American Art Pottery Association Convention

. November 9, 2008

The American Art Pottery Association’s 28th annual convention, hosted this past April for the first time in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania/Lambertville, New Jersey area, was so successful that the AAPA plans to return there in April, 2009. AAPA President Arnie Small noted “that the convention surpassed all of our expectations.”

Attendance at the two-day 2008 Show & Sale exceeded 500 admissions, and the 45 exhibitors in the sold-out indoor space at the Sheraton Bucks County hotel reported sales of a wide variety of pots and tiles by vintage and contemporary makers, including regional favorites such as Moravian and Fulper. Show visitors were highly complimentary of the educational showcases assembled by volunteers, which featured regional pottery firms American Belleek, Stangl, and Trenton.

The annual art pottery auction was held at the Rago Arts and Auction Center in Lambertville, New Jersey. David Rago and Suzanne Perrault donated the use of their facility for the event. AAPA Auction Chairman Greg Belhorn, of Belhorn Auction Services, LLC handled the gavel duties for the large and enthusiastic crowd and active Internet bidders.

The convention seminars offered an array of topics from notable guest speakers, including Ulysses Dietz, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts at The Newark Museum; Vance Koehler, curator of the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works; Arlie Sulka, Owner of Lillian Nassau LLC and veteran Antiques Roadshow appraiser; and Davey Willans, President of the Board of Trustees of Craftsman Farms.

The traditional AAPA banquet featured keynote speaker David Rago, American and European 20th Century decorative arts and furnishings specialist, Antiques Roadshow appraiser, and publisher of Style 1900 magazine. His commentary on American art pottery was thought provoking and entertaining.

The 2008 convention included two tours. The earlybird tour visited historical and architectural sites in downtown Philadelphia, plus special stops to view the pottery and ceramics housed at the Independence Living History Center Archeology Laboratory, and a visit to the Curtis Building to see The Dream Garden, a 100,000 piece glass mural designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany from a painting by Maxfield Parrish. Lunch featured Philadelphia specialties at the Reading Market.

The all-day tour focused on the life and creations of ceramist, archeologist, and historian Henry Chapman Mercer. Attendees received in-depth tours of his Moravian Tile Works, along with Mercer’s adjacent, unique, poured concrete and tile-studded home, Fonthill. The tour also included time in Doylestown for exploring the Mercer Museum, a testament to the owner’s exhaustive efforts to collect everyday objects of the 19th century.

Next year’s AAPA convention in the Philadelphia, PA/Lambertville, NJ area will feature entirely new tours and seminars, along with the traditional auction and show and sale. The keynote speaker will be noted author Dr. Martin Eidelberg, and one of the confirmed seminar speakers will be tile expert and Antiques Roadshow appraiser Suzanne Perrault discussing Grueby tiles. There will be a special behind-the-scenes tour of Gustav Stickley’s home, Craftsman Farms, and, tentatively, a private viewing of the art pottery holdings of a major institution. The dates are April 22 – 26, 2009. More information will be available soon on the AAPA website: www.AAPA.info.

Category: Antiques News

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