Monday, August 29, 2011

Clay Pen Pottery of Colorado Springs, Colorado

Van Briggle may be the most famous pottery in Colorado but it is most definitely not the only pottery in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

While searching the aisles of several local thrift stores I've discovered some distinctive and well made art pottery items. All are functional but would look nice in a collection too.

After some online investigation, I discovered that the pieces were all made in Colorado Springs by Clay Pen Pottery. Clay Pen Pottery pieces can also be labelled Les Kitchen and Down to Earth Pottery.

So far, I've found three pieces - one labelled Les Kitchen and two others labelled Clay Pen or Clay Pen Pottery. Not all of the marks on the bottom look the same.

A found one large coffee mug with a more formal stamp on the bottom.

The auction can be found at

Another mug had a less formal handwritten signature. It makes a nice souvenir from Grand Lake, CO.
The auction can be found at

I believe they are both by Clay Pen Pottery

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Black Americana Chalkware Find

Chalkware is very fragile and often doesn't survive long enough to land in a thrift store. Imagine my surprise when I found some in a Boulder County thrift store. An even bigger surprise is that it was Black Americana.

The chalkware consists of a set of two figurines. One is an African-American girl standing and holding an umbrella. The other is an African-American boy walking and holding an umbrella. The girl figurine is in great shape while the boy obviously fell off the wall at some point and needed repair.

With a bit of internet research, I found that this particular set of figurines was painted in a variety of colors. Due to the chalkware nature, they are also found in a variety of condition. Prices ranged from pristine condtion at over $300 to around $75 for a set with chips and nicks. Your findings may differ.

This African-American Black Americana doesn't appear to portray stereotypes found in many other chalkware figurines. It is up for auction at

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thrift Store Shopping in East Boulder County, Colorado

If you think that bargains and antiques don't make it into East Boulder County thrift stores, keep thinking that way. That will leave more bargains for me to find.

Finding the bargains may involve digging around and prowling the shelves and racks several times. Retraining filters and educating oneself about items takes time. Sometimes it just takes showing up when the thrift store opens its doors for the day.

Two weeks ago, I acquired one of my dream thrift finds by showing up when the doors opened at 10am. I had been wanting to find a nice well-built older bicycle trailer at a nice price for a few months.

I walked into the store and glanced where the larger items are displayed. There it was - my perfect bicycle trailer. I checked the trailer out and the price tag. The trailer was in perfect shape other than a flat inner tube. The price - $15. This is a trailer that went for over $200 new. I ran to the register with the trailer. Competition is fierce in this particular store. With $5 spent on a new inner tube, I have a new way to shop and get some exercise.

One great find this week was a Nelson McCoy Water Lily with a Fish Handle Pitcher from 1935. It did have a little damage to the spout but it is still highly collectible. It's a really interesting piece. The auction for this small McCoy pitcher can be found at