Redware Oval Bowl 1987 by Lester Breininger

Item number: 5541

This long oval bowl, also called a trencher, was handmade in 1987 by Lester Breininger (1935-2011) of Robesonia, Pennsylvania, regarded as one of the premier folk potters of the last half of the 20th century. He was originally a teacher by profession and a mostly self-taught potter who loved history and the traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch (German) settlers. For 45 years, he used time-honored, traditional techniques to make his redware; Breininger Pottery closed in August 2011 and Lester died that December. We've included a photograph of him holding a piece of his wonderful pottery.

Bowls like this one were shaped out of slabs of red clay draped over wooden forms. The edge was then coggled with a wooden wheel, just like piecrust. Next it was then painted with wave designs using slip (a mixture of water and clay that contained minerals). Only two colors were used to great decorative effect here: an orangey-yellow and black. The inner surface of the bowl was given a clear glaze, protecting it from staining.

The underside of the bowl was left dry and was signed "L. BREININGER ROBESONIA, PA SEPT 3, 1987," incised into the clay. The bowl measures 13 1/2 inches long, 9 1/2 inches front to back and 2 1/4 inches high. It weighs a tad under 3 pounds and is in excellent condition, with no cracks or chips and virtually no wear. It's simply a beautiful example of the folk potter's art and one of Lester Breininger's masterpieces.


PYH 5541