You can't help but get in a mellow-yellow frame of mind when it comes to this tall arts and crafts bud vase. It is bulbous shaped with a narrow neck and a flared rim. Overall, the piece is about 8 inches tall and 3 inches wide at the fullest point of the base. The vase is glazed in a soft, somewhat dull yellow finish. What makes this piece especially distinctive is the inch-wide floral band around the top. This features larger, cream colored dogwood flowers beautifully integrated into a collage of simple greenery. These elements are outlined and then and filled with flat tones harmonizing with the background of the piece - giving the decoration a distinctive 3D look and feel. The vase is signed "SEG" and "FL" on the bottom. The vase is a terrific example of "Saturday Evening Girls" pottery; it was made in 1914 and signed by decorator Fanny Levine.
The arts and crafts movement, although international in scope, had strong ties to the Boston, Massachusetts area. This period, whose influence was felt from 1860 through the 1930's, advocated for authentic craftsmanship and emphasised traditional materials, earthen tones, and decorations based on idealized, natural themes. The movement also championed economic and social reform as part of the manufacturing process. And that's were the "Saturday Evening Girls" come into the picture!
The Saturday Evening Girls (SEG) was a project set up under the auspices of The Paul Revere Pottery company in Boston, Massachusetts. This company was in business from 1906 through 1942. SEG was formed in 1907 to help the children of poor immigrants in the North End of Boston. It was initiated by Mrs. James J. Storrow, a founding member of the North Bennett Industrial School in Boston’s North End. This socially progressive and philanthropically focused woman wanted to provide underserved teens with lectures on Saturday evenings at the North end branch of the Boston Public Library. Instead of charging dues, participants "paid" for their membership by providing one hour per week of decorating service to the The Paul Revere Pottery Company. In addition, some girls worked part time at the company to earn money for their families or to pay for school; others painted pottery to learn a trade or to keep off the streets.
Only three years after moving into The Bowl Shop, the company again moved to a larger pottery in nearby Brighton, Massachusetts. This fully staffed and well designed facility was better able to serve up the up to 200 "Saturday Evening Girls" who worked part time for the company. You can see the women at work here on the left. The company had a solid reputation for good working conditions, fair management, reasonable pay, and a positive employee culture. Despite the company closing its doors for good in 1942, Saturday Evening Girls pottery today is recognized as a gold standard in Arts and Crafts craftsmanship of the early twentieth century - and has enthusiastic collectors worldwide.
I would like to thank Meg Chalmers and Judy Young from Crone's Collectibles for this historical and stylistic introduction to Saturday Evening Girls pottery. Crone's Collectibles is located in Northwood, NH. The company specializes Arts and Crafts era American Art Pottery of the Stickley era including Rookwood, Grueby, Marblehead, Early Van Briggle, Newcomb, and especially Saturday Evening Girls (SEG) or Paul Revere Pottery (PRP). They can be reached at (508) 237-3799 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Meg and Judy are regular exhibitors at New England Antique Shows and will be bringing many marvelous examples of SEG pottery to the upcoming show on October 21st and 22nd, 2012. They are, however, retiring soon after 18 years in the business, so the time is NOW to connect with them if you are interested in this item or others by SEG!
Learn more about New England Antique Shows and their upcoming events by clicking here!