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MY SOCK MONKEY PICKS AT:  Sock Monkey Paintings and More!

March/April 2004
COLLECTIONS Page 1 (goto Page 2)

Wonderful collections, on display in our homes, can reflect our personality and style. The whole process of collecting can be very satisfying, from the excitement of hunting for the perfect piece to displaying them so our family and friends can enjoy them.


If your collections are already overflowing, it may be time to evaluate what you already have, and see if they bring you the same joy they did when you first started collecting them. If they do not it may be time to let them go. It is nice to pass once prized collection pieces on to someone else who will appreciate them. If you are not ready to let your prized pieces go, but they do not fit with your current lifestyle, (like grandma's quilts), it may be time to store them so they can be enjoyed later. If they do still make you smile, but they are overflowing your space, it may be time to just downsize your collections or find a new way to display them.


While we make a conscience effort to start some collections like baseball cards and Hummels, other collections start off just because we stumble upon something we find adorable or pretty, and before we know it, we have a collection.

Researching and learning more about our collections can help us make more knowlegable choices when selecting pieces. It is also very satisfying to understand the history of the pieces we own. Read all you can on your collections and never pass up the oportunity to talk with seasoned collectors.

If you are collecting vintage or antique ceramics, always be aware that there may be lead in the clay or glaze which can get into food served or stored in them. If you are not sure if your ceramic ware contains lead, use them for display only.

A new collection may be just what is needed to make chores more enjoyable. If you find making dinner to be an unpleasant chore, surrounding yourself with pretty, nostalgic, or whimsical kitchenware is one way to bring more joy into your kitchen. If you already enjoy cooking, adding wonderful food preparation or serving pieces to your kitchen, might make cooking that much more satisfying.

Here are some popular or interesting kitchenware collections to consider:

Blue Onion tableware

According to A Brief History of Zwiebelmuster - Onion Pattern Porcelain the blue onion design, also known as "Onion China" was developed when Europeans first began producing their own china designs. The design is created on porcelain by inglazing a blue floral motif of stylized peonies and asters intertwined with bamboo and surrounded by peaches and pomegranates.

Blue Willow tableware

According to Gladstone Pottery Museum: Sheet 49 - The History and Origin of the Traditional Willow Design the Blue Willow design originated in Ching-te-chen in Kiangsi Province of China during the 1700's. The pattern depicts a tragic love story, and while designs vary slightly, they usually includes boats, people, trees and buildings. The design became very popular in Europe and Europeans began producing replacement pieces and copies.

Bottle Openers

The above metal can opener is about 4 1/2 inches long and has a hook to open bottles located under its tail. Vintage bottle openers can make a fun and inexpensive collection.

Cast Iron Trivets

Vintage cast iron trivets also make a wonderful and eye catching collection. The pictured trivet is approximately 8 1/2 inches long with a graceful scroll design known as the Family Tree.

Condiment Pots

Condiment pots come in many different shapes and sizes. They range from the elegant to the whimsical. Deforest of California made some whimsical character mustard and garlic pots. The pictured strawberry preserve pot is about 4 inches high and is made of milk glass.

Egg Coddlers

Egg coddlers are also a popular collectible. They are a covered dish used to make a coddled eggs. To make this egg dish, an egg or two is put inside a buttered coddler, and the coddler is placed in a pan of shallow simmering water for several minutes. Elegant coddlers from Royal Worchester are highly prized. My personal favorites are Irish porcelain coddlers made by Wade.

Egg Cups

Egg cups range from whimsical to elegant and are a popular collectible. To view a large collection on-line visit Bob's Eggcup World.

English Face Pots

Collecting Face Pots is popular in England. They are adorable and whimsical, with their expressive faces. Sylvac Face Pots are the most desirable, but my personal favorites are Sadler Face Pots. Other popular brands are Carlton Ware and Unique Pottery, but there are many pots which are unmarked. The "Onions" Face Pot above is by Sadler and about 6 inches high. The "Apple Sauce" Face Pot is by Price Kensingtion and about 4 inches high.

Ironstone tableware

In 1813 English potter Charles Mason patented a new ceramic formula containing iron slag. This pottery was more affordable and durable then most pottery of it's day. American's were drawn to plain white Ironstone, and it was widely imported from England. Also potteries in American created their own Ironstone in the decades that followed.

Nut Crackers

When I think of nut crackers the first ones that come to mind are the decrative wooden soldier nutcrackers from Germany. But there are also wonderful vintage cast iron or brass nut crackers in the form of dogs, alligators, and other creatures.

Salt-glazed American pottery

Salt-glazed pottery is also very collectible. The Pfaltzgraff Co. which, according to their website, is the oldest pottery maker in the U.S. began as a modest shop that produced salt-glazed stoneware. The earliest salt-glazed crocks and jugs were used to preserve and store food. Old Red Wing salt-glazed crocks are a favorite with collectors, and while they discontinued salt-glazed stoneware in the 1930's, in 1996 they started producing modern day salt-glazed stoneware. Modern day salt-glazed stoneware from Rowe Pottery Works in Wisconsin has also been popular with collectors. Unfortunately, Rowe Pottery Works, which opened in 1975 announced it was closing it's doors in 2004 due to financial difficulties. But there are still wonderful salt-glazed stoneware being produced today by potteries such as Salmon Falls in New Hampshire.

Souvenir Plates

Souvenir Plates are also an interesting collectible. Collect plates which feature places which are meaningful to you.

Tea Bag Holders

If you like drinking tea, tea bag holders make an interesting and very usable collection. The teapot shaped holders seem to be the most available, but other shapes can be whimsical and fun.

Transferware tableware

Transferware refers to any tableware or other ceramic piece where the design was created using a copper engraving and transferred to the piece using a special tissue paper. While blue is the most popular transferware color, other colors have been produced as well.

Walking Ware

Walking Ware are whimsical tableware items which were made with legs. The pictured teapot is about 6 1/2 inches tall and was made by Carltonware. Marked Carltonware items are the most popular for collectors, but other companies, such as Price Kensington also made Walking Ware items.

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