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This old “tried and true” milk bowl identified by the pronounced outer rim was a utilitarian piece of stoneware that could be found in any farmhouse. I decided to decorate this for the holidays by adding a festive Gingerbread cookie cutter, greens along with a small treenware bowl filled pepper berries a primitive spoon and gingerbread that are all included!
There is some controversy regarding “Albany Slip” glaze. Some people identify Albany Slip stoneware pieces as possessing a dark, rich chocolate brown glaze while others consider the clay that was found in Albany, New York to be authentic using this name. According to Duane from “Doc’s Crocks”, if stoneware pieces have a brown glaze inside they are considered Albany slip. Most of the Albany clay was used to create the slip lending an impervious surface and is considered glacial clay found in a pit.
Originally rich deposits of clay were found in the Albany Hudson River region of New York state. This clay is darker and has intricate mineralogy with high levels of alkalis and irons. Around 1830 this particular clay acted as a substitute for the dangerous lead glaze that was being used for crocks or storage jars which contained earthy provisions. People became sick from this lead glaze as stored pickles for example, were tainted from the lead used in the glaze for these storage vessels.
Potters have used this clay for over 250 years as this area was an active pottery-making region. By the 1840’s almost 60 potters produced and sold pottery in and around the city of Albany. Another important feature is numerous glaze variations were formulated using Albay slip clay (slip clay is a naturally occurring clay that forms a glaze) as the minor or major ingredient.
This unmarked milk bowl is in good condition without any cracks to report. There are a couple chips to note……one located on the bottom edge that occurred long ago as shown in image 10 and the other is on the outer edge just below the bottom rim, see image 8. Several tiny areas on the outside of this piece got missed when the glaze was applied as referenced in image 4.
Four curved lines that resemble a fingernail mishap are located on the pronounced rim (middle area). There is also an area near the bottom that has tiny bubbles which formed during the firing process clustered together as referenced in image 5. Some age related scratches can also be found on the outside but are random and don’t show until bright light comes into play, see image 5. The overall condition of the bowl is still good and the reflective, chocolate brown, deep surface is beautiful. The form is also great because this piece resembles a flower pot shape rather than a traditional style bowl.
Harry made the wire support to hold a diminutive, old wooden bowl. Small bowls such as this one are hard to find and are as cute as the dickens especially filled with holiday cheer! The patina is warm and pleasing.
An old gingerbread cookie cutter was added for the holidays and is of the larger variety size. There is a small amount of rust on the right side as shown but there are no breaks in the solder. Dark patina seems to rule the day and reminds us how old this piece is sporting great overall condition.
Lastly, cinnamon sticks tied in a bundle and accented with a couple chenille candy canes add color and interest to this festive gathering set amongst an array of faux greens. A couple of dried orange slices, a beechnut pod and gum balls also found a home nestled inside.
This gathering presented on a table for the holidays would invoke old Christmas charm and should certainly delight your guests! After the holidays are over you can replace the greens with a collection of rolling pins, butter paddles and spoons too. You can also turn the wire insert for the bowl around so it is facing the outside of the bowl as an option…….this way your treen collections can be placed inside if you so choose. The small bowl can be filled with early peas, pearl onions or soup beans for every day decorating. Enjoy!
The bowl stands 5 ¼” tall, measures a little over 7” across the top (right to left) and measures a little under 5” across the bottom. Small bowl stands 1” tall measures 2 ½” across the top (right to left) and measures 1 ¾” across the bottom (right to left). Wire insert opening measures 2 ½” across the top opening (right to left) and the hanger stands 1 ½” tall. Gingerbread stands 4 ¾” tall, measures 3 ¼” across @ the widest point and measures 2 ½” deep. Cinnamon sticks measures 5” tall. Small spoon measures 3 ¾” tall and measures ½” across the bowl. Small gingerbread measures 1 ½” tall and measures 1 ¼” across @ the widest point (arms).
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