is Jack Chipman, who is also an expert on vintage California Pottery and a published author on the subject including books on Bauer pottery. I bought this at his estate sale in Venice a couple of weeks ago along with a lot of other really great ceramic figures (some of which I’ll be posting in the days to come.) But this piece is my favorite– as you can see from the photo below, the face is the reverse side of a large (12″ in diameter) chips n’ dip serving platter– he’s simply painted dots around the cups to accentuate the eyes and a black line to highlight the curve at the bottom to form a mouth. Miramar of California already (inadvertently) provided the shape of the face and the handle ears. It now hangs above my stove in my kitchen, happily surrounded by its non-alien family of other vintage pottery.

4 Responses to “Chip n’ Dip California Pottery Alien Face”

  1. Allee Willis

    So I think what you’re saying is that Miramar manufactured this as a chip and dip plate to be used right side up and then Chipman (perfect name) came along, looked at the back and saw the implied alien face and then did his thing and signed it. I love that story of how something jumped from an artful artifact to art itself. I’d be happy to use this plate on either side.

    How big is it? And are those little chips at the bottom or cutouts for serving spoons or little rubber tips so when displayed backwards the plate stands out from the wall?

  2. k2dtw

    WOW…to be at that estate sale!!.. We have more Ohio Valley than California Pottery pieces show up for sale around here, love all the colorful glazes.
    This is a great piece, really looking forward to seeing what you found.

  3. Douglas Wood

    The plate is 12″ in diameter. Not quite sure what you’re referring to when you ask about cutouts for serving spoons. The gold leaf-shapes at the bottom are just decorative. Below them the artist has placed two clear rubber tips so it will hang better on the wall.