Red Wing Stoneware & Pottery Collectors to Warm Up Des Moines, Feb. 10-12

Many of those who sell Red Wing stoneware and pottery really get into the spirit when displaying their wares at the RWCS MidWinter GetTogether. This photo of Red Wing greyline / sponge band kitchenware was taken in a couple’s hotel room at last year’s event; they even brought in their own furniture and lighting to showcase their impressive inventory. This year’s event will occur on the weekend of Feb. 10-12 at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in Des Moines, IA, with the Show & Sale portion taking place from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11.

RED WING, MN. – Despite the frigid temperatures, Des Moines will get a little warmer when members of the Red Wing Collectors Society (RWCS) join up for the group’s Annual MidWinter GetTogether in Des Moines from Feb. 10-12.

The RWCS is the organization devoted to those who collect a diverse line of crocks, jugs, churns, dinnerware and art pottery manufactured in Red Wing from the 1880s to 1960s. Hundreds of people from around the country are expected to attend the February event, which will help tie collectors over until the RWCS’ highly anticipated 35th anniversary at the National Convention in Red Wing in July. These two events serve as great opportunities for members to buy and sell Red Wing and learn about the history of the potteries that once operated in Red Wing, their diverse production lines and the impact they had on the American pottery industry.

Highlighting this year’s event will be a keynote presentation on the “Past, Present and Future of Creating a World-Class Pottery Museum.” The RWCS Foundation made the exciting announcement last month that it signed a purchase agreement for the Pottery Place Annex building in Red Wing, MN to house the new Red Wing Pottery Museum, so the presentation will discuss how the current museum was developed, the process of finding the new location and creating a new museum.

In addition, members of the RWCS 35th Anniversary Committee will unveil the plans for the big July Convention. “Whether you’re a new Red Wing collector or a longtime collector, you won’t want to miss this event,” says committee member Wendy Callicoat. “There will be lots of new activities in celebration of our 35th anniversary.”

More educational sessions will be held for members following the keynote presentations, including a feedback session on the museum’s future, talks on Red Wing dinnerware mysteries and reproductions, an interior decorator’s ideas on decorating with Red Wing, always popular presentations about items dug from the Red Wing Pottery dump and a new presentation on Red Wing dug from old outhouse sites. KidsView will hold “Pottery of the Roaring 20s” themed activities for younger collectors to participate in.

The MidWinter GetTogether includes a number of other organized activities like a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10. The theme of this year’s event is “Red Wing Speakeasy”.  Attendees are encouraged to don their gangster suits, fedoras, flapper dresses and pearls to take part in the fun.

Many attendees sell Red Wing wares from their hotel rooms during the MidWinter GetTogether. A formal Show & Sale will run from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11 followed by an auction at 6 p.m. – both of which are open to the public. Whether you’re new to collecting Red Wing or an experienced collector, there’s something for everyone at the MidWinter GetTogether.

All activities will be held at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 4800 Merle Hay Road, in Des Moines, Iowa.  For more information on the MidWinter GetTogether, or the annual Red Wing Collectors Society Summer Convention, which is slated for July 12-14 in Red Wing, Minn., log on to

Annual membership in the Red Wing Collectors Society costs only $25 and includes six 16-page full-color newsletters mailed to your home throughout the year. The Red Wing Collectors Society was founded in 1977 in Red Wing, Minn. and is devoted to educating people about all American pottery. There are more than 4,000 members worldwide. The Red Wing Potteries had diverse pottery lines that included stoneware, dinnerware and art pottery. For more information or to become a member, call the RWCS business office at 800-977-7927, e-mail or log on to You can also join the RWCS on Facebook and follow it on Twitter at

Eva Zeisel, designer of Red Wing Pottery’s Town and Country Dinnerware died December 30, 2011

Eva Zeisel, groundbreaking designer, dies

By , Published: January 1
Washington Post online

Eva Zeisel, who designed and produced stylish but simple lines of tableware that were credited with bringing a sense of serenity to American dinnertime, died Dec. 30 at her home in New City, N.Y.

Mrs. Zeisel was 105 and had come to America just before World War II, after a harrowing series of adventures in the turbulent Europe of the 1930s.

(Cary Conover/For The Washington Post) – Eva Zeisel, shown in her studio in 2001.

Her daughter, Jean Richards, confirmed the death but said she did not know the medical cause.

Mrs. Zeisel was widely regarded as a master of modern design. Her salt and pepper shakers, creamers and ladles are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Yet she resisted being characterized as an artist. “Art has more ego to it than what I do,” she once told the New Yorker.

What Mrs. Zeisel did was create everyday objects that fundamentally changed the look of American kitchens and dining rooms.

She brought “a trained designer’s eye and touch to the kind of inexpensive daily goods that were available to everyone,” said Karen Kettering, vice president for Russian art at Sotheby’s and a former curator at the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens in the District, which featured a retrospective of Mrs. Zeisel’s work in 2005.

Mrs. Zeisel received artistic training in her native Hungary in the years after World War I. She moved to the Soviet Union, where she worked in a factory and, after building a reputation as a talented ceramicist, landed a job as art director of the state-run porcelain and glass industries.

While in that position, Mrs. Zeisel was falsely accused of conspiring to assassinate Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. She spent more than a year in a Soviet prison, much of that time in solitary confinement. Her experience there would deeply inform “Darkness at Noon,” the novel about life under Stalinism written by a childhood friend, Arthur Koestler.

When guards called Mrs. Zeisel from her cell one day, she thought she was about to be executed. Instead, she was released. She fled to Austria, only to be forced to flee again when Adolf Hitler’s Germany annexed that country. Mrs. Zeisel went to England and then to New York, where the design community quickly recognized her talent.

Mrs. Zeisel often said that her work was about the “playful search for beauty.”

Along with some of her contemporary designers, Mrs. Zeisel replaced the florid, gilded style of earlier eras with simple colors. Her most famous table collection from the 1950s is pure white.

Her work often was described with words not usually associated with tableware: human, sensual, voluptuous. Many of her designs are curvaceous and reminiscent of the “feminine midriff,” Kettering said. Mrs. Zeisel designed flower vases with belly buttons. Her bowls were not meant to be stacked but rather to nestle together. Big spoons could be seen as protecting smaller ones.

“All of my work is mother-and-child,” Mrs. Zeisel once said.

Her work reached the height of its popularity during the Cold War. Art critics believe it helped provide a sense of tranquillity during the tensions of the time, Kettering said.

She added that critics have noted a resurgence in the popularity of Mrs. Zeisel’s work since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. A tableware collection from the 1950s was re-released several years ago by Crate and Barrel.

Eva Amalia Striker was born Nov. 13, 1906, in Budapest. She originally trained as a painter but pursued industrial arts, in part to avoid the fate of the starving artist. She was reported to be one of the first female members of the Hungarian guild of chimney sweeps, oven makers, roof tilers, well diggers and potters.

Once in the United States, Mrs. Zeisel broke onto the artistic scene in the 1940s when Castleton China invited her to design a table collection. It would later be displayed at MOMA.

Her first marriage, to Alex Weissberg, ended in divorce. Her second husband, Hans Zeisel, died in 1992 after 54 years of marriage.

Survivors include two children from her second marriage, Jean Richards of New City and John Zeisel of Montreal; and three grandchildren.

Mrs. Zeisel was the author of “Eva Zeisel on Design: The Magic Language of Things.” Her memoir of the Soviet prison is forthcoming, her daughter said.

“I search for beauty,” Mrs. Zeisel told The Washington Post in 2003. “I never wanted to do something grotesque. I never wanted to shock. I wanted my audience to be happy, to be kind.”

News Source: Washington Post

Article also posted in New York Times

Interview aired on Sunday Morning, on January 1, 2012

A Playful Search for Beauty

Many Stolen Red Wing Collectors Society Items Recovered

Red Wing, MN. After discovering on Nov. 8 that its storage unit had been burglarized and several hundred pieces had been stolen; the Red Wing Collectors Society has made good progress in recovering many of the items.

Most of the Red Wing stoneware, dinnerware and art pottery that was stolen had been donated by RWCS members to be used for the KidsView Program that takes place during the RWCS Annual Convention in Red Wing, MN.

After contacting about 50 antique shops in the Red Wing area, RWCS Executive Director Stacy Wegner tracked down more than 150 pieces of the Society’s Red Wing pottery that had been sold to an antique dealer in Lake City, Minn. Thanks Wegner’s perseverance and help from the Red Wing Police Department, these pieces were returned to the RWCS on Friday, Dec. 9.

Wegner and KidsView Co-chair Sue Jones Tagliapietra were very excited to have the pieces returned and are working together to determine what is still missing.

“The Red Wing Police helped us recover much more than expected,” Wegner said. “Many of the returned pieces are Restaurant Ware and other shape blanks that will be used for the KidsView ‘Paint Your Plate Event’ at the Convention. Hopefully we’ll be able to locate the rest of the stolen items.”

The Red Wing Collectors Society will celebrate its 35th anniversary at its Convention next summer, which will take place July 12-14, 2012. The RWCS is the largest collectors society in the nation and more than 1200 members are expected to attend the event, making the Convention the premier place to buy and sell Red Wing stoneware and pottery.

The Red Wing Police Department is looking into persons of interest and the investigation is ongoing. The public has been supportive and police are receiving tips on potential suspects. Please contact the Red Wing Police Department at 651-267-2600 if you know the whereabouts of these pieces or are offered any of these items for purchase. For more information, contact Stacy Wegner at or 800-977-7927.

Photos of recovered items:

2011 Commemoratives items to be auctioned at MidWinter

Commemorative Manager Bob Morawski announced today that there will be both silent and live auctions for 2011 Commemorative items at the 2012 MidWinter GetTogether in Des Moines, IA – February 10-12.

Version “A” has a lazy 8 target design, version “B” has a butterfly and version “C” has a bird. The Commemoratives are all stamped just like vintage churns. The stamp can appear on the front, back or either side. The stamp resembles a vintage slit oval stamp and reads “RWCS Convention 2011”. The Commemoratives were produced by Maple City Pottery in Monmouth, Illinois. The churns were hand-turned, hand-decorated and glazed with hand-thrown salt. The churn lid was pressed in a two-piece mold.(Click here to learn more)

Photo of 2011 Commemorative versions available: triple, top center; Version A, bottom left; Version B, bottom center; Version C, bottom right.

Members attending the 2012 MidWinter GetTogether will have two opportuntiese to add to their commemorative collections.

Beginning Friday, February 10 at Registration the Silent Auction begins. The silent auction will will include:

1. Set of version A, B, and C, 2011 commemoratives
2. One Triple – one piece featuring all three decorations
3. 5, Kids View versions

For the first time, the RWCS Commemorative was available in a life-size version at the 2011 Convention. Members attending various Convention events had the opportunity to bid on these life-size 4 gallon churns. Morawski reserved one set of these life-size pieces for MidWinter. At the Friday Night Speakeasy these pieces will be auction at MidWinter!

1. Version A
2. Version B
3. Version C
4. Triple, all 3 decorations on one piece
5. Special
6. Kids View Version

Photo taken at the 2011 Convention shows the life-size versions of the commemoratives.

So make plans to head to MidWinter in Des Moines, IA – February 10-12. We hope to see you there.  To learn more about MidWinter visit our event page or contact us. Click here to register today!

MidWinter GetTogether Educational Seminar Information Available

The RWCS Education Manager, Glenn Beall, has announced the 2012 MidWinter GetTogether Education Session schedule. All education will be on Saturday, February 11, 2012.

Keynote: 8:00 am
RWCS Foundation – The Past, Present, and Future of Creating Your World Class Pottery Museum
Following by the 35th Anniversary Committee presentation

Education Sessions: 9:40am to 10:30am and 10:40am to 11:30am
RWCSF Board – Answering your Questions and Asking for your input to creating a World Class Pottery Museum

Dinnerware Mysteries and Reproductions –Terry Moe & Larry Roschen
Dump & Privy Digging – Mark Wiseman
Decorating with Red Wing – Kathy Decker
Red Wing Dump – Steve Showers

Kids View – Roaring Pottery of Red Wing – Sue Jones Tagliapietra

Full Education Session descriptions and Speaker Bios are available for PDF Download Now!

MidWinter wil lbe February 10-12, 2012 in Des Moines, IA at the Holiday Inn and Suites. Visit the events page to learn more or register today!

RWCS Foundation raises over $4,500 during Give to the Max Day

Thank you so much for helping to make Give to the Max Day a huge success for the Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation. Through your wonderful generosity yesterday, the foundation raised$ 4,960. The Red Wing Area Fund and the Jones Foundation are providing grants to some of the not-for-profit foundations and we are anxiously awaiting their decision to see if we will be one of them. I will keep you informed of the total amount that we raised thanks to your generous support of the foundation’s mission to preserve Red Wing and other American stoneware, art pottery and dinnerware and expand the public’s awareness of these wares, not only as an art form but also as a historical reflection of American culture.

Larry Peterson, Dave & Diane Hallstrom, and the entire board of the RWCS Foundation