Colorware History & Design

The Maximalist


RASI’ve been a collector a long time. Maybe as long as I can remember! As a little girl, I used to to antique shopping with my parents. Every time we were out and about, I remember seeing all of these beautiful colored dishes. But it wasn’t until much later that I started collecting dinnerware.

In the early 1990s, when I was living in Denver, Colorado, my mom sent me a book on collecting Fiesta – it was the beautiful colored dinnerware that I had seen as a child. While I was in love with it, it was still very expensive and I was just out of college struggling to make ends meet. A few years earlier, Homer Laughlin China Company – the original producers of Fiesta – begin producing a modern iteration of Fiesta. My family and friends started helping me buy place settings to use on an everyday basis. The more I got, the more I became interested in other dinnerware lines – and being a consummate collector, thrift-store enthusiast and antique store maven – I began trolling shops and exploring. I would probably pick up every piece of dinnerware that I could find (even if I didn’t like it!) just to learn more about it.

Antique shopping in mid/late 1990s was pretty awesome, especially in a city like Denver. Denver grew up in the 1950s, so much of I found (and begin to collect) was within that genre: Vernon Kilns, Metlox, Laurel of California, Franciscan… But it wasn’t until just a few short years ago that I returned to the 1930s. I had played the 50s out — from a collecting and aesthetics perspective — and was looking to get back into colorware. The focus of my collecting rapidly turned to Pacific Pottery’s Hostess Ware line with its beautiful streamline deco design, bright colors and hand-crafted look and feel. I’ve had fun collecting and wanted the opportunity to share with you!

If you love California colorware as much as I do, I encourage you to join our Facebook group 1930s California Colorware. Hope to see you there!

— Rachel Alt-Simmons, QwkDog Design

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