Easter proves a popular holiday for ceramic artist
Some of the best Easter collectibles are handcrafted adaptations of historic English porcelain rabbits, eggs and egg cups.
In the early 1900s, many Easter items were made of papier-mache, celluloid and chalkware, which was imported from Germany. Today, most collectors on a budget have handcrafted Easter collectibles in their collections, some made by local artists. The collectibles can be found at craft shows, art fairs, online or from local shops.
Local ceramic artist Claudia Johnson of Winona started doing ceramics in 1976. When asked how she got started creating, Johnson’s answer was a familiar one.
"I started taking classes and found it was so much fun that I bought a kiln with my two girlfriends so we could do our own ceramics," Johnson says. "I had to learn a lot about firing and glazes, but loved it. I then decided there were so many people that wanted to do ceramics that I opened my home for classes and also started teaching at the local Community Education center with handicapped children and adults."
An artist's first piece can often make or break his or her interest in creating. For Johnson, she says that although she doesn't remember what her first piece was, she does remember that after learning about the process of cleaning, firing and painting ceramics, she fell in love with the craft. She also says she loved making eggs and bunnies.
"They looked great when they were done," she say. "My collection of Easter items really began to grow."
Creating many pieces from old and reproduction molds for all occasions, Johnson has found Easter to be her most popular holiday.
"I have done several of the same pieces, but I can do them in different ways by adding something to them in a different color," she says.
Like any ceramic piece, Johnson says handcrafted collectibles aren't any different when it comes to cleaning and storing. Like many collectibles, ceramic pieces may break if they're not wrapped properly before storing.
Another great thing about Easter ceramic pieces and other decor is that they're now more readily available than ever.
"I remember I used to have to go to several different shops to bring home some of my favorite Easter collectibles," Johnson says. "Easter ceramic pieces are much easier to find today."