Monday, August 6, 2012

Y is for Yellow

Yellow ware is made from a variety of buff-colored clay that fire dark to light yellow and are finished with a clear glaze. It was prized for its utilitarian purpose and cheery color in the kitchen.  All yellow ware is considered earthenware and as such is more porous than stoneware.  In the US, these clays were primarily based in New Jersey and parts of the Midwest.  Yellow ware was first produced in England during the 1600's and exported to America during the late 1820's.  Production in the United States began during the 1840's through the 1850's.  Yellow ware became more popular than red ware (which contains more iron) as a result of its durability due to a higher firing temperature in the kiln. By the 1850's demand was so high that large potteries in Ohio produced thousands of pieces yearly until the 1930's when tastes changed to white ironstone.  Yellow ware is considered a transitional pottery between red ware and white ware.  The items could be plain utilitarian pieces, or decorated with colored slip designs or embossing.  The most beautiful are known as mocha ware, a seaweed looking blue design on white slip.  
English Yellow ware will 'ring' when it is gently tapped; North American yellow ware will 'thud'. Old pieces have lead glazes and should not be used for food preparation or storage.  Happy Hunting!


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