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Brayton Laguna Pottery Cat — now being made again by Bauer Pottery from original tooling

black cat brayton laguna design bauer potteryMy favorite kind of story: The renowned Bauer Pottery, which purchased and moved into another longtime ceramics factory, has discovered many old, original molds from now-defunct California ceramics companies among the stuff left behind. Now, they are beginning to reproduce some of these treasures. One of the first revived products: The Brayton-Laguna Pottery Cat — a statuesque mid century modern beauty that stands 16″ tall. I repeat, agog: Original tooling! Original mold! AND, I found out the name of the circa-1960 designer!

brayton laguna cat

I predict this lovely feline will be a big hit — fantastic gift! — it makes quite the statement, the pricing is reasonable, and it has a fascinating provenance. Hey, the Guggenheim has even added this cool cat to their gift shop! Meow!

Many thanks to reader Katherine for this tip! Reader/tipsters, you rock my world!

Who designed this Brayton-Laguna Cat? Jack Chipman knows!

I did a little online research to learn more about Brayton-Laguna Pottery. I felt like this story from book author Jack Chipman was the most authoritative. Brayton-Laguna employed many artists to make their designs, and diving into the google rabbit hole, I could not find any info on exactly who designed this cubist cat. So I emailed the author of the story, Jack Chipman — who also is an expert on California pottery in the 20th Century and has an impressive number of books on the topic (affiliate link) — to see if he knew. And he responded right back! He wrote:

Hello Pam,

The designer of this cat (and a few other Brayton animals) was Letitia Ann Dowd.
I know little about her, but she was definitely ultra-modern in her ceramic design work.

Woot! Thank you, Jack!

Bauer Pottery says that the cat was introduced 1960. By that date, the Brayton-Laguna’s founders had died. So if the 1960 date is correct, this mid century modern cat was developed under newer leadership.

Update: Jack read this story and wrote back:

Pam,

….I believe this cat was issued a bit later than 1960.
Perhaps mid-1960’s…meaning a very short production.
Thanks again,
Jack

So there you go: A very short original production!

About Brayton-Laguna Pottery — a very historic ceramics company 

Again, for more info about the history of Brayton-Laguna Pottery, I found California ceramics historian Jack Chipman’s article to be the go-to online primer.

brayton laguna catbrayton laguna cat pinkbrayton laguna cat white

brayton laguna cats five colors

bauer pottery mark on brayton laguna cat
There is a Bauer logo inside the piece, to distinguish it from those produced in the 1960s.

The Brayton Laguna cat is available in five stock colors — white, black, orange, aqua, and pink — and Bauer is experimenting with even more. Which color is your favorite? 

Link love:

  1. Catharine Rademacher says:

    My 3rd entry. I SO love these cats! And your page. I get tips every time I read. Thank you!!

  2. Cheryl Sweppy says:

    I love these cats! My favorite color is orange, but a black one would remind me of my sweet, sleek black boy who died in September. The aqua would match my vintage bathroom. So many choices!

  3. Gus says:

    ?… That’s a tough decision. The color would depend on which room the cat would reside in. Forced to choose one I would say that cool shade of pink, with aqua a close second because we live on the river in a floating home. Thank you for your awesome newsletter and it’s resources.

  4. Peggy says:

    Love to win any one of the Brayton Laguna Pottery Cats! Choose a color for me, I would be happy with any one!

  5. Bruce says:

    They’re giving me “cat scratch fever” but I’m “feline groovy”. I’d spray the pink one but any other color is purrfect.

  6. Angelia Norris says:

    I am lucky enough to have two original Brayton Laguna cats in matte brown with white crackle glazed eyes. One is in a position like the reproductions shown here, and the other is lying down. I am excited to learn more about them. Thank you for sharing this.

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