I recently ran across a cute little pottery jam jar with a backstamp that read “R.K. Blue Hill, ME.” It was a mellow yellow color with a lid that sported a red rose on top. All done in clay and glossy glazed. Well, if there’s anything you all know about me at this point it is that I love pottery. I did a quick check on my phone and found out it was probably by a company by the name of Rowantrees. I did purchase this little jam jar pictured below knowing I had to go home and research them more. This is what I found out to share with you.
Rowantrees Pottery was started by a woman named Adelaide Pearson. She was a world traveler and a number of other things. According to Maine Memory, she offered art classes in her home and set up her own kiln in 1934.
She wanted to teach others the skill of throwing clay. Her items and the items her students made began to grow in popularity. Much like Newcomb College (although less prolific), the pieces were interesting and well done. They became an important part of commercial industry in Blue Hill, Maine.
Their glazes are really pretty and reminiscent of the colors you would find in nature. Blue Hill sits on the coast of Maine where the Atlantic Ocean laps at the shore on a quiet day or whips into whitecaps when angry. You can see that in these plates …
Wild blueberries are indigenous to Maine. Here they sit atop a pretty jam jar.
More glazes inspired by nature …
The colors are understated just like the Maine coast. The depth in the pieces draw you into them as if you are surrounded by nature.
In 1986 the pottery was cited by OSHA as they apparently used raw lead in some of their glazes and the workers were exposed. According to a Bangor Daily News article from 1986, a woman by the name of Sheila Varnum, who had been working there since she was 14 years old and had been trained by Pearson herself, was going to appeal the citation. Vinegar was used to neutralize the lead in the glazes. She also wanted to retire as she had worked at Rowantrees Kiln for 46 years. She wanted a company who could carry on the tradition of quality that Rowantrees had become known for. A company named Lowell Hill Pottery of Penobscot, Maine became the only company with the exclusive right to recreate Rowantrees Pottery. They have their own line as well. Their recreations also have the Lowell Hill Pottery mark with the Rowantrees mark to help date the piece.
I love this color!
If you want to see more vintage pottery, stop by my shop Vintage Eve’s and take a look around. Have a great week!