Friday, February 22, 2008

Let's talk transferware--A visit with the Village Curator

Okay...well I hinted at talk of transferware in one of yesterday's blog entries. I took a few minutes to catch up with Ivette Ray, Log Cabin Village curator, to ask her a little more about the new content in one of our exhibit cases:

Rena: What made you decide to put together an exhibit on transferware?

Ivette: We have a small but nice collection of ceramics and I thought people would be interested to know not only the history of transferware and but also what ceramic can reveal about the past. The exhibit also contains an iron stone set with the tea-leaf pattern that is not transferware.

Rena: What role did transferware play in 19th century life and culture?

Ivette: Transferware was popular in the 19th century because it gave middle-class families the ability to have nicer tableware since the transferware process allowed for mass production. The designs in transferware also reveal some of the popular styles at the time, such as a craze for things from the orient. There were also many patriotic themes exalting the new nation.

Rena: What piece do you find particularly interesting? Why?

Ivette: The purple transferware piece is beautiful. It is interesting also because of its pattern. Although there is no potter’s mark to help date the piece, I was able to find someone who could not only date it but identify the potter simply because of the pattern.

Rena: Why should visitors check out the exhibit?

Ivette: They should check it out once they are here to enjoy the beautiful pieces. Although the exhibit is only one case, they will also learn the history of the willow pattern which continuous to be quite popular to this day. Also, I think it will help dispel the myth that pioneers didn’t have anything pretty. Not everything on the frontier was hand-made and merely functional. Many families made room for what was important to them. In many instances, the china made the trip west.

Thanks Ivette!!

For more information on transferware, please visit the Transferware Collectors Club...

--Rena--Museum Educator

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