My mom bought my first pieces of ironstone. Because she collected antiques, she knew what she was looking at when she found three square ironstone bowls at a yard sale. Because she didn't collect ironstone, she gave them to me. The plain and simple design did nothing for me, but I hung onto them anyway.
Ironstone pitchers were common in our house. Mom used them for bouquets of flowers, and even an empty pitcher was a pretty, country decoration. I never really thought much of them. The small ovals we used as bar soap dishes; I think they were originally used at the table for vegetable servings.
Several years after we bought our house, I was going through a box of stuff that had never been unpacked and found the three bowls. By then I was warming up to the idea of these pieces. Shortly afterward, my sister and I cleaned out Mom and Dad's house and got their things ready for auction. Mom had some oddball ironstone plates and soup bowls as well as a small collection of the pitchers and soap dishes, and I brought them all home with me.
A while ago Country Living magazine did an article about a man who collected ironstone, and they showed a huge wall in his home. It was lined with shelves full of beautiful pieces, and it was very impressive. However, I've grown to love finding small pieces of ironstone to add to my collection. They are easily affordable but hard to find. I love this little butter pat; it's also nice for holding a tea bag.
I had been buying these wheat leaf plates off ebay to add to the pieces my Mom had. I thought they would be pretty to use paired with my pink Depression plates; but then something about the old, crazed lines kind of freaked me out about serving food on them. Who knows what kind of bacteria might be lurking in there! So I just use them for display. In the back of this picture there is a coffee cup. It's the only one I've been able to find. And isn't the little custard cup really cute?!
I don't often attend auctions, and most of my pieces I pick up in antique shops in our town. It's fun to look for unusual pieces, and it's easy on the wallet.