Secondhand pottery plates
June 6, 2012 § 4 Comments
I have a friend who is an artist. Actually, I have many friends who are artists. However, this particular friend I am writing about today is my potter friend, Mark Oehler. A potter, he makes his living fabricating practical wares. Many, many years ago, when I lived in Mark’s community, he and I worked out a little deal…he’d make me a few dinner plates, and I’d make a sketch of him for an advertisement for a local newspaper. It turned out to be a good deal for both of us, since over the years, that initial plate transaction has evolved into my purchase of many pieces of beautifully-crafted merchandise from his shop. I can’t visit Reeds Spring, Missouri without stopping in to buy a few pieces. Today, Dave and I have nine beautiful one-of-a-kind dinner plates, many bowls and serving pieces, a lamp, a teapot, many mugs, some vases, and a sculpture. Although my initial four plates were part of an artist’s exchange, and were technically “free,” the pieces I’ve purchased since then represent an investment of many hundreds of dollars of original practical art.
Mark has given us a love of fine pottery and hand-crafted homewares. As a result, we’re always on the alert for beautiful handmade wares. At a research practicum in Bethel, Maine, I picked up a couple of pottery cups and a trivet. At a local artists’ mart, I purchased two beautiful vases (one of which ended up as a Christmas gift for my banker). In Galveston, I bought several clay sculptures for our walls.
Almost all of the art in our home is original, whether it is handthrown pottery, paintings, or welded metal sculptures.
Some of our art has been found at local thrift stores. It gives us pleasure to find something in a thrift store, and then bring it home and put it on display. Over the years, we’ve found some terrific bargains, including several original paintings, some vases, handmade pine baskets, masks, and quilts.
Last week, we were thrilled to find eight handthrown plates at one of our local thrift stores. Made from porcelain clay (notoriously difficult to work), these plates are glazed nut-brown with a light blue band. The size is inconsistent, varying as much as one inch from plate to plate. Their differences make them even more endearing to us, and at less than $8 for all eight plates, they were certainly a bargain.
We christened them at dinner this week, and are looking forward to using them at many more meals.