Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Small Collection & Why It's Special

I have a small collection of brown pottery on our mantel.  The tallest piece is from my husband's family, the other two are the special ones, to me anyway.  They are "Uncle John" pots.  I own three of them, these two are from his dinner ware set "Fiestaware."  If you google John Foster, potter you'll find a book about Uncle John, The Pottery of John Foster: Form and Meaning.  You'll also find a current John Foster .... no relation.  .

Uncle John was my mother's uncle, my great uncle.  He was a potter with only one arm and a stump and he made beautiful, fragile porcelain vases and bowls.  He lost an arm in an industrial accident. The book says there are no drawings left that were done before he lost his arm. The book is wrong but I'm not going to tell the publisher.  I have one, a pen and ink that he did of Mother's Scottie.

I remember the first I learned about Uncle John.  I was downtown Detroit with my grandmother.  It was evening and we were walking to or from the bus, I don't remember why we were there but she stopped in front off a gallery window.  There was a row of pottery in the window that she was looking at.   It must have been after shopping because a gentleman came up to her and began chatting with her.  I suspect he was the owner of the gallery or at least worked there.  He was telling her about the pottery that had just won something at some big exhibit.   I was too young to remember those details but not too young to remember my grandmother's response. "Yes, I know, he's my brother-in-law."

"WOW, I'm related to a real artist", was the first thing that went through my young mind.  I was impressed, even more so when I eventually met Uncle John and Aunt Edith.  Aunt Edith was also an artist, a jeweler, and the two of them lived in the back of their studio.  As a teenager I loved to take my grandmother to visit them.

As a youngster my "what I want to be when I grow up" went through changes.  I suppose all children  do but I'm betting there weren't a lot of young girls who dreamt of being a race boat driver. That one lasted quite a long time.  If you Google Don Wilson, raceboat driver you'll learn why I decided that may not be a good option.  Florence Chadwick seemed a better choice.  The third was artist but I didn't think that was attainable.  I knew I could drive a boat -- fast, I know I could swim a long distance.  I didn't know I could be an artist.

But it turns out the third option was the right one.

1 comment:

Joan Tavolott said...

Love the story about your uncle and aunt. It is great that you remember it so clearly and have something tangible to remember him by.