Blue Mountain pottery is one of the most recognized names in Canadian pottery with its distinctive colours and patterns that have made the pottery so popular among collectors that there is a Blue Mountain Pottery Collectors Club.
The company was founded in the early 1950s by a trio of Czech immigrants, Jozo Weider, Denis Tupy and Mirek Hambalek, who started their business in a barn at the foot of the ski resort in Collingwood. As the popularity of the pottery grew, they bought a building on Pine Street in the town of Collingwood where the business flourished.
When they started the business, they bought ceramic blanks and decorated them with ski-themed designs before creating their own pottery designs in a mid-century modern style. Their pottery was styled in a wide range of themes from animals and fish to bowls, vases and platters all with the signature BMP on the bottom of each piece.
The manufacturing process started with red clay from the Brampton area that was screened several times to eliminate impurities that would affect the pottery in the firing process. Any impurities could cause the pieces to blister in the kiln. Once screened, the clay was mixed with water and the moisture was poured into moulds made of plaster of paris that helped to absorb moisture out of the poured clay. The clay sat in the mould to thicken the sides in the clay. After the remaining liquid is poured out of the mould, the pieces go through a warming process to dry the clay and absorb the moisture out of the clay.
Then the pottery is removed from the moulds and the seams created by the mould are removed by hand, they are smoothed with a sponging technique and placed on carts that are wheeled into the kiln for a bisque firing to cure the clay and make it durable. The pottery is removed from the kiln and cooled, in preparation for the glazing process.
The distinguishing feature of Blue Mountain Pottery is the trademarked glazing process known as “reflowing decorating” whereby light and dark-coloured liquid glazes were applied, one after the other, before being fired in the kiln. The glazes would run together in the firing process and create a streaking pattern that made each piece unique.
Before the company closed in 2004, they were producing pottery in the traditional green finish as well as cobalt blue, brown and red. Today, Blue Mountain Pottery can be found in antique shops as well as second-hand and thrift stores.
Pieces of Blue Mountain Pottery can be found from time to time among the quality antiques available from 35 dealers at the Cookstown Antique Market on Highway 27 in Cookstown, Ontario. Decorators, collectors and the casual enthusiast can browse through the 6,000 square foot century old barn for that special purchase.
Blue Mountain Pottery
When it comes to vintage costume jewellery, Sherman Jewellery is a name that is sought after by collectors for its enduring beauty, elegance and quality. Sparkling, colourful rhinestones arranged in stunning settings, has set Sherman Jewellery apart from other jewellery brands.
Founded by Gustave Sherman in 1947 in his native Montreal, he established his company after trying his hand at other careers which included buying gold and selling it to smelters for a small profit. Sherman was not a jeweller but he had learned that women loved jewellery and he set his sights on producing exquisite bracelets, necklaces, earrings and brooches to satisfy this discerning market.
Sherman had an eye for quality and he refused to settle for anything less or produce cheaper lines or seasonal collections; as far as he was concerned, there was no substitution for the best. After many years of successfully producing rhinestone jewellery, Sherman ceased using rhinestones when the popularity of rhinestone jewellery declined, switching to sterling silver and gold designs that incorporated Swarovski stones, superior findings and the best plating methods.
Refusing to be complacent, Sherman was always eager to try emerging and different cuts and colours in his jewellery, wanting to become one of the first jewellery manufacturers to use them. His jewellery became well-known across Canada due to being sold in high-end jewellers in Canada like Birks as well as major department stores like Eaton’s and The Hudson Bay Company. However, the basis of his sales was in small local jewellery stores in small towns across the country.
The phrase “Jewels of Elegance” was stamped on the paper foil tag that was attached to Sherman Jewellery pieces as a testament to the sophistication and elegance of the jewellery. Sherman was innovative and had the innate ability to know the range of taste of costume jewellery whether it was for the rural homemaker or high society women. However, he had only one price range for his jewellery, which was the most expensive costume jewellery of its style, his pieces ranged from the classical to the extravagant, each made to a very high standard of excellence.
The distinction, extravagance exceptionally high standard of quality produced by Sherman Jewellery ended in 1981 when Gus Sherman ceased operations of his company in 1981. He passed away in 1983.
Some pieces of Sherman Jewellery is among the quality antiques available from 35 dealers at the Cookstown Antique Market on Highway 27 in Cookstown, Ontario.