Clay, it turned out, was especially suited to the Art Nouveau aesthetic. Its malleable organic nature let turn-of-the-century artisans shape it into the sinewy lines, feminine curves, and scrolling vines. The introduction of new glazing techniques added luscious bright contrasting colors, which also appealed to Art Nouveau sensibilities. Like the Arts and Crafts movement that had evolved in England, Art Nouveau was borne out of a rejection of mass-produced objects in stuffy Victorian styles. While Arts and Crafts embraced handmade simplicity, Art Nouveau was more about discarding rigid design rules and creating beautiful, asymmetrical, and sensual objects, so that utilitarian craft pieces were as gorgeous as works of fine art. These new movements inspired major china and dinnerware manufacturers around Europe and the United States to open boutique art-pottery studios, where gifted artists and chemists were often given free rein to experiment, throw pots by hand, and test glazing techniques. Some studios focused on glazing and firing techniques, striving to achieve the perfect color, opacity, and texture. In particular, the firing process often led to unpredictable outcomes, such as uneven color, veins, or blisters��such "imperfections" gave each piece a unique character. Often the pots were plain in shape, blank canvases to adorn with beautiful colors, textures, and painted imagery. French Art Nouveau craftsmen developed two-tone marbleized and crystalline effects, as well as deep flamb�� reds and metallic glazes in rich blues, yellows, oranges, and purples. Other ceramists put their energy into creating unique shapes for their pots, making fluid-looking vases inspired by Japanese ceramics.

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