Pottery commemorative goes modernPieces as diverse as mugs, bean pots, pigs and churns have made up the past four years of commemoratives put out by the Red Wing Collectors Society at its annual convention — and this year’s is equally unique.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Pieces as diverse as mugs, bean pots, pigs and churns have made up the past four years of commemoratives put out by the Red Wing Collectors Society at its annual convention — and this year’s is equally unique.
As the 2012 commemorative was unveiled at Red Wing High School Thursday morning, eager collectors society members waiting in line for their own pick of the litter were presented with the first view of three small, colorful vases. The Chromoline pieces fit in perfectly with the already mismatched family of commemoratives.
“There has to be a variety,” RWCS member Jack Fisher said. “Everybody has something different they like.”
Fisher, who traveled from Britt, Iowa, to attend the annual convention, said he personally prefers salt-glazed pieces, much like the churns that were selected for the commemorative last year. That still wasn’t going to stop him from getting a Chromoline vase and continuing his decades-long streak of collecting Red Wing Pottery.
Fisher actually ended up getting one of the less common styles of the commemorative this year. Only 9 percent were made with blue and yellow glazing, and he had one in his hand less than an hour after the vases were unveiled.
“I was just lucky enough to get one of the ‘B’ versions,” he said.
One person farther up in line than Fisher walked away with a “C” version, of which only 36 were made.
“You don’t know what you’re going to get until you open the box,” commemorative manager Bob Morawski said.
Morawski was in charge of selecting the commemorative, a task he’s taken on for the past four years.
“I try to mix things up,” he said.
His method worked well. Feedback from members picking up their vases revealed a lot of positive opinions, he said.
The No. 676 Chromoline vase harkens back to a design developed in the 1960s. Red Wing’s “Chromoline Handpainted” series of art pottery was produced only from the fall of 1960 to the same time in 1961.
The sweeping lines and bold shape distinctively embody the Eames Era of Modern Design. Bright colors also reflect the contemporary design of the vase.
Three sets of colors were used to create the various commemorative vases this year. Version “A” makes up 90 percent of the total vases and features orange and green glazing. A blue and yellow glaze combination makes up version “B” and version “C” has gray, pink and rust glazes.
Replicating the colors of the 1960s pieces to create thousands of commemoratives was no easy task.
“None of the colors we used were straight out of the bottle,” Melissa Schrock said. “We probably had 750-plus bad ones before we had the colors straightened out.”
Schrock works for Maple City Pottery, a company out of Monmouth, Ill., that made the 2012 commemoratives. She said after hand painting every piece, the kiln was fired daily basis for the past month and a half.
“It was definitely an adventure,” she said with a laugh.
All of the work put into each commemorative was clearly worth the effort based on the reactions people had when they reached the front of the line to pick up their piece. Smiles were seen everywhere.
“The pottery people love it,” Morawski said.