Gainey Ceramics’ 1960s Cylinder Planter — still available new — with more vintage revivals to come

gainey ceramics cylinder planters

Updatee: Gainey closed in 2013. See this short story in the LA Times.

I will keep this story up for historical purposes.

The folks at Gainey Ceramics saw that I mentioned their planters a while back, and emailed me that they have a new website, including online sales, and a new “Modern” line. They mentioned their “Vintage” pieces, too, so you know I jumped on that question. Yes: Iconic Gainey Ceramics “Cylinder” planters like the two orange beauties above, which were designed by Steve Gainey in the 1960s, are still available. gainey ceramicsStephanie, who wrote me, also confirmed that Gainey Ceramics will be bringing more vintage molds out of their vault — watch next for the “Olla” design. These planters are Perfect for mid century homes, inside and out, and they come in multitude of sizes and colors, for tremendous design flexibility. In fact, just this week DH was talking about how he needed some new planters — Father’s Day is coming soon — a match!

Stephanie writes:

You wrote in one of your blog posts a while back about discovering our line of “handcrafted” ceramics. Gainey has been creating California ceramics for over 60 years and is a third generation owned company. We just updated our website to better reflect our vintage history and feature our new “Gainey Modern” collection which is on display at the American Museum of Ceramic Art. We also just opened an online retail store, where Gainey fans can now purchase Gainey Modern as well as some Gainey Vintage pieces with designs dating back to the 1950s.

gainey ceramics mixing bowls

…  I have attached above a couple of different photos in regards to our Vintage Gainey pieces currently featured in our new web store.  The pictures are of our mixing bowls, which were originally designed and marketed back in the 1950’s by Steve Gainey’s grandfather and father.

gainey ceramics cylinder planter

I have also attached a couple of photos of our iconic cylinder, which is the favorite of our mid-century following and a trademark Gainey piece to collectors.  This piece was originally designed and introduced to the market in the early 1960’s by Steve’s Grandfather and father as the C series.  As market demand and needs altered in the 70’s, Steve tweaked the design a bit and it became the AC (Cylinder) series, which up until today continues to be our number one selling ceramic piece.

avocado gainey planter


As part of our launch of our new web store, we are offering two new colors that are inspired specifically by our cult following of the 60s & 70s — the Aqua and Avocado.

john gainey with ollas planterWe intend on continuing to not only design new pieces with our trademark clean, modern edge, but we also will be resurrecting more of our Vintage designs from our mold vault.  In fact, we do intend to make available shortly our Olla, which was the first design and product that Gainey Ceramics really brought to market and established us as a player in the California Ceramic’s marketplace. The [photo above] is an early photo of Steve Gainey’s grandfather standing by Ollas from when the factory first began production.  At this point, we are still intending on featuring the Ollas through our website and have resurrected the mold, but we are still a bit away from that happening at this point.  We need to still source the spout as well as a wooden stand to offer a complete product.

gainey ceramics mixing bowlGainey Ceramics is one of the very last true California Handcrafted Ceramics factories left from the 1940-1950’s period.

gainey ceramics circle pots
Ooooh! The “Modern” circle pots are lovely, too!

I believe we are the last original, continually functioning, family-owned factory.  The couple other smaller factories are ones that the designs were purchased by outside entities after the closure earlier years and brought back to market.


Stephanie Jones
Gainey Ceramics

I also asked Stephanie to explain Gainey’s view of the current market, especially for vintage-inspired products like theirs. She answered:

Lastly, in regards to your question of our view of the market and how we are looking to situate ourselves, our belief is that Gainey Ceramics has become very unique in that we are the last remaining factory truly dating back to the historic 1940-60s period of California Handcrafted ceramics.  gainy pottery planterMost of our current contemporaries that your audience may know like Bauer, Architectural Pottery, Heath, are now owned by outside entities that purchased the designs/name and continue to supply the market.  Gainey Ceramics is the only factory from that time period that we are aware of that still is owned by the original family and has continually been operating from our opening in 1949.  Though we have spent many millions of dollars updating certain aspects of our facility to allow us to become more efficient and environmentally friendly, we continue to incorporate and utilize machinery and old world craftsmanship in some cases dating back well over 100 years.  In fact, some of our current craftsmen have been with Gainey Ceramics for over 40+ years producing our ceramics and will be difficult to replace in that this is increasingly become an extinct art in America.  I believe we are the melding of the two worlds in that Gainey Ceramics is historically important within our ceramic realm and yet appeals because of our design sense to a very modern clientele.  Basically, Gainey Ceramics incorporates the beauty of old world craftsmanship with a clean, modern design and our current offerings show both those aspects.

Thank you, Stephanie — good pitch! And seriously, DH is getting a planter in June, you solved a big problem!


  1. John says:

    Once again, you have exposed one of my best mid-century resources! Do you or Gainey have any suggestions on how I might restore the finish and luster to the vintage gainey pots that I already have?

    1. Hi John,

      As time goes by and with exterior exposure, ceramics glazes can craze. To keep them looking their best, a regular washing using a product like Lime Away, followed by an application of a good quality tile sealer will keep the glaze surface looking it’s best for years to come.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Jim says:

    Hi Pam,
    On this page you have a picture of a beige colored Gainey mixing bowl. I wanted to know is that for sale or do you know of anyone selling a bowl just like the one in the picture you posted. The Gainey retail store does not sell them. I was just wondering, because I have been looking for a bowl just like the one in the picture for a while with no luck.



  3. Stephen says:

    I’m sorry to report that Steve Gainey has decided to retire, without a successor, and shut down the ceramic production at his factory as of the end of this month. Gainey will continue to manufacture fiberglass planters, but their trademark ceramic will no longer be produced–at least not in their California factory. This is the sad end of an era, just when Heath is building a new factory. The announcement hit the L.A. Times a week ago and there’s not much left in stock, as dealers rushed to buy up much of the existing stock. If there’s something you need and have been putting off, it might be good to try to find it now. Many of the MCM houses in Southern California used Gainey cylinder planters. It’s possible that someone will buy up the molds and equipment, or that Gainey will move production offshore but at this time, there’s no indication that production will continue.

  4. Cheryl says:





  5. Paul says:

    Hi Pam,
    As a longtime fan of yours, I have to say thanks for providing such a great and comprehensive web site!

    I have a question about Gainey pots. I just purchased my first Gainey this weekend and absolutely love it! The pot I bought was on discount because it has several cracks and even part of it has broken off and been glued back on.

    My question is, what is a good way to reinforce the crack and maybe even try to putty it up? My next question is, what is a good paint to use on it to cover the repaired crack?

    Thanks in advance!

  6. Cheryl says:

    I am still interested in the BLACK 12″ -14″ Gainey Ceramics’ 1960s Cylinder Planter — still available new — with more vintage revivals to come.

    Please let me know when you have theses.

    thank you

    1. pam kueber says:

      Cheryl, as far as I know, Gainey no longer produces these – head over to their website to check the latest status….

  7. jazmaan says:

    Spent the last two days gardening in my mid-mod home. Found about a dozen Gainey pots ranging from small to huge. Red, yellow, blue and pink. My mom had them half buried in foliage so it was really a fun discovery. Especially since I had no idea they were collectible until I went looking online for more “cylindrical pots” to complement the ones we have.

  8. Carolyn says:

    Question, years later: is there any information on the full size range these gorgeous planters came in? And a color range? Did anyone ever purchase the molds and/or glaze formulas? Thanks!

  9. Scott Faye says:

    My name is Scott. I have 3 planter pots. They are marked Gainey Ceramics T-8. I have 2 that are blood orange with black speckles and 1 that is avacado green. What are they worth?

  10. Tiffany says:

    Hello. Where can we find similar products (ie cylinder ceramic matte pots) now that gainey has closed that production? Thanks so much.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Hi Tiffany, I think there are a lot of companies that now make these — from low- to high-price. I’d suggest doing an online search trying a variety of search terms.

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