A Night in Philly, Another New Addiction
As you have no doubt discovered, Saturday mornings often come with a few regrets, some accompanied by an internal sledgehammer pounding on one of our frontal lobes. When I awoke in a Philadelphia hotel room this past Saturday morning during the annual American Art Pottery Association convention, I quickly discovered that I was not alone. There, sitting a few feet away from my bloodshot eyes, were six pieces of newly acquired, matte blue and green art pottery.
The problem they presented, you see, is that I am not a pottery collector.
I raised two boys and too many pets to count in a house dominated by uncompromising, unbending, and unbreakable mission oak furniture. When it came to art pottery, we only had one rule: if it won’t bounce, don’t buy it.
Those two sons are now living on their own at opposite ends of the country and will, I presume, conclude their college educations with permanent residences someplace other than our basement. At least that is my plan.
Our smattering of art pottery here in our house consists of a few pieces made by contemporary potters, plus what I call our “cheap, green pots.” Obviously, I would not want to see any of them get broken, but if it should happen, well, at least it wouldn’t be a rare Grueby vase hand thrown by George Kendrick.
On Friday evening, however, I found myself sitting in the back row of the annual auction to benefit the American Art Pottery Association. More than 300 pieces of antique and contemporary art pottery had been donated to the fund-raiser (as well as a two-person, two-night Arts and Crafts Conference weekend package, my contribution), so I thought that even I, a devout wood worshipper, should at least make an appearance in support of the AAPA.
Eight lots into the sale Peter Gehres, the auctioneer, began asking for bids on a 7″ matte blue vase signed with the Marblehead Pottery stamp. Not knowing anything about current Marblehead values, I expected it to sell for a couple of hundred dollars, so when the bidding sputtered at just forty dollars, I couldn’t keep my hand from flying over my head. I won the Marblehead vase for a hundred dollars and suddenly I started pouring over the catalog like a bookie over the racing form at the Kentucky Derby.
I wasn’t able to get the 8″ Eric Olson Calla Lilly vase, but nailed two Door Pottery vases for a fraction of what they were selling for at the Grove Park Inn show in February. I followed that with an antique Hampshire vase (pictured) with a strong geometric design under a matte green glaze, and then …, well, I think you get the picture.
I was hooked.
I finally quit when I realized that in order to get every pot I had bought into my overnight bag, I would have to wear all the clothes I had brought with me to the airport. By the time I waddled over to the security line at the airport with my bulging bag, I looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy on steroids.
But now, as I sit here at our dining room table tapping out this week’s column, I can look around and see just how great my new matte blue and green vases look on our brown Arts and Crafts furniture.
Some addictions just aren’t so bad….
Until next Monday,
Thanks for stopping by!