Thursdays – Saturdays
10am – 6pm
CLOSED December 25th thru January 14th. Re-open on Friday, January 15th.
Private appointments to visit the store are also available anytime from 9am – 9pm Sundays – Wednesdays.
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The Pennsylvania German potters have produced Pennsylvania redware pottery since the early 18th century. A great deal of the pottery produced during much of this time was strictly utilitarian. In the late 19th century, redware started being replaced by agate, aluminum and factory produced stoneware. However, decorative pieces of redware, especially flowerpots continued to be produced.
This process continues, without interruption, to this day. Speaking of Pennsylvania, Brian Cullity of the Heritage Plantation of Sandwich Massachusetts stated, “No other American region approaches this state in diversity of form or exuberance of decoration.”
There are several decoration techniques in Pennsylvania German pottery production. Colored slips can be trailed, sponged, splotched, combed, feathered or marbleized on top of the clay to create a variety of effects. The most desired decoration technique in Pennsylvania German pottery is sgraffito.
Sgraffito, Italian for “scratch”, is the process wherein the vessel is covered in a colored slip and a sharp tool is used to remove or scratch away an area of the applied slip allowing the clay body to show through. The majority of old pieces ranging from 1775-1825 show a wide range of abilities that produced these different decoration styles.
How It Began
Named after the town the pottery is made in, Robesonia Redware is a family of potters consisting of Scott Madeira, Thilo Schmitz and Curt Pearson who spent their lives learning and making pottery with and for Lester Breininger, owner of Breininger Pottery.
From 1965 until 2011, Breininger Pottery created and reproduced Pennsylvania German pottery. The vast variety of pieces, from wheel thrown vases and pitchers to handmade figurines and drape molded plates, were covered in various slip and sgraffitoed decoration. Great detail was taken to keep the traditional style of pottery making alive, from peacock quills in slip cups to plate molds dating back to the early 18th century.
Scott Madeira, was employed by Lester Breininger for 40 years. The handmade figurines and animals that he makes have always amazed redware collectors. Starting when he was a young man, his works have been in many museum collections, featured in many magazines and even hanging on the White House Christmas tree.
After working his full-time job, Scott would often bring his two young boys with him while making pottery part-time. Thilo Schmitz and Curt Pearson would watch while their dad would turn lumps of clay into his animals and figurines.
Beginning at an early age, his two boys, both mastered rolling plates, glazing and firing the redware. Thilo was with Breininger Pottery for over 21 years becoming an amazing sgraffito and sliptrail artist. Curt, an 18 year employee of Breininger Pottery, is well rounded in decorating, throwing and managing the business.
The trio is an amazing team of potters who continuously work off their individual strengths to produce museum grade redware. Together they were the chief designers at Breininger Pottery for the last 10 years it was in business keeping the PA German tradition alive. When the doors to Breininger Pottery closed, our family just couldn’t stay away from playing in the clay.
July 17, 2011, we opened our own business, Robesonia Redware. April 1, 2012, we opened our store located right along Penn Avenue near the center of the quaint town of Robesonia, PA. We love what we do day in and day out. The long tradition of redware has been in our family for over 80 years combined. We are honored to be carrying on the pottery tradition and to make museum grade, heirloom quality pieces for you.