17Jjenks

Prairie Green Clarification

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I acquired some Frankoma over Ebay and when the pieces arrived, they were each cast a different color of "prairie green". One piece is far more yellowy-green; the other is more greyish green. How can you specifically designate one or the other?

I am looking to buy several 4SC soup mugs (Lazy Bones) with several 6P plates - all of the greyish prairie green color. I am willing to sell 2 (4SC) cups of the yellowy prairie green color.

Anyone have any thoughts and/or offers?

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Frankoma produced pieces in Prairie Green (first called Verde Bronze, then Bronze Green, then Patina) from 1933 to almost the present day. During that span of years, the clays to which the glaze was applied changed, and the components used in making the glaze itself were also altered. You must remember that the glazes used in making pottery are not like paint. You don't take a "chip" down to the "glaze store" and have it matched like Pittsburg paint. And that's a big part of the beauty of pottery. You apply a glaze and wait to see what happens when the piece is fired.

Anyway, Prairie Green was pretty consistent during the years Frankoma used the light colored Ada clay, which was until 1954. Prairie Green had a different look on the dark red Sapulpa clay and, as the Sapulpa clay lightened over the years, the look changed even more.

The biggest change, however, in not just Prairie Green but in all the Frankoma glazes, occured in 1970 when Frankoma changed the type of rutile that was being used in the glazes. Quoting from the Gary Schaum book, "Rutile is an impure form of titanium dioxide. It is used extensively in the ceramics industry as a colorant to produce Ivory and Browns. It also imparts a two-tone effect in most glazes."

My own personal opinion is that the new rutile -- probably a synthetic rutile -- resulted in a flatter finish to the fired pieces -- took away much of the depth and color variation that is found in the older pieces. However, many people prefer the look of the more modern pieces, and it sounds as if you are among that group. The older pieces are probably the ones with the "yellowy green" cast to them that you mention. And if you are looking for consistent coloration with little or no color variation, the post-1970 pieces are definitely your cup of tea.

The only way you can judge an eBay item is by the photo, and that's why is it SO important that Sellers post good, well lit, in-focus images. Then it's up to you to look very closely to see if it's really what you want.

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