Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Flitting through Red Wing

We stopped at the Red Wing pottery store and museum during our recent visit to Red Wing, Minnesota.  It was very interesting, indeed!

I am not a collector of Red Wing, and I didn't know that much about it.  I certainly didn't know they had made so many different things through the years.

It's funny; when I was a kid, our newspaper "rack" was a giant old Red Wing crock.  It sat next to one of the recliners and could hold several weeks worth of daily Milwaukee Journal newspapers plus the local paper, both spring and fall JC Penney catalogs, and whatever else fell into its gaping maw—odd socks, junk mail, homework, Ding-Dong wrappers, etc.

Likewise, my in-laws, when they sold their home, had several old Red Wing crocks in the basement.  They had been used to make sauerkraut and store pickles back in the day.  None of us felt attached to any of those old crocks but knew others got pretty excited about them, so we sold them.

Interestingly though, it was a 1950s Red Wing vase that jump-started my fascination with mid-century art pottery.  I was working at a law firm which was moving across the street to a new building.  In cleaning out the old basement, a pile was created of things to be donated.  There on top of the pile one day was a dirty, funky looking chartreuse vase from a bygone era.  It was ugly enough to be interesting, and I flipped it over to see the Red Wing mark on the bottom.  I asked if I could have it; the answer was yes, and it became one of the first things I sold on eBay, for right around $20.

It turned out it was a piece designed by Belle Kogan for Red Wing as part of the Tropicana line of art pottery.  It looked like the one in the photo here, but instead of the bronze glaze, it was solid chartreuse.

I couldn't afford didn't buy anything in Red Wing, but I did pick up two small pieces at a shop in Winona on the way home.  

These are from the Town & Country dinnerware line designed by Eva Zeisel, produced from 1947 to 1956.  (I totally Googled that after I got home; I had no clue when I bought them.  But if you want to see some funky-cool vintage Red Wing dinnerware, click HERE.)

The peach colored piece is a relish dish from a Lazy Susan set.  The blue piece is a sauce dish.  I just liked the unique shapes and thought one of them might be interesting in the newly painted half bath as a soap dish.  Or we could use them for salsa.

In the Red Wing pottery store, there was an interesting display of the various dinnerware patterns and years of production.  

I know I've passed some of these by in thrift stores.

More art pottery from the museum:


Hope you enjoyed these glimpses of Red Wing!


  1. I use my husbands grandfathers crock as a utensil holder by the stove. When my oldest was 2, he accidentally knocked over another 1 we had and it completely shattered. Hubs was not thrilled. For his bday 1 yr, I used heavy duty glue and glued it back together (probably not the best thing), now it holds rocks from our travels.

  2. Isn't it interesting to look at how patterns and tastes have changed in all that pottery particularly the plates.

    Love your kidney bowls. Great idea to use one as a soap dish. Inspired.

  3. I love your pottery posts! I never paid attention to pottery and never knew there were so many different types and kinds out there.

  4. The displays of all the dinnerware is especially interesting to me. What a variety!

  5. I love looking at vintage pottery and dishes! Plus, Red Wing is the town in MN I would most like to live, I think.I grew up in MN but I don't have any family there anymore, so when I think about moving back and the fact that I could go anywhere, it's got the perfect mix of scenery and convenience.

  6. As I read, I had to keep reminding myself that Red Wing was not a shoe store (it is here and I'd never heard of RW Pottery before), otherwise I got confused (lol). What an interesting tour through some pretty pottery pieces. My favorite was the Mediterrania plate from 1960. Thanks for sharing.

    xo -El

  7. Yes, I did enjoy the glimpses of Red Wing. My Dad's from North Dakota and I saw some very pretty vases in my Uncles' houses on our trip there last Spring. We have an old crock that we use as an umbrella stand. It has a huge crack in it and is held together with a wire wrap, but it's RED WING, so, of course, we can't get rid of it. lol.


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