Sunday, February 21, 2016

McCoy and Bauer Pottery Re-visited

Occasionally I question myself,  why am I writing this blog???  Does anyone even care?  I know I love reading other people's blogs, but am I providing any information, any substance, any enjoyment to readers?  I truly hope so as I have enjoyed it for these 6 years.
I checked back on my viewing stats and see that the most visited post by people, that have the most views, is my post about my collection of McCoy and Bauer pottery.  So I decided to share some more photos of them and tell you a little about what I know.
I can't remember actually my first piece, I recall that old pottery mixing bowls were always something I would have in my kitchen.  In the days when you could find them easily in the gold rush community where we lived for over 30 years.  Mostly under a dollar.  Batter bowls, I call them were a great find, you will see a ringed Bauer Batter Bowl on the top shelf of this cabinet.  I had 2 of them.  I will tell you the story of why I only have one on the shelf later.
This little batter bowl isn't the same aqua or green as other bowls, but I just love the small size.  See the small chip for flea/flick mark on the edge?  Look how dark and stained the mark is, that chip has been on that bowl for many, many years.  Whatever kitchen I had over the years of moving, I would rotate out colors to front and center that went with the decorating theme at the time. A few yellow, some white.  It didn't matter the marking on the bottom, many are not marked as you see.  Some are USA, but the look of the old clay and the feel of them is what made me take them home.

But then I started loving vases.  Aqua vases, some dealers on line and in stores call them green, but I always consider them aqua.  If they are on the blues and greens, I crowd them in the shelves closetest to their color.  Here is another vase with a large chip, sad but it doesn't bother me, it shows use and love.

 These sizes and designs are interesting.  They probably held Camellias, most people in the time of this pottery (1930s-50s) used "frogs" at the bottom of these vases to hold up flowers.
These are called jardinieres.  I have a few large ones on top of the cabinet where I keep them all, but this is a smaller one.  It is my belief they probably held plants, rather than flowers although they also could be used for flowers. See the McCoy mark?  And the embossing is so fabulous, could be water lilys. You notice the feet on the bottom.  It probably had a matching dish to hold the water which I don't have.

Sometimes you hit the bonanza.  Many years ago, we had a fishing cabin on the Scott River in Siskiyou County.  Downtown was a new shop co-op type shop and someone who had collected pottery had a booth.  Every time in the summer we went to the cabin, I had to stop.  Most were chipped as I am sure that was why the dealer weeded out her own collection, but still I always was excited to find a few pieces in my colors. Price tag still on this sugar container.

What causes a person to want to collect?  I know for me, it is the form, the quality, the color the feeling you get when you hold it.  In my collection, I have many items with the gloss glaze, but my favorite, favorite is the "matte finish".  It feels like silk when you touch it.

There is a specific name for the McCoy pottery below, but sorry I can"t remember it.  They have a distinct feel, shape and design.  I have about 5 of them, normally small vases with very elaborate floral or bird designs.  And the color is always more towards green than blue/aqua. 
There are many, many books on the subject of pottery and McCoy/Bauer ware pottery.  I have these two books in my library that helped me in the beginning to identify and date my pieces.
 And what happens in all collections is sometimes you can't pass something up because of the shape, color or price.  I like yellow and a few of my past kitchens in my life were yellow, so I have a few yellow USA/McCoy vases.
 And of course, same is true of the white pottery.  Who can pass up a pottery vase for a few dollars just because it might be white!!!
This is what the old pottery clay well worn bottom looks like, but no marks.  These will sell for considerably less money than the items with potter marks.
I can't talk about my pottery collection without saying something about the cabinet that holds all the aqua pieces.  I had the pottery pieces going long before the cabinet.  But up at the cabin one weekend, I went to a farm sale and this cabinet was in their shed.  The doors were not found, sadly because a piece of them showed the top and bottom doors were tongue/groove (T&G) pattern of wood.  But for $20 it went home with me and was up in the cabin for several years until we had space to take it home one trip.  I was told it was in an 1880s drug store downtown Etna for many years and the yellow section held the pharmacy names or the word drugs. Thank goodness it was never painted over or paint stripped off.  Isn't it a perfect piece to hold all my pottery?  

 OH, and the large aqua batter bowl story I mentioned?  Well they are my most favorite, favorite, most prized items.  I actually had 3 of them, signed Bauer, perfect shape.  They weren't on the top shelf at the time, but in the bottom.  We had company and a member of the family/company went to get something to put vegetables into to help with a meal and picked those two bowls and dropped them.  Yes, dropped them, chipped one terribly and broke the other one completely.  He had no idea about what they were, didn't actually have any like for antiques, he just saw them as "bowls".  I could have cried, I did later.  What can you say, what can you do?  Where would someone try and replace them? When I heard the crash, I remember saying NOT THE BATTER BOWLS!!!   It may sound wierd, but I really thought differently afterwards about my pottery items.  Use them, enjoy them, don't over protect and keep them in a museum environment.

So I give you my collection to see and enjoy-a 2nd time.  As you can see, it is out for viewing every day, I walk past it in my diningroom all the time and my eyes always go to it.  They do collect dust, but I use various ones all the time for my flower arrangements, use the bowls for food, use the jardineres for plants.  I love, cherish and enjoy touching the beautiful patina. The aqua color is so versitle, it seems that no matter what color flower, branch, or plant I put in them, they all blend and match so well.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my collection of pottery and hope you leave a comment to let me know my writing on the blog isn't a waste of my time away from looking for more pottery!!!


Becka Silva said...

Dear Paula,

I've read each and every one of your posts over the years. I find much enjoyment and pleasure in all the things you have shared. It's my way of 'keeping in touch' with you. It's always nice to hear what has been happening on the farm, and with you and Frank. When I see you have a new post up, I save it to read at a quiet time of day with a nice cup of tea.

I appreciate all your effort it takes to keep a blog going. I know from experience that it takes much time and forethought in putting the words and lovely pictures together that make up the post.

I've learned about so many new and interesting things through your words, and always look forward to more.

Thank you for sharing all the wonderful things.
It matters to me ����
Hugs �� Becka

Windmill Farm said...

Thanks Becka, hugs and kisses to you and thanks so much for taking the time to write as I know you are busy busy quilting and taking care of all those beautiful grand babys of yours. See you soon I hope.