While I didn't know it when I bought it--though I was pretty sure it was something special--I've learned that this gorgeous, hand thrown stoneware vase is by well-known ceramic artist Marlis Schratter. I believe it dates to the late 60s or earlyish 1970s, and is to my eye a pretty perfect vessel--earthy and also really elegant, visceral and substantial, with great lines and interesting from all the way around. Many of her pieces feature impressed patterns-- made with thumbprints or other tools; the pattern here looks to me like it might have been made with the end of an old skeleton key but I'm not sure!
Born in Germany in 1919, Schratter emigrated to the US in 1940. She studied ceramics with Olin Russum at the Baltimore Museum School, with Norman Arsenault at the Boston Museum School, and with Toshiko Takaezu the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. In addition to exhibiting widely, she taught at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, where she became head of their Ceramics Department. She retired from making pottery around 1980.
In what looks to me to be perfect condition. 7 1/8" t x 4 1/4" w x 4 1/8" d. Signed (incised) Marlis on the underside.