About CeramiCar™

Trained as a bronze sculptor and goldsmith, Henry Cavanagh took a left turn somewhere along the line, and wound up creating ceramic cookie jars in the shapes of cars and trucks from the thirties, forties and fifties. Mr. Cavanagh's trip from university days at State University College of New York to the present has followed two or three detours along the way, including working as a caster of bronze sculptures in Dusseldorf, getting himself arrested in antiwar demonstrations in 1968 to 1970, and displaying his works at the Smithsonian Institution's Renwick Gallery, among many other galleries.
Before settling into his work on the CeramiCar™ line of automotive cookie jars, Mr. Cavanagh produced a collection of tea sets, mugs. planters, canisters, coin banks and other containers depicting the century old New York brownstone buildings he had grown up in and loved. From these works flowed his production of tableware based on the familiar roadside diner, which included cookie jars, butter dishes and the like. It was a natural leap from the colorful chromed diner to the equally chromed cars of the thirties, forties and fifties. We are all fortunate that his artistic temperament and skills brought him here.

Henry Cavanagh, In His Own Words, mostly 

As I got onto larger diners in the form of cookie jars, people would ask why I stopped making cars; ... if I still made cars;... would I make a car? Some even thought the diner cookie jars were cars, or VW buses, anyway. They were no doubt confusing my work with the work of Glenn Appleman, a friend of mine, who had stopped doing cars around 1987. In 1992 I contacted Glenn and we talked about various partnership ideas, finally concluding that I should continue where he left off: developing my own ideas and styles of automobile cookie jars. CeramiCar Garage is the result.

I don't try to duplicate any specific make or model of actual car. I prefer to try to capture the style of an era using form and color. As of this writing (1993) there are about 12 cars in the CeramiCar™ fleet, comprised of four body styles. There are innumerable color variations. Each type of vehicle is a limited edition of 200. All are available as cookie jars; all can be personalized; all are signed and numbered.

I
n describing his way of working, Mr. Cavanagh says, "The work is cast by hand from molds of my original design. Each piece is stained (colored) and glazed by hand and fired in a kiln to about 1800 degrees overnight. It is then china-painted with brighter colors, gold and platinum lustres, again by hand, with some added decals of my own design. The piece is fired several more times at over 1,200 degrees. Each step takes several days, each piece takes several hours, and each firing is a risk of total loss if not done right! And each signed piece is different in various ways from every other."


I KNOW I'VE SEEN THAT SOMEWHERE BEFORE...

Cavanagh's works have been featured in over a dozen magazines and have been shown in a number of juried craft fairs. He has had commissions from the Culinary Institute of America and the Smithsonian Institution. His works are in the collections of such notables as Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, Jim Henson, Rhea Perlman, Donna Summer, Soupy Sales, and Vanna White.

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