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{ STENGEL POTTERY "THISTLE PATTERN" }As a young girl I always enjoyed setting the table with my grandmother for the Sunday family meal. We grew up not to far from the Stangl Pottery, in New Jersey, which produced a wonderful collection of dinnerware and tabletop accessories crafted of red clay both incised and colorfully decorated. Grandma collected the “Thistle” pattern.  At my own home, my mother and I set our dinner tables with Russel Wright’s “American Modern”, a wedding gift most appropriate for a new bride after the war. In later years, as my mother made her way north to her family home in Vermont, there were many acquisitions from the Bennington Pottery. In short, handmade pottery, crafted from the industry of American craftspeople was and continues to be our family’s utilitarian vessels of choice.
I knew that I wanted to be a potter by the time I was 15, and had my first glimpse of Frog Hollow Craft Center, in Middlebury Vermont.

{ FROG HOLLOW }

I took my first pottery class at Stonybrook University, on Long Island. The following summer I spent in Boston at The Program in Artisanry, and stayed on to complete a two year Associates Degree in Ceramics.  I learned here to be a proficient wheel thrower, and acquired the basics of being a studio potter. I finished my BFA at the University of Illinois, where one of my remarkable teachers was Don Frith, a master plaster modeler. 

{ U of I - CLASS OF !980 }

His influence reconnected my sturdy bridge between studio pottery and the pottery industry, and this bridge was built on a foundation of plaster and concrete, two other wonderful “ceramic” materials. When I was introduced to Antoni Gaudi, from Barcelona Spain, and to his American counterpart, Henry Mercer, from Doylestown Pennsylvania, this bridge led the way to a mosaic garden of inspiration.

 

"Yate Caribana"

A summer later, I was on a 90-foot private yacht, sailing as stewardess across the Atlantic to the colorful ports of call in the Mediterranean, including Gaudi’s beloved Barcelona. As my ceramic explorations continued, I was especially drawn to the Mallorquina work produced on the Balearic Islands off the cost of Spain.

 

{ MALLORQUINA WARE }

I learned here of the role that Mallorca had in the trade routes of this tin glazed work (known now more commonly as “Majolica”) centuries before from Turkey. I knew that when I returned to the states that my own personal explorations in ceramics would continue in this tradition of over glaze decoration.
I returned to Vermont in 1982, to Frog Hollow, and began working there as a studio potter. I spent the next summer in Doylestown, working in the apprenticeship program at the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, Henry Mercer’s historic factory.

{ MERCER TILE WORKS AND HOWARD AT PARQ GUELL }

I met Howard Peller the following summer, and new dreams developed of family, farm, and factory. We moved to Southern Ohio, to Muskingum County, home of “American Art Pottery” to set up our pottery company, Fioriware.

{ FIORIWARE FACTORY }

We spent the next twenty years lovingly creating our line of dinnerware and tabletop accessories, which we slumped, pressed, jiggered, cast, and rammed into dinner plates, trays, cups and saucers, platters, vases, pitchers, and mixing bowls.

Maddy at the glazing wheel, early 2003?

Using the Majolica decorative techniques, we waxed out the decoration, and then washed on the background color. The solid glazed work and embossments on our “Kitchenware Classics” line was equally inspired, and harkened back to the ceramic values and traditions of our regions past. Additionally we produced product in giftware, furniture, textiles, rugs, 

and glassware categories. We thrived personally and artistically by our abilities as craftsmen, designers, and entrepreneurs. Our unique and innovated products combined a European sense of color and design with an American Art Pottery tradition of utility and style. The presence of Fioriware in Zanesville was of historic importance as it contributed to the legacy of great art and craft products produced in this region.

{ INSIDE THE STORE AND CAFÉ FLORA }

You are welcome to view this work on our website: www.fioriwareartpottery.com
In the summer of 2006, we sadly closed our production facility in Zanesville.

{ HOWARD AND I IN FRONT OF OUR MOZAIC WALL  }

It was impossible to compete with “off shore” production on a national level. I kept a small studio at my home, and it has taken a few years and a few turns to find the path back across the bridge to my craftsmen roots. I no longer run a factory, or jigger or ram, but I still am an able thrower on the pottery wheel, and have to confess that I love to turn pots. I saved for myself the tray molds from the factory production line, and am grateful to still be able to make these useful objects. My current work has forms that are familiar in both pattern and color, but they have matured and loosened up a bit, as have I! The clay body is red, and the painted gestures are incised through the white majolica glaze and colored stains, to reveal the rich, warm color of the clay. The shapes are familiar too; fruit bowls with scalloped tops, serviceable utility bowls, and favorite trays with matching compotes. There are plenty of mugs and cereal bowls to be had, and dinner and lunch plates are available by special order. My intent is to provide you and your home well crafted and useful things which will continue traditions of enjoying family, friends, and festivity. The clay and glazes are food, dishwasher and microwave safe. The pieces are stylistically designed to be fun and easy to use and are intended to provide many years of service. I hope you enjoy using them as much as I have enjoyed making them for you.