This spectacular 13 Inch diameter charger was hand made and slip decorated by Lester Breininger (1935-2011) of Robesonia, Pennsylvania, regarded as one of the premier folk potters of the last half of the 20th century. He was originally a teacher by profession and a mostly self-taught potter who loved history and the traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch (German) settlers. For 45 years, he used time-honored, traditional techniques to make his redware; Breininger Pottery closed in August 2011 and Lester died that December. We've included a photograph of him holding a piece of his wonderful pottery.
Chargers like this one were shaped out of slabs of red clay that were draped over wooden forms; the edge was often coggled with a wooden wheel, as it was here, just like piecrust. It was then decorated with sgraffito (scratched-in) designs and slip decorating (using a mixture of water and clay that contained minerals). Only two colors were used to great effect: the green is copper oxide, while the yellow background is a kaolin-rich clay that started out white but fired yellow. The rusty red color on the face is the natural color of the clay showing (such as the tulip petals).
This charger stands 1 3/4 inches high and weighs a little over 3 pounds. The unglazed back is impressed with many marks, notably:
B & L BREININGER (B stands for Barbara, Lester's wife) ROBESONIA 9-14-1977, surrounding an outline of a keystone, the state of Pennsylvania's symbol, with the letters PA enclosed #3 of 100 Copy of an original at Landis Valley Farm Museum (which is located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
It's in original, untouched condition with minor crazing; any tiny flaws are due to the firing process and are not post-production. Simply a beautiful example of the folk potter's art and one of Lester Breininger's masterpieces.