This is a very cool shard that I found in a muddy field in April on the grounds of the deserted Sterling China plant in Wellsville, Ohio. Well, actually, it is two shards that I found about a yard apart and was pretty thrilled to see that they were a match. These have had their bisque firing but there is no shiny glaze, and if you look closely you can see that the decal – glued on so many years ago – hasn’t actually been fired on. But these pieces have had a trip through the dishwasher so I’m pretty sure they will endure just about any handling we can give them.
I can tell that the entire phrase on this piece would have been: A Boss Hotel. This was a chain of hotels in the last century in eight states, including Florida, Illinois, Nebraska and Iowa.
But as I was shaping these to fit this wee mahogany frame, all I kept thinking about was John Irving’s Hotel New Hampshire that I read – and loved – so many years ago. Sitting nearby was this pottery bear (now standing in for State o’ Maine!), and that naturally cemented the association. I added tiny glass flowers in lavender and green to complete the tiny tableau.
The pendant is approximately 2 ¼ by 2 ¼ inches and has a dainty antique brass ball chain. It’s now cut at 24 inches, but when you check out leave a note as to your preferred length.
ABOUT THIS JEWELRY: Confession: I love pottery. Anything made of clay.
My husband and I have been collecting heavy restaurant china for half a lifetime, and during that time we’ve also accumulated our fair share of chipped, crazed and cracked pieces that we couldn’t let go of. In the last seven years we’ve taken numerous trips to West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio in search of forgotten potteries, always finding shards at those sites.
And we’ve also nosed around in the Jugtown and Seagroves area of North Carolina, coming home with shards from both closed and active potteries.
And there have been so many shards of pottery from the English Isles, washed up on those beaches, that have found their way across the ocean, too.
And it is from these bits and pieces that I’ve started carving out both cabochons for my bead embroidery as well as unisex pendants. Each one is its own little time traveler, evoking for me the era of railroad journeys, fine hotels, afternoon tea and the companies that manufactured such fine quality ware.
For anyone else who loves restaurant ware, here’s a link to our latest trip with photos of some of the shards we found that might end up one day as jewelry: http://carrchinacompany.com/dig6.html