Repro for Humanity

On January 18, 2008, a redware-filled apothecary cabinet will be sold at live auction at the preview party for Goodrich and Company’s Designer Craftsmen Show of Philadelphia in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.  Fifty percent of the proceeds are to be donated to Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia.

Created by potter Greg Shooner and cabinetmaker John Spicer, this cabinet has never been seen before.  Shooners nearly 10 years of experience in redware production and Spicer’s carpentry skills were lavished on this piece over a full year’s time.

The cabinet case, made of 100-year-old loblolly pine that Spicer had been saving for “something special” is of mortise-and-tendon construction, about 16” tall and 18” wide x 7” deep. The wood has distinct, wavy grain, mellowed and oxidized by a long trip to Spicer’s smokehouse.  The base features William and Mary bun feet composed of Shooner’s turned redware  the top is a complex molded cornice.  Rope-twist Ohio clay balusters frame the sides, and two doors fastened with Spicer’s diminutive, hand-forged rat-tail hinges, open to reveal the fitted interior, finished in robin’s-egg blue.

The intercompartments showcase 29 pieces of Shooner’s redware.  The work’s various sizes and shapes display an entire vocabulary of glazes and decoration.  There are square lidded herb boxes, each with an applied lion’s-head decoration, and bottles wreathed with a garland of leaves.  A mortar and pestle takes the center compartment to best display the classically  shaped vessel decorated with leaves, a wavy,  mochaware-like glaze, and top and bottom rims with lots of color.  The pestle is turned, glazed (except for the business end), and sgraffitoed.  Lidded pots and jars, including an ink pot and pill pot, share six compartments.  The bottom shelf displays a row of nine stoppered book flasks, each numbered, each with a different, exuberantly sgraffitoed cover and ridged spines in a stippled glaze.

Shooner has perched a pair of sculpted figures to serve a candle holders at each front corner.  One is a boy, the other, a girl both are elfin.

The designer Craftsman Show begins with the preview party and auction on Friday, January 18 from 6 to 9 p.m.  The admission is $35.  The show opens Saturday, January 19, and runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., continuing on Sunday, January 20, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Admission is $12.  All events will be held at the Valley Forge Convention Center, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.  For more information, call (717) 796-2380.

Maine Antique Digest, December 2007