Red Wing Stoneware to manufacture the 2014 commemorative

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Red Wing, MN – Red Wing Collectors Society (RWCS) Commemorative Manager Bob Morawski has selected Red Wing Stoneware to manufacture the 2014 RWCS Commemorative. Red Wing Pottery will assist with the manufacturing process and will also turn out cobalt-decorated 2 gallon salt glaze water coolers as the special pieces that will be auctioned off to benefit the Society during the club’s annual Convention, July 10-12, 2014.

“I’m excited to work with new owners Bruce and Irene Johnson,” Bob says. “Keeping Red Wing Stoneware and Red Wing Pottery alive and in Red Wing is huge for the community, so this is the perfect time to have them create our Commemorative.”

The Johnsons purchased Red Wing Stoneware from previous owner Tom Woodruff last November and then bought Red Wing Pottery from Scott Gillmer in December. Red Wing Pottery was owned by the Gillmer family ever since former Red Wing Potteries President Richard Gillmer bought out the company’s assets after the Potteries closed in 1967.

“The Johnson’s passion and vision for Red Wing Stoneware and Red Wing Pottery will benefit the RWCS organization, the membership, the community of Red Wing, and so many more,” adds Stacy Wegner, RWCS executive director. “We can’t wait for Convention to see it all in motion.”

Morawski says this will be only the second time in RWCS history that the Commemorative is produced in Red Wing; the Johnsons hope it is the first in a long line of pieces that they make for the club.

“We want to build a long-term relationship with the Society by creating a high-quality Commemorative that’s on time and on budget,” Irene says. “We’re also going to do everything we can to promote the club, because the Society’s success directly impacts us.”

“We strongly feel that working with the Collectors Society will enhance the club’s growth just as it will ours,” Bruce adds. “We include a company flyer with every product that we ship out, and we see a lot of benefit in including information about the Society, as well. Making customers aware of the club’s existence can only increase their interest in pottery and stoneware, which is good for all of us.”

The identity of the RWCS Commemorative is a closely guarded secret every year until the piece is unveiled on the Thursday of Convention Week (July 10). But something that isn’t a secret is the activities and events the Johnsons have in store for all the RWCS members who will visit Red Wing this July.

First, the popular factory tours will continue at Red Wing Stoneware and the Johnsons found a lot of unique pieces when cleaning out storage space, which they plan to sell during Convention Week.

As for the Red Wing Pottery Salesroom, the Johnsons are remodeling the interior and exterior to give it more of a “stoneware and pottery look and feel”. The candy shop will reopen soon along with the Salesroom, but a coffee shop will also be incorporated into the space by the time Convention rolls around in early July. The Loons and Lady Slippers gift shop will reopen around May 1.

“We’re going to have a lot going on at both sites during Convention Week,” Bruce says. “We’ll use this time to unveil our companies’ annual commemorative and perhaps our annual Christmas ornament. In addition, we’d like to set up an area in the Pottery Salesroom to serve as an Antique Roadshow for people to bring in their Red Wing items and chat with Red Wing Collector Society members about it’s history and value.  We will also have some activities going on in the parking lot.”

The Johnsons also plan to open a pottery classroom at the Pottery Salesroom so customers can try their hand at making their own pieces after watching the potters at work as well as provide community education classes.

“We’ve noticed during the factory tours at Red Wing Stoneware that people really enjoy watching the potters hand-turn pieces, and they will often buy a finished example of a piece they watched being made because they’re amazed by all the skill and patience that goes into creating it,” Irene explains. “We’re going to carry that over to the Pottery by giving visitors the chance to try it for themselves.”

The 2014 RWCS Annual Convention, Destination Red Wing, is slated for July 10-12, 2014 in Red Wing MN. To learn more about the annual Convention, or the Red Wing Collectors Society, visit http://www.erwcs.org, find them on Facebook, Pinterest, or follow on Twitter.