Rookwood Pottery: A Cincinnati Treasure

Oct 5, 2020

Tuesday, October 20 at 7 p.m.

As Rookwood Pottery celebrates its 140th anniversary this year, Lee Hay explores its history, innovative designers and artisans, the role of women in its success, and its current revival.  As part of this anniversary celebration, Bob Batchelor has published a book about Rookwood Pottery, "Rookwood: The Rediscovery and Revival of An American Icon" which he discusses during this special.  

Other guests heard during this special about Rookwood Pottery include Anita Ellis, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Cincinnati Art Museum who retired in 2014 and was the author of a number of books about Rookwood Pottery, who goes into detail about the founding of Rookwood by Maria Longworth Nichols, the role of women, Mark Twain's love of Rookwood, and the Gardner Collection of American Indian pottery.  One of the country's foremost pottery experts, Riley Humler, who contributed to Bob Batchelor's book, discusses Rookwood's relationship with the Gorham Manufacturing Company.  

Rookwood Vase signed by Helen Wilcox from the Anne Arenstein collection
Credit Anne Arenstein

Kevin Ruthven and Anne Arenstein talk about their respective collections of Rookwood Pottery.  Kevin Ruthven, who was in charge of special projects at WVXU while at Xavier University, shares his memories of collecting Rookwood pieces over the years which culminated in a spectacular auction sale of his collection on 10/31/04.  Anne Arenstein, a contributor on WVXU's now cancelled "Around Cincinnati" program, discusses the pieces she inherited from family members.   

Loren Long is a celebrated author of children's books who designed Rookwood's ice cream bowl in honor of Fiona's 3rd birthday party held at Rookwood in conjunction with Graeter's this past January, 2020.   Tony Kalti is a tile setter and independent contractor who is called upon by Rookwood Pottery to help restore installations in the region including a 1920's Rookwood fountain in the old Batavia High School. 

Signature on bottom of Rookwood vase by Helen Wilcox from the Anne Arenstein collection
Credit Anne Arenstein

Micah Carroll, CEO/President of Rookwood Pottery, talks about the renaissance of Rookwood Pottery and the 140th anniversary celebration this year.  Activities include a holiday open house and the production of a new "Frolicking Fiona Ornament" which goes on sale October 15th.  Mr. Carroll also discusses their many successful partnerships including the Rookwood trophies presented at the Western Southern Open Tennis Tournament and Scripps National Spelling Bee, plus many others.  A new Rookwood store opened in July, 2019, at Kenwood Towne Centre, and there are many exciting plans for Rookwood Pottery in the coming year.