Kids, get ready to paintFor many young Red Wing Pottery collectors, getting to paint a genuine piece of Red Wing Pottery each summer during the Red Wing Collectors Society’s annual convention is a thrill.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
For many young Red Wing Pottery collectors, getting to paint a genuine piece of Red Wing Pottery each summer during the Red Wing Collectors Society’s annual convention is a thrill.
But, that project, which is part of the society’s KidsView program, was put in jeopardy when more than 200 restaurant blanks were stolen from a storage shed last November. Without those pieces, the children would have nothing to paint, and program coordinators worried that they would have to scrap the project.
“It’s getting very, very difficult to find the plates and we’ve stocked up and it’s all gone,” Sue Jones Tagliapietra, co-chair of the Kids View program, said last fall.
About 100 of the stolen blanks were recovered in a Lake City antique store in December, but the future of the program was still uncertain.
All of that changed when the Red Wing Elks Club agreed to donate about 200 pieces of the blank Red Wing Pottery to the program.
“This should bring our stock up to what we had before the theft,” said Stacy Wegner, the society’s executive director.
The Elks Club had been using those restaurant blanks as dinnerware for weekly meals up until several years ago, when members opted for less heavy plates and bowls, Elks President Steph Riegelman said. Since then, the pottery has been in the club basement.
“I honestly don’t think that most of our members knew that we had them in storage down there,” Riegelman said.
That is except for longtime Elks member Steve Vagasky.
“He talked to me at a Red Wing Collectors meeting,” Wegner said. “He said the Elks Club has some of the restaurant dinnerware.”
Vagasky worked with Wegner and the Elks Club to coordinate the donation.
“It just kind of ended up being one of those things that was the right thing to do,” Riegelman said.
The pottery was officially turned over to the Collectors Society in an informal ceremony Friday evening.
“I’m just super excited about this whole thing,” Wegner said. “It’s a blessing we get to keep the program going.”