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Home > Publications > Historic New England Magazine > Fall 2001 > Continuing an Old Tradition

Continuing an Old Tradition

Redware pottery was made in New England as early as the seventeenth century. It was an ideal craft for farmers during the idle hours of winter. Red clay deposits were common, timber was plentiful, and the ware fired well at low temperatures. A farmer could make pots for his family and use the surplus for barter or sale. Numerous regions in New England were known for redware production, includingthe Concord, New Hampshire, area, coastal Maine, Essex County in Massachusetts, and the Connecticut River Valley. The craft continued until it was displaced by inexpensive factory-made ceramics during the second half of the nineteenth century.

The techniques of throwing pots, drape-molding platters, and hand sculpting figures continue to be used by talented artisans today. SPNEA has licensed the Workshops of David T. Smith to reproduce nearly forty redware pieces, dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, from SPNEA’s Beauport and Cogswell’s Grant. The items in the Historic New England Collection of Classic Redware are carefully researched, based on photography and precise measurements, and are made using the same techniques as the originals. The reproductions, recommended for decorative purposes only, display the craftsman’s skillful use of traditional decorative methods—quilling, sliptrailing, sponging, and sgraffito.

For more information or to place an order, please write or call SPNEA’s Merchandise Department, 141 Cambridge Street Boston, MA, 02114, (617) 542-7673.

—Carol Bruce, Director of
Licensing & Merchandising

Continuing an Old Tradition