Potteries of Trenton Society

2011 Trenton Ceramics Symposium
Explores the City's Decorating Trade

Skin Deep: Trenton's Decorating Trade

Presented by
Potteries of Trenton Society
New Jersey State Museum Auditorium, 205 West State Street, Trenton, NJ
Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie, Cadwalader Park, NJ

Saturday, April 2, 2011 10 am 4 pm

 

Advertising Plate, decorated in the 
	workshop of Joseph F. Keil and Robert 
      E. Greusser

Advertising Plate, decorated in the workshop of Joseph F. Keil and Robert E. Gruesser, Trenton, NJ, 1882-1883; 3 5/8” diameter. Photograph courtesy of Jonathan Rickard.

The Potteries of Trenton Society in partnership with the New Jersey State Museum and the Trenton Museum Society is pleased to present Skin Deep: Trenton's Decorating Trade. This program has been organized in conjunction with an exhibit at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion, Artists and Decorators of the Trenton Pottery Industry.

Directions to the State Museum's auditorium on West State Street.

When a ceramics industry grows as large as the one that existed in Trenton at the turn of the twentieth century it becomes extremely complicated with many sub industries that feed into it and off of it. In Trenton these sub industries included merchants who dealt in raw materials and specialized machinery as well as independent decorating workshops. The workshops provided mass market decorations as well as custom painting on order to the potteries or to retailers and middlemen in the retail business.

Award-winning historian and author Regina Lee Blaszczyk will present the keynote address (www.imaginingconsumers.com). She will explain how the workshops supplied the potteries with decorations and decorators and highlight the work of selected decorating shops. Additional speakers for the day will focus on the current exhibition at Ellarslie, Artists and Decorators of the Trenton Pottery Industry, which is on view until May 8, 2011.

The symposium will begin with registration and coffee at 10:00 a.m. The morning session will include Blaszczyk’s keynote address and one or two shorter talks. Lunch will be served at Ellarslie, where participants can view the current exhibition. A show–and-tell session will follow at Ellarslie from 2 to 4 p.m. Audience members can bring items decorated in Trenton for experts to examine and discuss. Each participant will be limited to submitting one item and no appraisals will be given.

The symposium is being presented in conjunction with the Ellarslie exhibition Artists and Decorators of the Trenton Pottery Industry. The exhibition features the work of the artists and artisans, known and anonymous, who worked in Trenton’s premier potteries from 1882 into the 1920s. In addition, the museum’s permanent exhibition and study collection on Trenton’s pottery industry includes mass market decorating by Trenton’s many workshops operating well into the twentieth century.

The symposium is open to the public. The registration fee is $35 if paid by March 18. Members of the Potteries of Trenton Society, the Friends of the NJ State Museum, and the Trenton Museum Society may attend for $30, if paid in advance. Everyone who pays at the door will be charged $40. Registration includes all lectures, lunch, and the show-and-tell session.

Program Schedule

10:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee, New Jersey State Museum Auditorium
10:30 a.m.-12:00pm Morning Program, New Jersey State Museum Auditorium
Regina Blaszczyk, historian and author,
The Decorating Industry in Trenton
Robert Cunningham, collector, The Best of the Best: The Golden Era of Decorating in Trenton
12:30-2:00 p.m. Lunch, Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie
2:00-4:00 p.m. Show-and-Tell Session, Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie
Audience members are invited to bring items decorated in Trenton for experts to examine and discuss. Each participant will be limited to submitting one item and no appraisals will be given.