Scaling Down, Thinning Out

May 9, 2007 at 6:27 pm 26 comments

Of the cabinets full of pottery, stoneware and china that Pap and I collected over the years, my favoritebrown-collection.jpg was always the brownware.  Its collectable not so much because of what it is, but because of who made it.  The giants of the pottery industry in Ohio:  Hull, McCoy, Scio.  But I never cared about that.  These homely dishes appealed to me on an entirely different level. 

They were common ware.  Made in a time when “home making” was the only acceptable vocation for woman.  When the job of caring for home and family was not only honorable, but exalted.  These are the dishes brown-collection-two.jpgevery bride received at her shower from one grandmother or another because they were “durable”, functional- and inexpensive.  These are every day dishes, from plates, cups and bowls to casserole dishes, cookie jars, cannisters, bean pots… they made everything  a bride could want in brownware.

Its the “every day” nature of the ware that I love.  I never set them out once without thinking brown-cups.jpgof all the miners, potters and farmers that hunched over the coffee cups after a long, grueling day.  The news that must have been discussed while forks clanked on the plates…who’s getting married, who’s leaving for college, who’s leaving for Viet Nam, Korea, WW2.

Because it was old, we didn’t use our brownware all the time, but pulled it out for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.  Despite being modern day working women, the girls and I still got a thrill out of cooking and serving everything in matching dishes, from appetizers through dessert. 

Today I sell the brownware.  Its not a sad thing, its time for the brownware to go to a new home.  The buyer is a thoroughly modern professional woman. She loves the every day nature of this ware, and gets a thrill out of having everything matching. 


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

happy Irrational

26 Comments Add your own

  • 1. hammer  |  May 9, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    I started collecting that stuff about 12 years ago. I use it everyday. I have all kind’s of mix matched hull, McCoy and Weller. It’s interesting to have around.

  • 2. katcampbell  |  May 9, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    Hammer – It was our biggest industry here in this small town. They used to ship it all over the country by the train load. Weller is stunning, it was made in the city up the road.

  • 3. Shelli  |  May 10, 2007 at 3:43 am

    Why sell it? It must bring you such joy and have such precious memories.

  • 4. Mimi  |  May 10, 2007 at 5:45 am

    Everything is supposed to match?;-) I would love to have a set like that. I like mine but I would like something more durable and homey.

  • 5. QuillDancer  |  May 10, 2007 at 7:00 am

    The nice part of selling it, is that it is going to someone who appreciates it’s history just like you do.

  • 6. Catch  |  May 10, 2007 at 8:59 am

    those were the days when everyone sat down to a dinner at suppertime…now we all eat on the run it seems…..or in front of the tv. We miss all of the good conversations that mealtime used to bring…and the fellowship.

  • 7. delmonti (Dave)  |  May 10, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    its wonderful that some people still do this kinda thing, just about everything in life now is disposable….. especially unfaithful partners now buried under the patio….

    that last bit isnt true by the way….. although it does get your garden dug over on the cheap by the police.

  • 8. LauraJ  |  May 10, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    Time to move on! I have entertained the thought of letting go my kitchen table. I remember picking the thing out. I remember the sticker shock. I remember loving the wood grain and just falling in love with my table. Now I don’t love it so much and since I am moving eventually I’d like to start fresh with a different table and make new memories. This table was “ours” I want a table that says mine.

  • 9. Linda  |  May 10, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    I love dishes. My every day dishes are blue willow, but I like to have different pieces. I am a bit of a saver and would have a hard time parting with your dishes, too. Hopefully, the new owner will have as much love for them as you did.

  • 10. Mr. Fabulous  |  May 10, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    I marvel at the fact that you would think of all those miners, potters, etc. when you would use the brownware.

    Sometimes I wish I would just stop and do that about things. Or that I had the capacity to do so.

  • 11. Therevdrkate  |  May 11, 2007 at 2:29 am

    I too love pottery and the things that people create with their hands. Your brownware reminded me of my grandmother’s set – except hers was green! And she used it for everything from fancy dinners to feeding the dog! I have a “thing” about matching dishes – and I have several sets – from everyday, to slightly special, to girls over for Saturday lunch to a formal dinner for twelve. Of course, I couldn’t put twelve people in any room in my house, but it looks nice in the china cabinet!

  • 12. katcampbell  |  May 11, 2007 at 2:57 am

    Shelli – If I would still be hosting the family parties, I might have kept it. But that duty has passed to my daughter, and she has her own special set of pottery.

    Mimi – Stoneware, nothing beats stoneware for durability.

    Quilly – I don’t think I could have sold it except to this sweet young woman who will use and cherish it and then pass it herself to someone just like us.

    Catch – true. We make an effort to eat together while we have the grandkids, but once they’re back with their mother…over the kitchen sink, on the run will rule.

    Dave – LOL! You wouldn’t really want an unfaithful ex in the garden…would spoil the soil.

    Laura J – Just do it! You do need something that’s just yours.

    Linda – It’s like “playing” house when you have all the matching pieces to serve with. I’m a much better cook when I have cool dishes to use.

    Mr. Fab – A sweet, considerate guy like you doesn’t think about those that came before? That surprises me…but its not a flaw. Some of us to look forward, and some of us to remember the past.

    Dr. Kate – Ah, another dish freak. The brownware is just one of my sets, there are others all with their designated purpose. Dishes are fun.

  • 13. rel  |  May 11, 2007 at 5:05 am

    Traditions pass on, and so it goes. It’s a good thing. We still have the cups….love them full of hot chocolate.
    We could start a china shop with all the dishes in this house. D. collects dishware like I collect books.

  • 14. Leesa  |  May 11, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    I sometimes look at old coins, wondering from whose hands the coins have passed over the past sixty, eighty years.

  • 15. Janet  |  May 11, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    If you have to get rid of something, it’s better that it goes to someone who wants it and will hopefully use it. I think my mom had a few of those brownware coffee cups-I dimly remember seeing them around somewhere, not sure if we have them in the house someplace. I’ll ask her.

  • 16. Gawpo  |  May 13, 2007 at 2:38 am

    I have no Hull, McCoy or Scio. Hull makes me think of Bazza. The McCoy makes me think of all that is real. And there is a Scio, Oregon just south of Salem along I-5.

    I think only of individual potters: Tom Coleman, Pat Horsley, Wally Schwab, Don Sprague, Dave Shaner, Craig Martell, Jeff Procter. These are giants in my eyes. But as individual potters, they were shaped by the same forces that the major potteries in your area worked so hard to put out on the shelves: Solid forms with solid functions that accommodated human need.

    If I knew how to put links in a comment field, I would have linked you to my heroes. But they can be Googled.

    I love your pottery. That should be last to go.

  • 17. Gawpo  |  May 13, 2007 at 2:41 am

    If I ever get my studio up and running, I will throw you a brown mug and a brown bowl. A plain Albany slip over a white body.

  • 18. hayden  |  May 13, 2007 at 8:40 am

    Lovely. It’s good that they have a new home that will appreciate and use them. I grew up with brownware. The mugs were indestructable. Now I tend to collect odd bits in bright colors, nothing that matches, but much that coordinates well. It suits me.

  • 19. smileymama  |  May 13, 2007 at 8:57 am

    I know what you mean. I have one “good” sturdy set but love to pick up a teacup here, a tiny plate there if it just speaks to me.

  • 20. FatWhiteMan  |  May 13, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    My mother had a set of mugs just like those pictured on the bottom pic. I forgot about them until now.

  • 21. Jay  |  May 14, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    I’m glad you can pass it on to someone else who will appreciate it.

  • 22. John Linna  |  May 15, 2007 at 5:45 am

    I understand the need to seel but it is still sad.

  • 23. Mimi  |  May 16, 2007 at 6:45 am

    Stopped by to say hi!

  • 24. Nessa  |  May 16, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    The cleaning out process can be so hard. I’ve done alot of that lately, too, just because I have too much stuff. It is hard to give up things steeped in memories, but it is freeing also. You can end up feeling lighter, looking forward to new experiences.

  • 25. D. Whaeln  |  January 6, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    I’m looking to buy a few brownware plates to round out my kitchen. I have just 5 plates, so I do need a few more for those holidays when my daughters and their husbandscome home. My plates are 10 1/2 inches and are stamped USA.

  • 26. heather  |  November 9, 2008 at 8:48 am

    I LOVE my hull dishes. It’s about the only think that i still “collect”. I use mine everyday. I actually just bought 6 more dinner plates, a pie plate, a bowl, and a pitcher. although i was sad to see i neglected to notice a huge crack down the side of the pitcher. many of my pieces are worn, chipped, and grazed… and it makes me love them all the more. do you have a site where you post items for sale? thanks.


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