It's the season for GATHERING. . .and I've spent the past week transforming our Keeping Room and Kitchen into a reflection of Times Past. . .but with a FARMHOUSE FLAIR. .
When I begin to think about PLAIN AND SIMPLE FARMHOUSE decor, the first thing I go to is my growing collection of VINTAGE STONEWARE. ..
American pottery comes in all styles and sizes. . .Over the years dozens of small manufacturers have fed the American appetite for this common STONEWARE, hitting an all time high in the early 20th century. . .Yet until recently, most collectors found them too common, uninteresting and drab. . .It was during these years that I was able to collect so many for very little cash. . .Of course we all know how popular they are today with the FARMHOUSE STYLE. . .These sturdy crocks and jugs have found many admirers and are still readily available. . .although at a higher cost.
Original American STONEWARE was made from a thick, white clay found in New York, New Jersey and the Mid-Atlantic states. . .Because of the firing temperature, decoration was limited to blue, black and brown. . .with simple flowers incised directly onto the wet ware. . .Free-hand decoration also became popular over the decades. . .adorning the CROCKS and JUGS with all manner of flora and fauna.
By the early 20th century, the average Farm Family owned numerous pieces because mechanization made it possible to produce volumes of pottery items. . .Stoneware mixing bowls, pitchers, storage crocks, jugs and chamber pots were produced in quantities. . .It is the 20th century pieces that most collectors find on the market today.
In our local Delta area, most of the STONEWARE came from Marshall, Texas, where at one time there were several POTTERIES. . .Marshall was closer and cheaper than many of the Northern companies. . .My Grandmother had a mix. . .possessions I prize today. . .
This WINTER I plan to put most of my STONEWARE to work. . .carrying on earlier family traditions. . .I have kraut. . .my Grandmother's crunchy pickles. . .dried apples and pears. . .mincemeat. . .extra basics such as salt, flour, and sugar to store. . .Soon I'll be baking many PUMPKIN and APPLESAUCE BREADS for Christmas gifts and will put to work those super-sized STONEWARE mixing bowls, too. . .
I do LOVE a CROCK AND STONEWARE COLLECTION. . .After centuries of favored use, they continue to be the WORK HORSE of the FARMHOUSE KITCHEN. . .at least in mine they are. . .PLAIN AND SIMPLE. . .