Occasionally, I find a well-preserved piece of vintage pottery made in California. This lovely little trinket box with one perfect capodimonte rose blossom in full bloom was sitting on a shelf of otherwise undistinguished nick knacks at a local second-hand shop. Probably made last mid-century, the piece has no damage other than some long, thin crazing on the outside bottom half of the box. That the delicate petals of the rose survived so many years without a chip is a miracle. This piece is marked only with California in block letters and the model number 100R. I do not know the maker.
From the early 1900s through the 1960s, at least, ceramic production boomed in California. Centered around San Franciso in the early part of the century, and spreading south to especially around Los Angeles, hundreds of potteries produced innovative designs and shapes still very popular with collectors today. Many pieces that I find are marked only with the word California. Sometimes it is possible to identify the maker by the design or shape, often the producer remains unknown to me.
California was (and still is) a melting pot of cultures that provided ample inspiration for unique designs. The native soils are a source of fine quality clay perfect for ceramic production. Early ceramics chiefly supplied the needs of builders with various tiles for roofs, walls and water conveyance. As the population and demand grew, decorative items came into production. The 1930s through the 1950s were a heyday for California potteries. Much of the vintage ware found today is from that period.
There are many very famous potteries including these that I have carried in my online shops: Franciscan, Metlox, Vernon Kilns and Catalina. Here are some of the items I have currently for sale.