• figchronicles

"Green Things"

by: Sage Ryan

If you’ve ever visited any of our three locations, (the girl & the fig, the fig café, or Suite D), you may have noticed that each location is decorated with an assortment of green pottery.

Why exclusively green pottery, you ask? It just so happens that collecting various pieces of green pottery is one of Sondra Bernstein’s passions and hobbies.

Sondra calls them her “green things.” For over thirty-five years she has been collecting them from flea markets, garage sales, antique shops; she has received them fondly as gifts and has been known to do a late night binge on Etsy or Ebay. You might call this an addiction, so much so that in the early 2000’s, she self-imposed a $12.00 limited per piece spending. (Whether or not she still abides by that is a secret unknown!)

Green pottery primarily originates from China but is also valued in Korea, Thailand, and Japan. Green pottery derives its color from a green ceramic glaze called Celadon. Celadon dates back to around 206-220 AD and was first used on stoneware.

The creation of these wares entailed first applying liquefied clay, (that contained high levels of iron), to the stoneware prior to glazing. Due to the iron’s interaction with the glaze during firing, it produced an assortment of unique shades of green. The colors of Celadon pottery typically range from a pale, seafoam green, to a dark, avocado-like green; often resembling shades of Jade.

Fun Fact: In the 14th century many people believed a superstition that suggested Celadon dishware would change color if the food or liquid in it had been poisoned.

During the late 1800’s many U.S. pottery companies began to produce Celadon pottery. A few of the more well-known companies were The Hull Pottery Company, McCoy Pottery Company, and lastly The Haeger Potteries. Due to the decline in pottery’s popularity these businesses discontinued the production of Celadon pottery.

Today, Celadon pottery is a lot less common than any other type of colored pottery. The rarity of Celadon pottery truly makes Sondra’s collection an exceedingly special accomplishment, and (we think) adds to the unique charm and personality of the restaurants. Next time you visit us, have a closer look!

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