The Spirit of Bauhaus and Werkbund


Founded in 1907, the German Werkbund, like the Bauhaus founded in 1919, has not only influenced shape and design but also our taste. The Werkbund set itself the goal of making every mass of good-tasting, mass-produced goods available in a substantially profit-oriented industrial society. The Bauhaus, initially significantly influenced by the Werkbund, became the most important school for architecture, design and art in the 20th century. This radiance reaches into our present.
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Harkortsche Werke in Velten-Vordamm


In addition to Hermann Harkort, director of the stoneware factories Velten-Vordamm –– a committed advocate of Werkbund and Bauhaus ideas and mentor of young Bauhaus students –– especially two other employees from the Bauhaus ceramics workshop had great influence on Hedwig Bollhagen: Theodor Bogler and Werner Burri. In the HB-Werkstätten in Marwitz, the "small Bauhaus" in Brandenburg, both Bauhaus ceramists left their marks. Until today, the Bogler original form of storage jars, and Werner Burris butter dish are manufactured in a casting process.
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Hedwig Bollhagen about herself:


"I was fortunate to join the Steingutfabrik Velten-Vordamm in 1927 right after graduating from school where I met Dr. Harkort and started an activity that was decisive for all my work." Gratitude and enthusiasm of a reflective Hedwig Bollhagen. The director of the stoneware factories, Dr. Hermann Harkort, was a member of the Deutscher Werkbund with his factory in Velten. His credo: He wanted to win artist who were generally disinterested in industry as designers for the mass production of hand-painted earthenware. And to show that it is also possible to convey beauty and joy in things of everyday use.

The artistic aspiration of the population should be increased: this would only be possible with a kitsch-free, factually shaped form, which would have to fulfill a function. Each product should clearly state what it was produced for. Function at a high quality and design level. The "education" of the consumer to good taste should be ensured by a school for designers who were educated with the same principles. The Bauhaus, founded in 1919 and initially heavily influenced by the Werkbund, became the most important school of architecture, design and art in the 20th century in its only 14 years of history. The directors Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe had the ambition to think design from scratch. A conviction that enabled their artistic departure of craft into the modern age. Another result was the job description of the artistic craftsman who is nowadays called designer.

Ein Brief und seine Folgen


Am 23. März 1923 machte Bauhaus-Lehrer Gerhard Marcks dem Bauhaus-Direktor Walter Gropius folgenden Vorschlag: „Für Bogler wäre eine Reise nach Velten wünschenswert ... Die Beziehung zu Velten wäre in deinem Sinne des industrialisierten Bauhauses sehr zu begrüßen.“

A Letter and its Consequences


On March 23nd in 1923 Bauhaus teacher Gerhard Marcks wrote the following suggestion to Bauhaus director Walter Gropius: "For Bogler, a trip to Velten would be desirable ... The relationship with Velten should fit very much into your idea of the industrialized Bauhaus."

What a Brilliant Move.


Theodor Bogler, the avant-garde ceramicist at the Bauhaus, has shaped the prevailing ideas about ceramics at the Bauhaus. Unitil today, some of his works are exemplary for the Bauhaus ceramics. In Velten, Bogler received first insights into industrial ceramic manufacturing techniques, including the casting process. A creative quantum leap. Through the application of the casting process, he revolutionized the forms of ceramics in the Dornburger Bauhaus Werkstatt, in which until then only turning took place. The free turning was now a production process for the series production of cans (handle and spout were garnished in the subsequent and pressed separately or poured). The tooling costs (model-furnishing and mold making) do not allow every ceramic manufactory to use this method. His legacy: He created objects for eternity. Legendary his three storage jar in different sizes, the wall container for flour and the slim lid bottles for vinegar and oil. Kitchen was never more beautiful.

Bogler has consequently developed the design principle of his kitchen set in his probably most famous design series, the different models of his combination teapot. Remains to mention that the ingenious ceramist got the suggestion for this –– according to his own words –– by Walter Gropius. However, it never came to the intended acquisition of the combination teapot by the industry for which it was ultimately designed. It remained in the production of small series in the Dornburger Werkstatt. At the same time, Bogler designed stoneware and porcelain models for his legendary mocca machine. The word machine today seems a little overdrawn: it was basically a mobile vessel combination for heating water and pouring mocha at the table. In 1924, Bogler left the Bauhaus and took over the management of the Model- und Formwerkstatt in Velten-Vordamm. Bogler stayed only two years; In early 1927 he entered the Benedictine abbey of Maria Laach. He also designed various ceramics, whereby he also used forms of Hedwig Bollhagen for his decors. After the bankruptcy of the earthenware factory in 1931 Bogler worked between 1934 and 1938 temporarily with the HB-Werkstätten für Keramik und Hedwig Bollhagen in Marwitz.

More important for Hedwig Bollhagen, however, was the cooperation and friendship with Werner Burri, who came shortly after her as a freelance artist to Velten and worked closely with her until 1931. While he was still standing in the shadow of Bogler in the Bauhaus, he was able to develop freely in Velten. He now had his own "Kollektion Burri" consisting of vases and jugs, some of them are still in the program today. Bollhagen and Burri seem to have inspired each other in their work.

In Velten, Hedwig Bollhagen, who had already worked extensively with Werkbund and Bauhaus ideas in her training, came closer to her goal of creating well-designed, functional utility ceramics, thart were affordable for many. "I was very interested in making crockery that could be cheaply traded, giving the buyer the opportunity to move away from the really tasteless, dishonest crockery the porcelain and earthenware industry put on the market," she said. Unambiguity, clarity and consistency not only in ceramics, but also in words. Following these principles the great ceramist Hedwig Bollhagen, who has never studied herself at the Bauhaus, carried the idea of the most important school of architecture, design and art out of the deepest conviction and dedication. The basic idea of Werkbund and Bauhaus –– in Marwitz, about 300 kilometers from the cradle of the Bauhaus, it is still alive.