Red Wing Swap & Shop by Trails West Chapter – April 20 – Martin City, MO

Trails West Chapter spring gathering will be their first annual “Swap & Shop” on Saturday, April 30 in Martin City, MO

TIME: 10:30 am

LOCATION: RC’s Restaurant
330 E 135th St
Martin City, MO 64145

If you have Red Wing Stoneware, Dinnerware, or Art Pottery that you would like to offer for sale or trade bring it along and pop your truck in the lot!

12:00 – Following the Swap & Shop Red Wing Collectors are encourage to attend an “off the menu”  luncheon inside RC’s Restaurant. During the luncheon everyone is encourage to “Show and Tell” their recent Red Wing finds or their Swap & Shop deals and steals.

Come check out the Trails West Chapter Swap & Shop – Saturday, April 20th. All everyone welcome!

For more information contact Larry Birks, Trails West Chapter President at or visit the Chapter Website



Convention 2013 – July 11-13, 2013 – Red Wing, MN!


Online Registration is now open!  – NO FEES THIS YEAR TO REGISTER ONLINE!

The 2013 Convention registration is now open. You can either register online or print out the most current registration form via download. As mentioned in the newsletter there are some new things on the form.
RWCS Foundation Survey Questions:
The RWCS Foundation would like to contact members of the RWCS to let you know about events, fundraisers, volunteer opportunities and museum news. To comply with anti-email spam laws we need to ask members if they want to be contacted and the method they prefer. These questions can be found between the Sellers table and member survey section.
Commemorative Accessory Piece: As you read in the newsletter, there will be a commemorative accessory piece available for pre-order this year and a limited number of them for onsite purchase. One is available for every self or other member pick up commemorative ordered.
Learn more…
RWCS Foundation Donations:
Members can now make donation when they register, renew, and order commemoratives. The RWCS office will then take care of getting your donation to the Foundation.
Finally the RWCS Website has a number of new pages for the Convention here are the quick links to get you all the information you need:

Convention Home Page
Auction – information and form
Show and Sale – contracts and floor plan
Display – form and rules
Volunteer – here how you can get involved in your convention

Keep checking the website for updates and more information as Convention draws closer: education sessions, Kids View, Special Events.

Don’t forget! Register before April 1st and be in the drawing for ONE of the eighteen 2013 Special Commemoratives.

Take Action Today and SAVE!

  1. Online: (No FEE to register online)
  2. Phone: 800-977-7927 (Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm CST)
  3. Mail: PO BOX 50, Red Wing, MN, 55066 (download form)
  4. Fax: 651-388-4042 (download form)

Don’t let another exciting Convention pass you by!

For the latest news visit the RWCS website, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!


2013 Convention Commemorative will have accessory piece available

2005 Self Draining Jar

Red Wing, MN –  For the first time in the history of the RWCS, we’re producing an accessory piece to go along with the 2013 Commemorative.

This premium piece can only be purchased by members who attend Convention. It can be pre-ordered for $10 and a limited quantity will be available to purchase onsite for $15. We can’t tell you what this accessory piece is because it would give away the identity of the Commemorative itself. But to give you an example, people made dashers to go with the 2011 Commemorative churn and metal stands were made to go with the 2005 Self-Draining Jar.

The 2013 Commemorative accessory is sort of along those same lines, except it will be fired in the kilns by Maple City Pottery. We expect this will be a popular piece and won’t be surprised if the limited quantity onsite sells out, so members are encouraged to order in advance.

Members can order their accessory piece when the register for convention either online or via the 2013 Convention Registration Form.

Have Questions need more information? Contact the RWCS Business Office at

RWCS will consider membership dues increase at Annual Meeting

The RWCS Board of Directors voted to ask the membership to increase membership dues $10 beginning August 1, 2013.  This step was not taken lightly and followed a lengthy discussion. 

The Board recognizes that this might not the best time, economically, to ask the membership to increase dues.  There are a number of reasons the Board has taken this action, but, the number one reason is that the cost of membership does not cover the cost of the RWCS Newsletter.  It needs to be understood that the overall annual cost of the Newsletter is actually $10,000 less than it was in 2006, but because of the decline in membership, the per-issue cost of the Newsletter has increased. The Board even went to a 4-year contract vs. a 2-year contract to save additional dollars. Up until now, the Board was able to make up the difference in cost through other means; however, this is no longer possible with the decline in membership.  Additionally, as you know, prices for everything have generally increased steadily.

The RWCS Board has done an excellent job in reducing expenditures so dues would not increase in past years.  Here are some facts one should be aware of about budget cuts the Board made in the past to avoid a dues increase:

  1. The spring Board meeting was eliminated in 2008 and this practice continues.
  2. The fall executive meeting and full Board meeting were modified from actual face-to-face meetings to conference call in 2009.
  3. Board meals and travel reimbursement for all meetings and  conferences was eliminated in 2010
  4. The administrative assistant position was eliminated in 2011
  5. Since 2004, the RWCS expenditures were reduced by 27%
  6. While office supplies have increased in price, we have reduced office expenditures for supplies, equipment, postage, printing, etc by 10% since 2006

If the membership approved the dues increase at the Annual Business Meeting at the 2013 Convention in July, the Board would encourage members to renew their membership for two years before the dues increase goes into effect on August 1, 2013


Golden State Chapter Annual Benefit Auction – March 9 – Galt, CA

Spring Chapter Gathering

Saturday, March 9th

1:00 pm

All Red Wing Collectors in California and those passing through, are invited to join other Red Wing Collectors at the Golden State Red Wing meeting in Galt, CA!

Lot of exciting things are planned for the gathering:

  • Show and Tell about your Red Wing piece
  • Networking with other collectors
  • Great food and drinks (bring something for the BBQ and a dish to pass)

2012 event auctioneer

Annual RWCS Foundation and Kids View Benefit Auction!
Help us raise money to support the Red Wing Pottery Museum through the RWCS Foundation and the Convention and MidWinter Kids View Program. Everyone is invited to bring a piece to this fundraising auction!

For more information on attending contact:

Bruce Cameron, President

Mike Robinson

2012 auction lots

Members meeting and greeting

Helen Bell, RWCS Charter Member Dies

Helen E. Bell, 92

Helen Elizabeth Bell, 92, died Monday, Feb. 11, at Seminary Home.
Published by the Red Wing Republican Eagle, Tuesday, Feb. 12

She was born Sept. 19, 1920, at her grandmother Barry’s house in Goodhue, Minn., the daughter of Daniel and Loretta (Barry) Bell. She moved with her family to Red Wing when she was 6 weeks old.

Helen was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Red Wing all of her life. She was active in the parish community and served as a Eucharistic minister, was chairwoman of liturgical committee for 20 years, was president of the John Ireland Club, and served as secretary of the parish council. She taught Christian doctrine to the primary grades, mainly 1st and 2nd graders, for many years, and later taught Bible study to the teenagers in the Faith Formation program. She was a Girl Scout leader for 7th and 8th graders as they worked for their special Marian Award. Helen organized and led Bible study groups for 50 years.

Helen was the parish historian for 25 years, influential in organizing and collecting church archives. She was appointed to serve on a fundraising committee, along with Willis Zignego and Joe Drake, for the building of the third Catholic Church on 7th Street. She also wrote a column in the parish newspaper called “Echoes of the Past.”

In 1960, Helen made her vows with Caritas Christi, a secular institute for women dedicated in the love of Jesus to do apostolic work.

Helen started her education when she was enrolled in 1st grade at St. Joseph Catholic School in 1927. She graduated from 8th grade and then moved on to Central High School, graduating in 1938. At the time of graduation, she received membership in the National Honor Society. In 1939, Helen decided to become a nurse and enrolled at St. Joseph Hospital in St. Paul for the 3- year program, graduating in 1942. She worked for some time in the newborn nursery at the hospital and decided to further her education in obstetrics. She did her post-graduate work at Margaret Hague Hospital in Jersey City, N.J. Following that, she returned to Minnesota and was employed at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester for 3 months in the labor and delivery department while she waited for an opening to work and care for newborn infants. The time came and she became charge nurse for premature infants. She remained there for 7 years and then went back to St. Joseph Hospital to work with preemies again.

In 1950, Helen received her degree from the University of Minnesota for nursing education, graduating with honors. She then became a member of the faculty at St. Catherine College, teaching medical nursing in the 3- and 4-year programs. In 1956, Helen became the director of nursing at the vocational school in Red Wing where she held that position for 27 years. It was a happy assignment because she had the opportunity of working with and encouraging women of all ages to become LPNs. Friendships were formed between Helen and the students that lasted even until today. They were the joys of Helen’s life.

During her years in Red Wing, Helen was very interested in community affairs. She was on the board of the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association; she served on the public library board; and she was on the faculty/advisory board for the vocational school. For many years, Helen played Mrs. Santa Claus for the City of Red Wing. Helen was a member of the Goodhue County Historical Society, serving on the women’s committee and working on newsletters.

Helen was recognized and received many awards. The Jaycees named her Educator of the Year in 1982. That same year, she received the WCCO Good Neighbor Award. She was named to the Wall of Honor at Central High School through the SOAR program.

In 1970, a group got together at the St. James Hotel Victorian Room to discuss Red Wing pottery. That evening, after much excitement and discussion, the Red Wing Collectors Society was formed. Helen was a charter member and extremely active in the yearly conventions. She had given the keynote speech, spoken at four banquets, and had presented educational sessions for members. She usually spoke under the title “Memories of a Pottery Worker’s Daughter.” Helen was elected to the Hall of Fame of the Society.

Helen is survived by twin grand-nieces, Denise and Debra Thompson of Texas; godchildren, Ann (Barry) Andersen, Patrick Maranda, Lynn (Steele) Stark, and Burnette Dressen; the Pat and Lois Barry family and the Edward and Mary Maranda family; many other cousins and friends.

Preceding Helen in death were her parents; her infant twin brother; an older brother, Bill Bell; and niece, Diane Thompson.

Mass of the Resurrection will be 11 a. m. Thursday, Feb. 14, at the Church of St. Joseph with Father Thomas Kommers officiating. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery. Visitation will be for 1 hour prior to the service at the church. Memorials preferred to Mayo Health Systems Red Wing Area Hospice or donor’s choice.

Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel, is handling arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Badger Chapter Plans Bus Trip to Schleich Museum following MidWinter

The RWCS Badger Chapter is sponsoring a MidWinter one day bus tour to visit the Schleich Pottery Museum on Sunday February 10th.  We will leave from the 2013 RWCS GetTogether convention – Holiday Inn.

Come see the museum before it moves to its’ new home in Red Wing!


Sunday February 10th  

7:00am   Leave Des Moines
10:30am   Arrive Schleich museum
2:30pm   Leave museum
6:00pm   Arrive back in Des Moines – Holiday Inn

Members may stay an additional night at the Holiday Inn-Des Moines at the special MidWinter convention rate. 

This tour is limited to the first 47 RWCS members. Cost is based on the number of people. This is a luxury coach tour and there is a restroom on board.

The cost for 47 passengers is $35 per person, for 25 passengers is $50 person. We need a minimum of 25 people but we believe we can fill the bus. Don’t forget to bring your camera.

These prices are for the bus only, you are on your own for lunch.  Entrance to the museum is by donation.  The tour cost does not include the donation.

If you have any questions, or would like to join us, please call Bob Morawski, Badger Chapter President & RWCS Commemorative Chairman, at 262 853 8269 or email You will need to reserve a seat.

Get the word out, talk it up and let’s fill the bus.  It’ll be a great time. I guarantee it!

Bob Morawski
President, RWCS Badger Chapter

– Bob

RWCS Gears up for MidWinter – Feb. 8-10 – Des Moines, IA


RED WING, MN. – Lovers of Red Wing stoneware and pottery will have the opportunity to quench their thirst for that next great treasure when they attend the Red Wing Collectors Society’s (RWCS) Annual MidWinter GetTogether in Des Moines from Feb. 8-10.

The RWCS is 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 next RWCS 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.

The MidWinter GetTogether includes a number of other organized activities like a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8. The theme of this year’s event is “Wild, Wild West: The Red Wing Watering Hole”.  Attendees are encouraged to don their cowboy hats, leather chaps, spurs and over-sized belt buckles to take part in the fun.

Highlighting this year’s event will be a keynote presentation from RWCS member and longtime Red Wing Pottery Dump Digger Dennis Nygaard, who will show and describe many of the new finds he’s made over the past year-and-a-half, which has been one of his most productive periods since he began digging in the dump in 1980.

More educational sessions will be held for members following the keynote presentations, including a discussion from the RWCS Foundation, which announced on Dec. 28 that it had officially purchased a portion of the Pottery Place Annex building in Red Wing, MN to house the new Red Wing Pottery Museum. Other educational topics will include an introduction to Red Wing dinnerware, the history of Boone, Iowa’s Moingona Pottery and the 1920 art pottery experiment by Iowa State College (now Iowa State University). In addition, the RWCS KidsView education program will have activities that will teach younger collectors about Red Wing’s “Wild West” story.

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. 9 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 11-13 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

Bob Downs, Maple City Pottery, dies

The Red Wing Collectors Society is saddened by the death of “Master Potter” Robert Downs of Maple City Pottery.

Since 2010, Bob Downs and his team at Maple City Pottery have produced the Red Wing Collectors Society annual Convention Commemorative. In addition, Downs has given several educational seminars at both at the RWCS MidWinter GetTogether and National Convention. He shared his knowledge about pottery production and the commemorative production process.

Obituary Notice published on

Daily Review Atlas (Monmouth, IL)
Posted Nov 21, 2012 @ 12:23 PM

Monmouth, IL – Robert Downs, 56, of Monmouth, passed away 10:20 p.m. Nov. 15, 2012, at the Monmouth Nursing Home in Monmouth.

Robert was born Oct. 3, 1956, in Moline, the son of Robert LeRoy and Darlene Alice Mitchell Downs. Robert was raised in the Quad Cities, attended local schools and graduated from Central High School in Davenport, Iowa. Robert was married previously to Cheryl Lynn Seligman.

Robert was a potter all of his working life and began by opening and operating a pottery shop near Davenport, Iowa. Later he did the same for a number of years in Wilton, Iowa. He then went to work at Rowe Pottery in Cambridge, Wisconsin, for five years until he came to Monmouth and opened Maple City Pottery which he operated for 25 years. Robert was a “Master Potter” all of his life. He also loved to dance and enjoyed classic cars.

He is survived by his sons, Michael W. (fiance Megan) Downs, of Macomb, and Robert L. Downs of Monmouth; his father, Robert L. Downs, of Rock Island; and one aunt, Marilyn (Merlin Swanson of Rock Island. He is preceded in death by his mother.
A memorial service is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday at Turnbull Funeral Home in Monmouth. Cremation has been accorded. Fellowship will follow the service at Robert’s residence in Monmouth. For more information, please visit

RWCS Foundation to participate in MN Give to the Max Day – Nov. 15th

Red Wing, MN –

MN Give to the Max Day is this Thursday, November 15th!  This will be our second year of participating and we would LOVE to top last year’s total of $6,135. GiveMN is a is a collaborative venture to transform philanthropy in Minnesota by growing overall giving and moving more of it online. It was designed and launched by the Minnesota Community Foundation in 2009 in partnership with 14 other funders.

This year, the Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation Board Members, have pledged $3,500 dollars to match any funds that we receive. This year our goal is to reach $10,000!  If everyone could just give a little, just $10, $20, or more then we would be on our way. When we get to the $3,500 mark, the board will then add their $3,500 which gives us a total of $7,000; putting us at 2/3 of the way there. Please help us reach our goal; I know we can do it!

You can give any time by clicking on the Give MN logo below; it will take you to our donation page. Here you can read about us, click the donate button and it will easily walk you through the process. 


If you do not feel secure in using a computer, you can call either Larry Peterson at 612-719-6113, Dave Hallstrom 612-718-0331 or Diane Hallstrom 612-247-9876. All three of us will be set up at the Red Wing YMCA on Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and we will be happy to get your information so you can send us a check in the mail. 

Please help to make your Red Wing Pottery Museum a huge success. Hope to hear from you soon and thank you very much!


Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation Board

Dave Hallstrom, President
Carmen Selfridge, Vice President
Barb Brown, Secretary
Wayne Miller, Treasurer
Dave Kuffel
Gary Tyc
Larry Peterson
Larry Roschen
Louise Schleich
Steve Brown
Sue Jones Tagliapietria
Diane Hallstrom, Curator

The mission of the Red Wing Pottery Museum is to preserve Red Wing and other American pottery and to expand the public’s awareness of these wares, not only as an art form but also as a historical reflection of American culture.

The Red Wing Pottery Museum first opened its doors in the historic pottery district of Red Wing, MN in July, 2001. The museum is situated in a retail mall setting, which is located in the original Minnesota Stoneware building dating back to the late 1800’s.

After 12 years at this location, the Red Wing Pottery Museum is thrilled to be moving ahead with the purchase of a 13,000 sq. ft. building located close by known as The Pottery Annex Building.

We have received some wonderful donations which we have on display. The Schleich Red Wing Pottery Museum, of Lincoln, NE, will soon be donating over 5,000 items; “bringing these items home, back to Red Wing, MN.” This will help to create a World Class Red Wing Pottery Museum; allowing us to display a huge spectrum of the clay products produced in Red Wing, MN.