Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why I Love Stoneware

I'm crazy about stoneware crocks and it really comes as no surprise considering my grandparents were avid collectors.  Their addiction was fed because of the chalet in their backyard.  Yes, a real chalet that they built in the 1960's with soaring wood ceilings and a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace.  Sounds like something out of a lake resort, doesn't it?  But it was located in the back yard of a small Illinois town 60 miles west of Chicago and luckily for 12 years, I grew up in a house right behind my grandparent's chalet which made it my play house of sorts.

Here's a few photos of it under construction:

And finished:

This was the view from our backyard.

See the red house?  That was our house until I turned 12 and we moved to North Carolina.

You'll notice they hung stoneware jugs on the front of the chalet and inside were walls full of crocks.  This wall had crocks and glass jugs on hangers as this picture shows taken from the loft area many years ago:

They also had shelving that span the wall space in the front of the chalet full of crocks and not wanting to leave one square inch undecorated, they used up the beams, as well.

The next picture was taken after my grandfather passed away and while my grandmother was consolidating her estate and planning to sell, so it's a bit of a mess, but look up at the beams and you'll see what I mean:

My grandparents loved antiques.  Much of it they purchased, but some came from other estates of the recently departed in the family.  The chalet is the most special place on earth and I miss it so much!  We celebrated many holidays in this building and it holds so many memories.

When it came time for my grandmother to consolidate, I drove out to Illinois and helped eBay much of her stuff.  She hired a handyman to take down all of the stoneware crocks and sold many of them at her various garage sales, but she also lined them up and hoped to sell many more on eBay.

When I was working with her antiques, I wish I would have known that a lake cottage was in our future.  I certainly would have taken her sofa and tables.  As it ended, the set went to a lake cottage up north in Wisconsin, so they are where they are meant to be.  I did, however, fall in love with the yellow crimped stoneware crock on the left.

It sits on our lake cottage mantle at the Lake of the Ozarks:

When I attend farm auctions, it's hard to leave all the stoneware crocks behind.  If I sold out of an antique mall, I'd pick them up all day every day, but shipping becomes such a bear, so I let someone else purchase the lovelies.

I do, though, pick up the small stoneware crocks and they are in the shop.  This is the oldest one:

Click here to take you to the listing.

While I'll never duplicate my grandparent's chalet and their stoneware collection, I can still pick up a piece or two here and there to share with my Etsy buyers as my way of paying homage to the most wonderful place on earth to grow up!  :)

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