Art Pottery Bird Bank by Bill Heyduck Studio Dated 1973
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This plump, partridge-ey bird was created by stoneware potter Bill Heyduck (1928-2015) of Charlotte, Illinois. Heyduck owned and operated Heyduck Stoneware, begun in 1971 in Charlotte. He started out as a painter, but a ceramics class with the illustrious potter/sculptor David Shaner changed his course. Articles about his work have been featured in ceramics magazines and his stoneware art is in several permanent collections. He retired from his post as Professor of Art at Eastern Illinois University after 29 years, having received the Distinguished Faculty Award for 1995; he passed away in 2015.
This charming, sculpted bird is made of heavy brown stoneware clay that Heyduck glazed in a creamy, speckled beige. There are vertical grooves on each side with blue and ochre lines that simulate feathers. Two blue-rimmed holes for eyes gaze out over an open brown beak that gives the bird such a happy expression, with a stylized tail at the opposite end. It's also functional as a coin bank, with a slot cut into its upper back---although it's a bit more difficult to get the money out than in. The dry bottom is incised "Heyduck 1973" and three protective circles have been applied (sensibly, not over the signature). It measures about 8 inches long, 5 inches tall to the top of the head and has a base 4 inches wide by 5 inches long. It weighs 1 1/2 pounds and is in excellent condition, as if it were made yesterday. It's a nice early example of Bill Heyduck's artistry in stoneware.