Redware Pottery Dish with Distelfink and Tulips
* Vintage Item
This redware dish was hand made in 1997 by Lester Breininger (1935-2011), founder of Breininger Pottery of Robesonia, Pennsylvania. He is regarded as one of the premier folk potters of the last half of the 20th century. A mostly self-taught potter who loved history and the traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch (German) settlers, he used traditional techniques for 45 years to make his popular and avidly collected redware. Breininger Pottery closed in August 2011 and Lester died that December.
Dishes like this one were shaped out of slabs of red clay that were draped over wooden forms; the edge was coggled with a wooden wheel, just like piecrust. It was then decorated with sgraffito (scratched-in) designs of a large distelfink (a stylized goldfinch), tulips and other motifs. Next came slip decorating, using a mixture of water and clay that contained minerals for coloring. A final glossy top coast protects the surface.
On this piece, the brick red designs are set against a mustard yellow background. There are manganese green leaves and dabs of the green scattered about. The rim has a printed sgraffito saying around it: "We make a living by what we get and we make a life by what we give." (While this sounds like Pennsylvania folk wisdom, it is actually a quote from Winston Churchill.)
This dish is 10 inches in diameter, stands 1 1/2 inches high and weighs 2 pounds. On the unglazed underside are several incised, handwritten notations:
May 20, 1997
This piece is in original, untouched, excellent condition. There are no chips, cracks, hairlines or loss of color. Simply a beautiful example of the folk potter's art and one of Lester Breininger's masterpieces.
P.S. The original 1997 paper price tag from The Ohio Farmhouse in Findlay, Ohio, is still on the underside of the dish. They were in business from 1971 but it appears that they are no longer in business.
PYH 5378 shorturl.at/rGJP3
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