Collecting antique stoneware is a very rewarding and deep study which has hundreds of paths one could walk.
The basis of antique stoneware is rooted in American history. That history could apply to your home town, your home state or could apply just in general to American history as a whole. We know collectors with backgrounds and family lineage going back generations to other parts of the world that find fascination in the journey their fore-bearers took coming to this country, so it could even be global history. One thing is certain which is, that each collector has their own eye. This means that each collector sees in these forms, histories, colors, artistry, backgrounds and makers, something they like to be around. Something that makes them happy and something that fulfills a part of their life which is very private yet happy to be shown off and discussed.
Our story with collecting antique stoneware began as a fun side hobby. The more we learned the deeper the meaning became. This evidence of early Americans settling our country is one of just a few places you can go to learn how America unfolded. It's all there, in clay, in front of you. AND YOU CAN OWN IT!
In the 1600's and 1700's (mostly) early Americans made red ware or earthenware. Even into the 1900's red ware was still being made. This is another great area to collect, but much much harder to figure out who made it, when, why and where. Most is not stamped or signed by the makers. Some red ware is intricate and incredible and like stoneware, some is utilitarian and plain. This is all in the collectors eye and is opinion not factual. Some see vast beauty in the primitive nature of early pieces.
Starting in the mid 1700's potteries began making stoneware and as time went on began stamping their names and towns on the pieces. This allows for documentation and answers the questions of who, where, and when. Then you can attach that information to the historical record of that person(pottery), that town city or village and the date at which this all happened.
The stories of perseverance, courage, dedication and grit are amazing and the more you learn the deeper it gets. There are stories of adventure, risk taking, innovation, patriotism and of course artistic prowess.
Visit the museums! New York State Museum (Albany N.Y.), Bennington Museum (Bennington VT) are great places to start and have huge collections of amazing stoneware.
GOOD HUNTING! If you find something let us know we will help!