What looks orange, but is really “radioactive red”? It’s Fiestaware of course…
“Radioactive Red” Fiestaware – am I hoarding or collecting?
I imprinted on my mother’s Fiestaware, so when it came time to have dishes of my own, Fiesta is what I wanted. That was before the new issue Fiesta that’s now in stores. My dishes came from beloved friends and relatives who passed theirs on to me, and of course from thrift shops. When Fiesta got trendy, and thrift store prices went up, I quit buying. I still remember passing up a stack of my then-favorite cobalt blue dinner plates at a St Vincent DePaul’s shop because they were charging (gasp) $1.00 per plate.
The streamlined look, the vivid colors, and the connection to the past are what attract me, but do I use my Fiestaware often enough to justify keeping it?
Spending time in waiting rooms last week, I read this in the recent issue of Oprah Magazine:
“The truth is: real collectors focus on, say, vintage lustreware, know the value of the items they have, and are always on the hunt for new pieces. What they don’t do is stash them in a trash bag under the bed. ‘A true collection,’ says Gail Steketee, PhD, dean of Boston University School of Social Work and an expert on hoarding, ‘is one that is kept in some sort of logical order and that you can show off.’ If you love your things, don’t you want to see them?”
And a little art-reading, from Phillipe De Montebello and Martin Gayford’s Rendez-vous with Art:
“Not long ago Damien Hirst said ‘Collecting is like stuff washed up on a beach somewhere, and that somewhere is you. Then, when you die, it all gets washed away again.’ A collection is, then, an expression of a personal vision: in a way, a work of art in itself. But collecting is also — both for individuals and institutions — a compulsion.”
Now, evaluating what’s in my cupboards, I’m thinking about what to keep and what to let go. If it’s my “collection” I need to get it out, to see and appreciate. Else, I’m hoarding, and I should let the stuff go to someone who’ll use or display it.
Dining Room with Fiestaware (yes, it’s been a while)
But back to that orange, or rather “radioactive red” — it’s true. A small amount of uranium oxide was used in the glaze. That color was dropped from production during World War II, when “Fiesta red went to war.” (The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Fiesta, Sharon and Bob Huxford)
What are you collecting or hoarding? (and is it radioactive?)