How I Began Collecting Mochaware

How I Began Collecting Mochaware

About 25 years ago I came across my first piece of antique mochaware. I was in what was then my mother’s shop, Bardith and I saw a mug decorated with a worm. If you are wondering what a worm is doing on a mug take a look at the image below with the serpentine decoration.

What's a worm?

A “worm," also known as a “cable”, is in fact a series of very small pours of slip from a three chambered slip pot. Three colors of liquid slip drip out through three quills onto a mug or pitcher, or bowl which is slowly turning on a lathe.

I loved the unexpected combination of the perfectly straight colored bands and the wild looking “worm”. Made in the first quarter of the 19th century it looked so modern.

I permanently borrowed that mug from the shop and have been collecting mochaware ever since.

I was hooked...

I started tagging along with my mother when she went hunting for antiques.

One day she called me and asked If I’d like to join her as someone had contacted her wanting to sell a small collection of mochaware. Of course, I said “Yes."

The trip was a total bust! The pieces we saw were boring and not in good condition.

Better Luck Next Time!

Five or six weeks later Edith called me again and this time again there was nothing exciting. The pieces were just not great.

Later that year we were called to look over a collection of pottery somewhere in Pennsylvania we found a collection which consisted exclusively of mochaware pitchers. There were six.

I chose a great pitcher on which the colored rows of slip were cut through revealing the buff colored body of the pitcher underneath (see image of a similar piece on the right).

In the long run it always pays to be patient and buy something great, something you really love.

- Steve

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