Covered Wagon creamer
© Estate of Walter B. Stephen
A teapot, creamer, and sugar bowl pottery. Westward Ho cameo design, ox drawn wagon and other figures depicted in white. Upper body of pottery has a matte green glaze, lower body has gloss green glaze.
Stephen began making and selling pottery in Tennessee with his mother in the early 1900s at their company called Nonconnah Pottery. By 1926 he had opened his own company, Pisgah Forest Pottery, in Arden, NC. There, he continued the style of pottery taught to him by his mother—known as cameo— which is raised porcelain decoration. While it is often compared to Wedgwood pottery developed in England in the 1790s, Pisgah cameo decoration was made by hand rather than molded and had a less refined look. Stephen depicted scenes of pioneer life, including covered wagons and cowboys, not the ancient mythology seen in Wedgwood. The glazes developed and used by Stephen reflect the colors of the Western North Carolina sunset. Stephen continuously experimented with his glazes and in the process discovered what became known as crystalline glaze. Pisgah Forest Pottery was very popular with Asheville tourists wanting to bring home a souvenier.
Exhibition Title: Asheville Art Museum: An Introduction to the Collection
Label Date: 2021
Type: Catalogue Entry
Written by: Whitney Richardson
Walter B. Stephen, born in 1897, moved with his family as an adolescent from Iowa to Nebraska, and then to Southern Appalachia by way of covered wagon. Decades later, Stephen frequently depicted American folk imagery using the cameo technique on the surface of the pottery produced at Pisgah Forest. This tea set illustrates a covered wagon journey, one of several cameo designs Pisgah Forest patrons could select for their wares. This set also offers a characteristic example of the favored pink interior glaze.
Exhibition Title: Walter B. Stephen Pottery: Cameo to Crystalline
Label Date: July 2021
Written by: Alexis Meldrum
- Walter B. Stephen Pottery: Cameo to Crystalline Asheville Art Museum , 7/28/2021 - 1/17/2022
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