Red Wing, MN – A signed Red Wing 10 gallon butterfly-decorated salt glaze water cooler, a “Holy Water” cooler and a coveted Potters Excursion jug are just a few of the impressive pieces highlighting the official members-only auction at the Red Wing Collectors Society Convention, July 6-8 in Red Wing.
The RWCS will celebrate its 40th Anniversary at this year’s Convention, which will unofficially begin on Wednesday, July 5 when the RWCS Foundation holds its “Wine-ing for Red Wing” fundraiser from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Pottery Museum of Red Wing at 240 Harrison Street, Red Wing. Admission for the fundraising event is $20; it will feature food and beverages, and silent and live auctions.
The RWCS Convention officially kicks off the next day with a welcome from the city’s mayor and a special 40th Anniversary Keynote Address at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 6 at the Minnesota State College Southeast campus at 308 Pioneer Road in Red Wing. RWCS Historian Nancy Lambert has assembled a group of nearly a dozen RWCS collectors representing the past 40 years that will share insight into their passion for collecting and fond memories as members of the Society. Then RWCS Charter Members will be recognized and a special 40th Anniversary celebration for members will follow at noon in the college’s cafeteria.
The official RWCS members-only auction*, which features more than 250 pieces consigned by members, will take place at 4:30 that evening at the Red Wing National Guard Armory at 885 E 7th Street in Red Wing. Onsite registration will be available to become a member. The auction preview will be open from 3 to 4:15 p.m. this year. Catalogs are for sale for $5 in advance at the Pottery Museum of Red Wing or can be purchased at the auction itself.
RWCS members will also have their lineup of usual favorites to attend during Convention, including street sales held at Red Wing’s historic Pottery Place, other stoneware and pottery auctions held on Tuesday and Wednesday, educational seminars and the official RWCS Show & Sale at the Red Wing National Guard Armory that begins for members at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 8 It opens FREE to the public from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. In addition to these activities, a “Crock Hop” celebration will feature music, food and fun from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 7 at the Pottery Museum of Red Wing.
Other Convention activities include a “Crock Hunt” scavenger hunt around Red Wing, pottery demonstrations by local potter Richard Spiller, and a special display room at Minnesota State College Southeast campus where members create their own unique displays of Red Wing items for the education and enjoyment of attendees.
An annual commemorative will be unveiled and distributed to members beginning Thursday, July 6. The commemorative piece is a closely guarded secret and there is much speculation as to what the piece will be each year. It is a miniature replica of a Red Wing pottery item with a limited number made. Last year’s commemorative was a stoneware advertising mini jug.
Breakout education sessions scheduled for Friday, July 7 at the Minnesota State College Southeast campus will offer a great selection of diverse topics. The presentations are listed below; check out the “Education Seminars” page on the Convention section of the RWCS website for more detailed descriptions.
• The Journey of Collecting Red Wing by RWCS Hall of Famer Larry Peterson.
• Is That Right? Aftermarket Dinnerware & Art Pottery by Laura Beall.
• Stoneware Fruit Jars by Marv Juel.
• Digging Historic Privies and Dumps by RWCS Hall of Famer Steve Showers and his wife, Phyllis.
• Dump Finds by Red Wing Dump Diggers Paul Boudin & Connie Mathison.
• Early Colfax Springs History and Stoneware by Mark C. Wiseman.
• Divided Minnesota, Divided Goodhue County: the WWI Years by Fred Johnson.
• 19th Century Base Ball History and Fun Facts by Doug Ernst.
• Ceramics Conservator by Jin Crimando, Pottery Museum of Red Wing Inventory Specialist.
• Back to the Futura and Dinnerware Odds & Ends, Mid 1950s to Mid 1960s (two different presentations) by RWCS Hall of Famers Terry Moe & Larry Roschen.
• Red Wing Cinema: A Video of Red Wing Designer Eva Zeisel’s 2000 RWCS Convention Keynote Presentation.
Another unique aspect of the RWCS Convention is the participation of the younger generation through the KidsView program. The Society is on the leading edge of creating engaging and educational ways to get the younger generations involved in collecting. Children ages 3-12 will have several hands-on pottery creation projects and a Kids’ Show & Sale to participate in at the Minnesota State College Southeast campus from 9:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, July 7.
To further complement KidsView, the RWCS Young Collectors is entering its 5th year of helping Red Wing collectors ages 13 to 20 grow their interest in Red Wing. This is a great opportunity to learn more about Red Wing, develop new friendships through peer-to-peer discussion groups and participate in hands-on activities. Young Collectors activities will begin at the Minnesota State College Southeast campus at 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 6. Participants will also take a field trip to the Pottery Museum of Red Wing and return to the college around noon.
To learn more about all the events and activities of the RWCS Convention, visit the RWCS website event page for the Convention.
The RWCS can also be followed on Twitter and be found on Facebook. Like most antique collecting clubs, attracting young new collectors has been a challenge for the RWCS. A bright spot in the organizations recruiting efforts has come through the RWCS Facebook Chapter, which is a highly active page where recent finds are shared, questions are answered and pieces are bought and sold by new and advanced collectors alike. To join the conversation, visit www.facebook.com/groups/RWCSChapter/.
* Registering onsite to attend the RWCS Convention costs $35 per person; kids 15 and under are free. Annual membership in the Red Wing Collectors Society also costs $35 and includes full-color newsletters mailed to your home throughout the year. The RWCS was founded in 1977 in Red Wing and there are more than 3,000 members worldwide. For more information or to become a member, call the RWCS business office at 800-977-7927, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.redwingcollectors.org. You can also join the RWCS on Facebook and follow it on Twitter at @RWCollectors.