Fresh faces turn up during Red Wing event

RED WING, Minn. – Held in February, the Red Wing Collectors Society’s (RWCS) Annual MidWinter GetTogether saw a 24 percent jump in attendance over last year’s

Red Wing attendee painting

This KidsView attendee got into the act by painting her own stoneware jug, which was thrown and later glazed and fired by RWCS member/professional potter Wyn Painter of Overland Park, Kansas. (All photos courtesy Red Wing Collectors Society)

event and its highest attendance since 2010.

“We were really pleased with the turnout, especially considering this is the first time the event was held in a new location after being in Des Moines for the past 14 years,” says RWCS President Larry Birks. “We also saw many new faces at the event, which is great news for our club.”

Held Feb. 6-8 at the Olympia Resort & Conference Center in Oconomowoc, Wis., about 325 Red Wing collectors attended from across the country to buy, sell, learn and network with fellow pottery and stoneware collectors. Highlights of the event included collectors selling out of their hotel rooms, educational presentations, a formal Show & Sale and a “Friday Night Lights” reception where attendees dressed in their favorite professional, college or high school football team’s apparel.

A major focus of the event, educational sessions included keynote presentations on RWCS technology by RWCS Vice President Paul Wichert and creating an endowment fund for the Pottery Museum of Red Wing by RWCS member Stan Lueck. RWCS historian Nancy Lambert discussed the process she went through when a creating a book about the advertising stoneware Red Wing made for businesses located in Kansas and Missouri.

Longtime MidWinter speakers and RWCS Hall of Fame members Steve Showers and Dennis Nygaard presented their findings from digging in Red Wing’s pottery dumps last year. Dinnerware experts Larry Roschen and Terry Moe, who are also RWCS Hall of Fame members, discussed Red Wing dinnerware. Mark Wiseman spoke about the Iowa potteries that operated in Des Moines, Boone and Warren counties. Additionally, new RWCS KidsView education program chairperson Linda Wipperling hosted activities that informed younger collectors about the different pieces Red Wing made for professional and college sports teams, such as the Little Brown Jug trophy that is awarded to the winner of every Minnesota/Michigan college football game.

Red Wing crocks

This stack of Red Wing salt glaze crocks were among the pieces displayed for sale during the MidWinter Get Together.

Houghton Auction Service held an auction during the event on Saturday. The proceeds of more than $10,000 benefited the new Pottery Museum of Red Wing, which opened in Red Wing, Minn., last summer. It boasts the largest collection of Red Wing pottery and stoneware on public display in existence. Visit www.potterymuseumredwing.org for more information about the museum.

The RWCS is devoted to those who collect a diverse line of crocks, jugs, churns, dinnerware and art pottery manufactured in Red Wing from the 1880s to 1960s. The MidWinter GetTogether was a precursor to the RWCS National Convention slated for July 9-11 in Red Wing. These two events serve as great opportunities for members to connect, renew friendships and learn about the history of the potteries that once operated in Red Wing, their diverse production lines and the impact they had on the American pottery industry.

Annual membership in the Red Wing Collectors Society costs $35 and includes six 16-page, full-color newsletters mailed throughout the year. The Red Wing Collectors Society was founded in Red Wing in 1977. There are more than 3,300 members worldwide. For more information or to become a member, call the RWCS business office at 800-977-7927, e-mail membership@redwingcollectors.org or visit www.redwingcollectors.org. You can also join the RWCS on Facebook (http://on.fb.me/1HVf0He) and follow it on Twitter (twitter.com/RWpottery).

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