New yellow ware with Mocha decorationBy

New yellow ware with Mocha decoration

An American firm in Connecticut, East Knoll Pottery, produces a fairly extensive line of new Mocha-decorated yellow ware. New shapes have included pitchers, bowls, and specialty forms such as a batter bowl and colander. Retail prices range from $22-$45.

New pieces are all hand thrown on a kick wheel with obvious turning rings. Strap handles are applied; spouts and other trim work are hand tooled. Our samples were plainly marked with the new pottery's name, but not permanently dated. The pieces are all good quality with a heavy glaze.

Mocha decoration is created by applying an acidic slip to an alkaline background. The resulting chemical reaction creates the random feathery crystalline patterns that characterize the decoration. By controlling how the slip was applied, workers could create the general appearance of simple shapes collectors now call earthworm, seaweed, tree and feather.

The earliest Mocha decorations were developed in England, ca. 1800. During the first half of the 19th century, Mocha was applied to pearl or white glazed earthenwares only. Yellow ware was not used until about the last quarter of the 19th century. The majority of factory-made Mocha yellow ware was made in England. Most Mocha decorated yellow ware in the United States was produced in small country potteries and is mostly unmarked. Early English Mocha on pearl backgrounds are the rarest and most expensive pieces.


Fig. 1 New one-quart pitcher in buff colored hand-thrown clay. White band around middle is decorated with cobalt "seaweed" or "feather" pattern. White band is outlined in brown.

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