Some of Our Members

Al Kohlman

When first starting to collect stoneware, it was with Red Wing some 30 years past and it was the zinc glazed pieced I adored.   I loved that creamy white glaze, great sheen and perfect stenciling.  While all the seasoned collectors were screaming salt glaze, I thought they were in early stages of dementia.  So I was taking advantages of those under privileged collectors and began trading and selling my salt glazed finds for those perfect zinc pieces they had in their collections. 

After 10 years of collecting those unspoiled zinc glazed pieces, I began to drift ever so slowly to those early primitive salt glazed pieces.  It was not long after that my love of salt glazed began to change and I commenced to appreciate those primitive pieces of stoneware and the potters that fabricated them.  

In my early years of collecting, those seasoned salt glazed collectors came after me like maggots on decaying meat.  They invited me to their homes to exhibit their zinc glazed pieces they had to trade or sell and while there I viewed their collections.  A few of these Wisconsin Red Wing salt glaze collectors also collected Wisconsin Stoneware along with Red Wing.  I remember saying to myself “Red Wing salt glaze is quite crude, but this Wisconsin stoneware should be buried and never seen again”.

Well as I started to shift my Red Wing zinc glaze to salt glaze, it was not long before I began to appreciate those hand drawn decorations and how primitive some of these pieces were, yet still attractive to view.  As my salt glaze collection began to grown so did my desire for these pieces to become even more primitive.  I think it was at that time when the mule kicked and those buried never to be seen Wisconsin stoneware piece began to emerge. 

In or around 2002, I began to gather all the information I could find on Wisconsin Stoneware.  The more I read, the more intrigued I became.  It was the short production period, glazes, history and rarity that fired the furnace inside me.  After finding a few nice pieces of decorated and signed Wisconsin Stoneware pieces I was extremely impressed on how well they displayed along side my Red Wing salt glaze pieces. 

It has now been10 years that I have been collecting Wisconsin stoneware along side of Red Wing and I have loved each and every find I have found, fought for, threaten to behead and held ransom to achieve.  My interest is decorated & signed Wisconsin Stoneware (along with nicely decorated Red Wing salt glaze) which may hold a different decoration than I have in my collection. 

I am currently interested in securing a L. J. Farwell piece along with a 2 or 3 gallon Oakton Springs Water jug.

 

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Author: Al Kohlman
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