Passing on the Roseville Pottery Appreciation

I never thought I’d look at people younger than me and think of them in terms of the “younger generation”. That’s what

Roseville Azurean

grandparents do! But, after hanging out with my best friend’s sixteen year-old daughter this weekend, I’m beginning to differentiate the generations.

After getting completely flustered with only half of her attention for the most part of the afternoon (those pesky cells and their texting features!), I finally said, “OK, sunshine…here’s what we’re going to do. Put that phone away and let me show you a few things that you just might appreciate one day.” Of course, that was met with a roll of the eyes and a reluctant and rather drawn out “OK”.

I pointed to a few pieces of my favorite Roseville Pottery patterns. “What do you see, Sam?” After a pause, she said, “I don’t know. A bowl with a bunch of holes in the top of it.” Taking a deep breath and resisting the urge to roll my own eyes, I began explaining to her what a flower frog is. I explained how they’ve traditionally been used to hold flower arrangements in place. Before long, I had her attention and began telling her different “Roseville stories”.

I showed her a few wall pockets I have arranged on my living room wall. She asked what purpose they served. I think her exact words were, “Yeah, it’s pretty. But what does it do?” She’s a lovely girl who appreciates lovely jewelry, so I used that to my benefit. I said, “Wouldn’t this be pretty hanging on the wall just above your jewelry box to hold the rings you wear every day?” She particularly liked the Roseville Freesia.

From there, we moved on the different glazes and beveling efforts that really set Roseville apart. I explained to her what a jardiniere and pedestal were and before long we were on the Just Art Pottery website going over window boxes, vases and candle holders.

Two hours later, she had sweet talked me out of one of my favorite wall pockets and had an understanding of the importance of American art pottery. I wasn’t the least bit surprised when she announced Roseville Azurean is her new favorite. That kid loves blue. Her bedroom is blue, blue is the primary color of the high school she attends and I have a strong sense that I’m going to be investing in pieces from this beautiful line for birthdays and Christmas – and I couldn’t be happier.

What was most important, though, is I started out with a typical teen who could care less about a flower frog and by the time it was over, texting was the last thing on her mind and she walked away with the seed planted and a new appreciation for art – specifically, Roseville pottery. Will this be an everyday thing with her? Of course not. What I hope, though, is that it will encourage her to broaden her horizons, develop her own passion for the real beauty in the world and hopefully, serve as something that she equates to time spent with me when she’s older.

Roseville Pottery – The “Glaze Before Shape” Rule

Roseville Tourmaline

Anyone who’s a fan of Roseville Pottery likely has heard of the “glaze before shape” rule. For those who have only recently discovered the beauty of this line of American art pottery may be a bit confused. Basically, because some shapes transcend the various Roseville Pottery lines, it makes for an easier and more accurate identification if one considers the glaze when trying to identify a piece instead of the shape. As Mark Bassett points out in Introducing Roseville Pottery:

(If you discover) a Roseville Futura shape that is white all over and has die-impressed marks, then your piece is from the Ivory line – even if the shape number is not listed under Ivory in the Roseville books.

Not only that, but this rule is applicable despite the die impressions that indicate a different line. There is a particular Rozane Royal ewer that is incorrectly marked as an Azurean piece. As with all rules, however, there is an exception. The Trial Glaze pieces switch the rule and make the shape the accurate identification method. Because these experimentals seem to be only a habit of Roseville potters, they are more valuable than other Roseville pottery.

Especially prior to 1910, the Roseville shapes that gained popularity with consumers often were the deciding factor when developing a new line. There was one line, the Roseville Tourmaline, that both introduced new shapes while also bringing several older shapes, courtesy of the Roseville Futura, Roseville Earlam and Roseville Imperial into the mix; further reiterating the importance of distinguishing one from the other.

Clearly, it’s easy to understand how confusing it can become when it comes to identifying Roseville lines. Once a

Roseville Artwood

collector can grasp the glaze before shape mindset, it usually becomes much smoother sailing. There’s one more reason to understanding the identification process: some lines are more valuable than others. You might think you’ve identified a Roseville Futura piece and bought it only to discover it’s actually a Roseville Artwood piece, which is not as valuable.