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The Collector

There’s just something about...

Fill in the blank.

If you love history and its tangible remnants, you’re bound to have one or five—or a hundred. The one that first caught your eye—so colorful, so quirky, so perfectly shaped—set you on the hunt. Having one wasn’t enough to fill that shelf in the cupboard, so you bought another at a local yard sale. Next thing you knew, you were scouring the corners of dusty antiques shops or tracking potential buys on auction sites. And so you have a collection.

We see them in every issue—cupboard shelves piled high with carefully folded coverlets, fireplaces filled with wrought-iron pots, mantels lined with Staffordshire figures, walls hung with folk art portraits.

Maybe the urge is built into our DNA. What kid didn’t have a collection of rocks or seashells or baseball cards? My collection of rocks, carefully separated by size and color, filled egg cartons in the attic of my childhood home for decades until my Mother decided it was about time I found room for them in my own house.

The homeowners we feature in this issue took different routes to their collections. The DiPasquas have assembled objects over a lifetime spent in eastern Ohio. While Joe taught school, Adeline focused on raising their three children and taking a mid-20th-Century home back in time, collecting on a budget to create a warm, inviting interior more akin to colonial times.

Childhood visits to Amish and Mennonite farms with her father left Adeline with a lasting impression of those families’ reverence for simplicity and tradition. As she decorated, her memories of women in long dresses collecting fresh eggs manifested themselves in cloth bonnets hung from pegs, assorted baskets dangling from ceiling beams, kitchen crockery and tableware lining pantry and cupboard shelves.

In Massachusetts, the collections filling the 1771 home owned by Victor and Donna Gulotta speak of their literary leanings—Victor as the owner of a publishing company and Donna as an English professor. The spacious walls of their Georgian home are hung with framed documents related to the lives of American poets and politicians, while cabinets display antiquities and rare books.

As an adult, my fondness for rocks yielded to the allure of pottery, still derived from the earth but more colorful and more practical. Most of my collection encompasses objects made by the traditional potters whose work often graces our pages—because it—s not only beautiful but I can use it in my kitchen and on my table.

I was surprised to learn while researching this issue’s article about American-made yellow ware pottery that it remains surprising affordable and available. Like so many things American, the production of yellow ware came here from England, literally in the hands of immigrant Staffordshire potters who set up potteries from New England to Maryland and into the Midwest—wherever they could find the easily worked yellow clay that gave the ware its name.

Although these potters relied on molds to mass produce their household wares for the widest possible market, they created so many forms—from ubiquitous bowls to the odd shoe-shaped flask—that it’s hard not to find something appealing, especially once these potters introduced slip decoration and colored glazes for their myriad wares. I might just have to add a hound-handle pitcher to my collection.

What objects inspire your imagination?

Jeanmarie Andrews

Executive Editor

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