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Red Wing Stoneware produces commemorative

By Ruth Nerhaugen, Contributor

For only the second time, the annual RWCS commemorative was made in Red Wing. It’s also the second time an accessory was made to complement the piece.

Nearly all of the commemoratives, starting with the salt-glaze crock made in 1977, have been produced in Monmouth, Illinois, according to Commemorative Manager Bob Morawski of New Berlin, Wisconsin.

“We had a long relationship with Western Stoneware in Monmouth,” Morawski said. But that company went out of business, and the collectors society turned to Red Wing Stoneware Co. for the 2007 commemorative — a 5-gallon birch leaf threshing jug.

The following year, which was Morawski’s first year as commemorative manager, Western Stoneware reopened and the piece was again made there. Then for four years, Maple City Pottery of Monmouth made the commemorative.

That company also has gone out of business, and the society again looked to Red Wing.

“We think it’s a benefit to have the piece made in Red Wing,” Morawski said, pointing out that when the RWCS was formed there was no pottery in Red Wing so they had to look outside the area.

“It’s been great working with Bruce and Irene Johnson,” the new owners of both Red Wing Stoneware and Red Wing Pottery, he said. Being right in town means “We can work closer together.”

The 2014 commemorative — what it is remains a secret until Thursday of convention week — again will come in three versions. Of the nearly 3,000 pieces being made, 90 percent will be A, 9 percent B, and 38 pieces will be C version.

The accessory will be available only to people who attend the convention in person, Morawski said, noting that the concept was very popular with members last year.

Members will be able to pick up their commemoratives Thursday morning at Red Wing High School. From 1 to 4 p.m. that day, Morawski is moving the distribution out to the Red Wing Stoneware factory on Moundview Drive in West Red Wing.

People will be able to pick up their commemoratives, tour the premises and enjoy food. In addition, the Johnsons will be unveiling their Christmas ornament that day.

Distribution will return to the high school Friday morning and afternoon and Saturday morning.

Morawski also reported that the special pieces ordered by RWCS chapters will be 2-gallon water coolers with lids. Each club can order one with special artwork to sell at the silent auction in the high school cafeteria.

He was able to retain the services of Melissa Giles from Maple City Pottery to again do the artwork on those special pieces.