Drake, Dave – The Slave Potter

Dave Drake, the Slave Potter

The potter known as Dave the Slave was born circa 1800 in an area devoted to pottery making. The Edgefield District of South Carolina had the clay, workforce and demand to make it the area’s pottery capital. Large pottery factories dotted the district, most operating with slave labor. Their products were essential to life on the early to mid-19th century plantation where pottery served as refrigerator, Mason jar and [...] Click here to continue reading.

Clarice Cliff Pottery

Clarice Cliff (1899-1972)

Colorful & Quirky Ceramics

The Newport Pottery Bizarre Girls created bold Art Deco ware. Clarice Cliff’s hugely popular Art Deco era pottery features simple, streamlined forms decorated in brilliant colors and eye-catching patterns.

Clarice Cliff, one of eight children in a pottery making family grew up in the heart of Staffordshire pottery country in England. By the age of 17 she was working as a decorator at Wilkinson’s Royal Pottery where [...] Click here to continue reading.

Gemel Pottery Jug or Bottle

Gemels

The pottery form known as a gemel, also gemel jug or gemel bottle, is one of the rarest forms in American stoneware. The word is derived from the Latin word “geminus,” meaning twin, double, paired, or half-and-half. The plural of this same word, “gemini,” is used to refer to the constellation composed of twin brothers, Castor and Pollux, of Greek mythology. The words “twin” or “double” definitely come to mind when one thinks [...] Click here to continue reading.

Hires Root Beer, Googly Eyed Man

Hires Root Beer

While traveling in 1875, Charles E. Hires, a Philadelphia pharmacist, first tasted root beer. Root beer, traditionally made with sassafras, was a popular “small beer” or low-alcoholic drink in the colonial era, and was becoming popular in an alcohol-free format. While root beer has a long history, it has a wide range of recipes that call for everything from birch bark to vanilla, molasses to juniper berries, so Hires set out [...] Click here to continue reading.

Chief Sitting Bull – Sioux – Tatanka-Iyotanka

Sitting Bull, Sioux Chief (circa 1831 to 1890)

Sitting Bull, the man who would later become the Hunkpapa Sioux chief, was born in South Dakota, near the Grand River. His Lakota name was Tatanka-Iyotanka. In his thirties, he began to build his reputation as a warrior, leading war parties in Red Cloud’s War against a number of Dakota Territory forts. Although the U.S. negotiated with the Sioux in order to end the war and [...] Click here to continue reading.

Hoosier and the Hoosier Group

Hoosier and the Hoosier Group

The word “Hoosier” is one of those words whose origins are lost to time. Even The Oxford English Dictionary offers no real guidance about where the word came from. What we do know is that “Hoosier” was first documented in the mid-1820s, and within a decade, it had entered general usage. John Finley, a Hoosier himself from Richmond, write a poem titled, “The Hoosier’s Nest” that was published in [...] Click here to continue reading.

Ormolu – non-furniture

Ormolu

Ormolu, an 18th-century English term, is from the French phrase or moulu, with “or” indicating gold and “moulu” being a form of an old French verb moudre, which means “to grind up.” (This French term for this technique is bronze dore.) This idea of “ground-up gold”refers to the production process of ormolu, where high-quality gold is finely powdered and added to a mercury mixture and applied to a bronze object. Modern usage often [...] Click here to continue reading.

Jacob Medinger

Jacob Medinger Pennsylvania Sgraffito decorated redware plate with deer decoration, p4A item B185545 Jacob Medinger

The Pennsylvania German potter Jacob Medinger was the son of William Medinger, who immigrated in 1854 to Pennsylvania from Wurttemberg, Germany, where he had served his potter’s apprenticeship. The Medingers settled in Neiffer (Limerick Township) in Montgomery County where he set up his own pottery in 1855, an area selected for the local clay deposits that were suitable [...] Click here to continue reading.

Apocryphal – definition

Apocryphal – Definition

Apocryphal, the adjective form, means “of doubtful authenticity,” according to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. Apocrypha, the noun form, means “writings or statements of dubious authenticity,” again according to Merriam-Webster.

Apocrypha is actually a Greek word that means something closer to “obscure” or “hidden away.” The original meaning of the word, the Apocrypha in the proper noun sense, refers to religious texts outside of the traditional or accepted religious canon. Through connection with [...] Click here to continue reading.

Cassolette – definition

Cassolette

“Cassolette,” the diminutive form of the French word “cassole,” means small container. While the word has other meanings, in the world of decorative arts, it refers to a small covered vase meant to hold perfumed substances or incense. A cassolette normally has holes pierced in the shoulders and in the cover to allow the scent to drift out. Frequently, mounted vases that were not originally designed as cassolettes have had a pierced metal [...] Click here to continue reading.

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