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Chester Nicodemus

Chester Nicodemus (1901-1990) was a potter, known for his small clay birds fashioned from variously colored, high-iron-content Ohio clays. Several Clintonville residents showed me some of his birds as well as commemorative plates made for the Clintonville Women’s Club. He made teapots and pitchers, robins, eagles, and other wildlife.

Nicodemus earned a degree from Cleveland Art School in 1923 and then taught art at Dayton Art Institute and Wittenberg College. In 1932 he became dean of Columbus Art School, now known as Columbus College of Art and Design. He later taught at Ohio State University and served as president of the Columbus Art League.

Nicodemus lived and had his studio (Nicodemus Ferro-Stone Ceramics) on Clinton Heights Avenue. There he produced more than 1,000 molds in his basement workshop. He had two home-made kilns in the garage, which also housed a showroom. Nicodemus pieces are known for their translucent glaze highlighting the clay’s red tint and producing russet brown undertones. Upon Nicodemus’ death and at his request, all the molds and glazes were destroyed. (Photo courtesy of Darrell Nicodemus)

7 Responses to “Chester Nicodemus”

  1. Steve Nash Says:

    My artist mother, Mary Nash, knew Mr. Nicodemus. I remember as a child visiting his home and basement studio with my mother. Besides his Nativity set, I think the yearly Christmas ornaments he made and sent out were some of his most interesting works.

  2. K. Flood Says:

    I met Mr. Nicodemus once when I lived in Columbus…what a artist and a kind, quiet man. Do you know if he made any ceramic birdhouses? Thanks!

  3. Judy Devine Says:

    I visited with Chester Nicodemus in his shop many times because it was near our Clintonville Business. One of my most amusing memories was a lady shopper buying Christmas ornaments. Excuse my description, but she seemed a bit of a snob when she bluntly asked him “How old are you?” Chester responded with his own question; “How old are you?” And that was it. End of conversation. I’m still laughing.

  4. Joe Motil Says:

    I lived at 360 Clinton Hts. from 1957 – 78 and Mr. Nicodemus resided at 447 Clinton Hts. Myself and other kids in the neighborhood would visit him on occasion while he was tinkering around in his garage. He was a very kind man and seemed to enjoy talking to kids. He had a kiln in the garage and his ceramic pieces that were for sale were placed on wood shelves in the garage. He gave me a tour of his basement where he kept many of his molds. They were everywhere. I recall he also created a bust of Emerson Burkhart (whom he was friends with while attending OSU) which was in his garage at some point. He also told me he had been commissioned to do the bust of surgeon or prominent doctor. He bragged about this special Italian clay that he used when making a bust. I remember him telling me the clay had a shelf life of 50 years. He had a studio for working on these bust’s at the east side of the house. I purchased many of his ceramic pieces when I was younger and as gifts for my family. I have a price list of his pieces from 1978 that I will submit to this site for viewing.

  5. Edgar Garner Says:

    Calling all Nicodemus pottery Fans. I’ve made a Facebook fanpage for Mr. Nicodemus.


  6. Jay Says:

    I might be a owner of one of his busts.
    I bought it a a country home south of Columbus, at a garage sale. It looks like Chester Nicodemus works but it is not signed. It is a very bald older man done in a pale white.
    Would love to share a picture of it and get some opinions.

  7. shyatt Says:

    See that other comment re. a Chester Nicodemus Facebook page!

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