Red Wing Spongeware
Now that the thrift stores have been reopened, I can get my weekly fix of low-budget collectables.
These days, my interests are in hand-made pottery pieces—sometimes arty, sometimes what might be generously called “plebeian.” The bowl shown above was hiding among the usual tacky modern Chinese vases in a nearby Goodwill. Made sometime in the 1920s, it had a advertisement printed under the glaze in the bottom of the bowl:
Herman is a small town in west-central Minnesota, Allen was probably a general store or perhaps a feed mill. Red Wing Pottery was, at one time, the largest pottery in the United States. It lasted nearly one hundred years, but foreign competition and labor problems shut it down in 1967. The name has been resurrected from time to time, but antique shops throughout the upper Midwest are still saturated with the original stuff. The advertising ware is popular with collectors.
One problem with collecting any kind of ceramics (or collecting anything for that matter) is finding a use for it. In this case, the smaller size of the piece made it a perfect place to park my markers and pens: