I know I say it all of the time but it is true. I have THE best friends. Months ago one of my local friends, Genny Messmer, asked me if I would like another teapot for my collection. Not ever wanting to turn down I teapot I heartily agreed and was so happy to be included in her downsizing efforts. She had asked all of her family and no one seemed to want to give this magnificent set a home so it was up to me.
According to Genny, the pottery was given to her grandmother, Hazel Putze Bibb, as a wedding gift in 1926. It is Czech peasant pottery and a fine example of it. This type of pottery became well known in the 1900’s by a man named Joseph Mrazek. While this pottery does not have his mark on it it is quite indicative of his style that he made extremely popular.
A well loved and well used teapot shows the signs of wear and tear but isn’t it lovely? Honestly –when I am its age I am sure I will show more signs of wear and tear than this lovely gem.
Don’t you just wonder how much cups of tea were brewed in this lovely? How many sips were taken out of the matching cups?
Some of what I read about Joseph Mrazek was so interesting. Genny shared an article with me that I will share at the end of this post for those who are interested in reading more. Suffice it to say this man influenced this industry greatly and was a huge creative.
Joseph Mrazek, born in 1889 in Podebrady, Bohemia, migrated to America to escape being drafted by the Austrian/Germany militia. He spent time at the St. Louis Academy of Arts and then went to NYC to find work as an artist at Hester Decorating Company. In 1917, Macy’s department stores ran a special do it at home ceramic artist kit where the buyer would purchase the kit and return their decorated piece to the store to be fired. Mrazek purchased a few kits and the rest, as they say, is history. He purchased a kiln, bought a supply of pieces to paint and eventually opened the Czecho Peasant Art Company from his apartment in NYC.
This pottery is not delicate by any means and would be more aptly described as chunky. Substantial, probably designed to be used daily, it is sturdy and substantial and bold. The decorations on this type of piece are bold and vibrant and lovely.
I am so thrilled to add this to my collection and with the 6 cups that accompany it I can happily serve a few friends at the same time. So come on over, sit a spell and enjoy a cup of tea with me. Thanks to Genny for giving me such a wonderful gift that is filled with memories and history as well.