Post by SailAwayAK~ on May 10, 2006 21:19:21 GMT -5
Kirsten's Pottery Grade: A
Finally here it is ladies!
My daughter got this set for her nineth birthday. She uses it for play alot and has been in the house for 6 months. She loves it. Likely is I will never buy the Rowe pottery set but the play value of this is wonderful!
The set is heavily made but no longer hand painted. It does have a decal that is then sealed under the final glaze. There is a very light crackle finish unger the glazing as well and is quite pretty and the rim of the plates have a speckle finish.
There are two woven napkins and a set of silverware for each place setting. There is a larger milk or cream jug and two smaller mugs all with the same bird design. Also included are two turned wooden bowls. So nice! I can just imagine her father crafting them! Lastly is the table cloth. It is a two tone woven mat. I love the quality of it with small knots finishing each stripe.
Last Edit: Nov 12, 2015 12:14:48 GMT -5 by Wickfield
I LOVE this set. It's put away right now (I only ordered it because of retirement scares, am saving it for another occasion), but I snuck a peek first. Overall, the quality is superb. Everything is very realistic, and like exact miniature versions of what the real thing would look like. The silverware is one of my favorite parts. As seen in the picture posted earlier in this thread, it's exactly like the real thing. I also really love the woven tablecloth. A+
Post by PleasantMemories on May 21, 2007 13:36:06 GMT -5
I love Kirsten's Pottery set. It is such a timeless piece. Although the dishes are breakable they are heavier and more solid than any of the other Historical AG dishes. The plates are larger than Josefina's and can hold a hearty meal. The dishes also match nicely with Kirsten's table and other party accessories.
I wish that Kirsten and Addy had different silverware. However, all and all that is a minor issue. I also wish that the dishes still had the hand painting that they used to. Here are some of my Kirsten dishes.
My first set is stamped Rowe Pottery and was purchased no later than 1990. This is my favorite and the most detailed of my six sets. The cups and pitcher are particularly detailed. It is the smoothest and largest of my six sets.
The second set is also Rowe Pottery. This set was purchased in the early 1990s. this set is less detailed than the first set. The clay and the blue paint is a little darker. he set does have some fine speckles which are characteristic of the pieces from this era. The whole set is not pictured, since I keep this set in a display case.
The third set was purchased in 1997 and is made in portugal. This set also appears to be hand painted and has speckled clay. This set has less detailed birds, is smaller and has a kind of shiny glaze. I have another set (not pictured) which was made in Taiwan and is essentially identical.
The Next set is also made in Portugal and is also hand painted. It is from 1996 or 1997. This was one of the prototype sets sent to Pleasant Company from the manufacturer in Portugal. When Pleasant saw the quality of the set, she apparently 'flipped out'. Dishes from this manufacturer were never sold. Most were given to the employees and the rest were at the MCM sale. The paint on the set is is very light and the glaze is very shiny. They are the smallest of the dish sets.
I wish I could pass the sets around to all of you, as the differences are much more evident in person.
Post by QNPoohBear on Jun 10, 2007 15:42:49 GMT -5
This review is for the Rowe Pottery Set
Each piece is hand-painted and the design varies by set and even by piece. They are beautiful, thick, hard pottery pieces with slight speckles. The wooden bowls are big enough in size to serve Kirsten a good size meal and hold those strawberries that have been falling all over my room for nearly 20 years! The table runner is excellent woven cotton and looks and feels like real Scandinavian tablecloths. The napkins are raw, unbleached cloth with frayed edges. The flatware is lightweight metal and look nearly identical to the original mid-19th century child/doll sized pewterware I have. The pottery is rather fragile and some of the pieces are chipped, but it doesn't show while they are on display. The set cleans with a little elbow grease and soap and water or Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. The wooden bowls are water stained, so people with this collection must find a dry spot to store their set. Overall grade: A
Rowe mug on left, AG holiday mug on right
Close up of flatwear. Kirsten's in the middle, antiques on the ends. They are VERY similar!
mod edit to remove dead image link
Last Edit: Apr 25, 2020 21:13:38 GMT -5 by mamared
Post by keeperofthepast on Jul 15, 2014 17:53:27 GMT -5
I have the Rowe pottery first version and I feel that this set has wonderful play value. This set has survived much play and is still unclipped or broken. I love the handpainted version. it looks so sweet. We also have the PM version of Samantha's lemonade set and I feel that version is sturdier and heavier than the Mattel. I also like the more muted golden red cherries
From a 1998 catalogue: “Pottery Set: Set the table for Kirsten’s birthday party with the same style of simple stoneware dishes and wooden bowls the Larson family had. The pottery is a charming reproduction of an early folk art design. Each piece features a little cobalt bluebird. The plates are edged in the traditional spongeware pattern. A complete service for two includes two plates, two mugs, two wooden bowls, a pitcher, two knives, forks, and spoons, a woven table runner, and two napkins.” The listed price at that time was $50.
The same picture but without a detailed description is shown on the borderless “Kirsten’s Birthday Story’ pamphlet (copyrighted 1987), and there it is called “Handmade Pottery Set”.
I purchased all of my pieces from the secondary market after the official retirement, so I can only guess at their dating, but I really like all of the versions and would give them an A for play or display.
The table runner is a pretty blue a white woven pattern. Mine measures 8 inches by 13 1/2 inches, plus the 1/2 inch fringe on each side. Unlike most of the others I’ve seen pictured, mine has blue fringe on the short sides and white fringe on the long sides.
The napkins look like homespun linen and I think the coloring and appearance suit Kirsten’s collection really well. They’re square and measure 3.75 on each side, which includes the 0.25 inch fringe.
The utensils are like Addy’s, with indented dots, ovals, and lines that make a double floral pattern in the handles. Mine say “STAINLESS JAPAN” on the neck of the forks and spoons and the blade of the knives. The forks have three tines, and the forks and spoons each measure about 3.5 inches long while the knives are 3.75 inches long. I like the beveled detail on the knives.
I love the little wooden bowls. I have a couple sets that vary ever so slightly in size, but have the same shape, coloration, and construction. Both are very close to 1.25 inches tall and about 2.25 inches wide at the top. None of mine have any stickers or any kind of marking on the bottom. In these pictures, the bowls on the right are just about 1 mm larger than the ones on the left.
There’s a lot of variation in the pottery pieces, not only because many of them are handmade and/or handpainted, but also because the pieces have been made at different times and in different places. I don’t know the exact chronology of all of this, especially since most of my pieces were purchased piecemeal and all of them were purchased after the set was officially retired, so I’ll share the different variations that I have and what I know about them.
GROUP 1: ROWE POTTERY STAMP, NO PLEASANT COMPANY MARK
This first group is made by Rowe Pottery Works, which is located in Cambridge, Wisconsin and described in some more detail in this article that I found while doing an Internet search: www.amerheritage.com/rowepottry.htm. There isn’t any Pleasant Company labeling on these pieces, and I was told by the original owner of some of these pieces and by some board members that this indicates that they’re from the very early days when items were sourced from a variety of vendors, before they were specifically produced for Pleasant Company. The painted designs match the American Girl stock photos of this set that are seen online, but not the catalogue and brochure photos that I've noted above. These pieces are the most creamy yellowish colored ones that I’ve seen, and the blue design is often (but not always) pretty darkly painted, especially on the plates. At least some of these pieces were purchased by their original owner at the early Madison Children’s Museum benefit sales in the late 1980s.
The plates in this group have an ink stamp on the bottom that says, “HANDCRAFTED ROWE POTTERY WORKS” in a circle, with “CAMBRIDGE WIS” in a bar underneath, and underneath all of that there is a year. I think mine all say 1989, but I’m not 100% sure as some are difficult to read. The mugs and pitchers in this group have a similar circle-bar mark but it is imprinted in the clay rather than stamped (and therefore sometimes harder to see) and it uses the word “HANDMADE” instead of “HAND CRAFTED”. Most of them also look like they have the year 1989 imprinted, and one mug looks like the year is 1990. I have seen this same mark with different years (at least from the early 1980s to the later 2000s) on other Rowe pieces that are not Kirsten’s pottery. The mugs and pitchers also have a secondary imprint, such as a whale or the initials KZ, which are potters’ marks (as seen in the article that I linked above). I was told by other board members that the plates are probably press-molded which takes less skill, and that is why only the mugs and pitchers bear the mark of the potters. I’m not sure if any of the painted decoration on the plates, such as the design above or below the bird, might actually be decorators’ marks.
This is the stamp on the plate. All of the plates that I own have a diameter of very close to 4 inches, regardless of the place or time they were made.
And here are closer views of the two pitchers and four mugs. The pitchers vary in size and shape but are roughly 2.75 inches tall (one's a bit taller and the other's a bit shorter) and the mugs also vary widely in size and diameter but are roughly 2.25 inches tall. I photographed them in bright sunlight to help the imprints stand out more. I'm also showing pictures from the top and bottom to give a better idea of the size and shape variation.
The mug on the upper left here is considerably wider than all of my other mugs, even though its height isn't much different.
GROUP 2: ROWE POTTERY PLEASANT COMPANY COMBINED STAMP
Most of the pieces that I have fall into this category. Both the plates and the cups and pitchers have an imprinted stamp in the shape of a circle. The imprint says “Made for” above a rectangular box that says “PLEASANT COMPANY” (all in capital letters), and then “ROWE POTTERY WORKS” below it. The “Made for” is sometimes in script or italics but not always, and the cups and pitchers still bear the marks of their potters. A lot of mine have what looks like a pumpkin shape potter’s mark, and there are some others that are less clear. The clay on these pieces varies from cream to grayish to ivory (in photos this is particularly noticeable when looking at the undersides), but none are quite as creamy yellow as in the first group. The glaze sometimes covers just the top of the plate and sometimes the underside, and the painted designs all show variation.
Here are closer photos of the two pitchers and four mugs that I have in this group. The pitchers are still roughly 2.75 inches tall, but the mugs range from 2 inches to 2.25 inches tall.
GROUP 3: PLEASANT COMPANY MARK, MADE IN TAIWAN
These pieces have a deep rectangular “PLEASANT COMPANY” imprint on the bottom of the plates, cups, and pitchers as well as a (removable) oval gold-colored “MADE IN TAIWAN ESPECIALLY FOR PLEASANT COMPANY” sticker just on the bottom of the plates. The font on the imprint has a casual, sans serif appearance, similar to Helvetica. In addition to the imprint on the bottom, a distinctive characteristic of these pieces seems to be the more stylized design on the mugs and pitchers, which I think looks more like a quail than a bluebird. It has some very thick brushstrokes on the wing and crown of the bird, and the design is similar to the pictures of the pottery set used in the catalogue and brochure that I cited above (although not American Girl’s stock photo image of Kirsten’s Pottery Set that appears on online collecting guides). All of the pieces that I’ve personally seen with this stylized quail-like design have had the rectangular “PLEASANT COMPANY” imprint on the bottom, but I don’t know if that means they’re all from Taiwan or it’s on other pieces that I just haven’t seen, and also if these were made and sold concurrently with the Rowe pottery pieces or how exactly all of that chronology works out. The pieces I’ve seen in this group seem to have a more consistently ivory colored look to them. As I just have a mug from this set, another collector kindly gave me permission to use her sale photos of the complete pottery set.
GROUP 4: MADE IN PORTUGAL (STICKERS)
I think there’s probably a lot of variation in the pieces made in Portugal, but there are some commonalities, too. I’m just going to write about two variations, one of which I own and the other that Ive seen and have pictures of (thanks to another kind collector). Neither of the sets have any marks on the bottom. Instead, my set has gold-colored oval stickers that say “MADE IN PORTUGAL ESPECIALLY FOR PLEASANT COMPANY” and the other has white rectangular shaped stickers that say “MADE IN PORTUGAL.” I don’t really know how they fit into the chronology with pieces made by Rowe and those made in Taiwan, but at some point the second set came in the white The American Girls Collection box with burgundy banding and the maroon bordered pamphlets. It seems to me like a lot of the Portugal pieces are decorated with what look more like line drawings than paintings and they lack the variation of line thickness that can be seen in the other groups. The design on these is simpler(some more than others), the clay tends to be more ivory white (like the Taiwan pieces) and the blue paint doesn’t have as much hue variation within a single piece as the Rowe pieces.
GROUP FIVE: AMERICAN GIRL, CHINA
Just kidding, these pieces aren’t from Kirsten’s Pottery Set, they’re from her later Holiday Treats Set (produced 2008-2009). They’re stamped “American Girl MADE IN CHINA 1608” on the bottom, and I’m just putting them here to compare them to all the earlier pottery and in case anyone is confused.
SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON
Just thought I’d end this with some side-by-side line ups of the different variations, where the relative colors and sizes are more clearly apparent.
First, the mugs. The first three are Group One (Rowe imprint with no Pleasant Company mark), the next two are Group Two (Rowe and Pleasant Company combined mark), followed by one each from Taiwan, Portugal, and China. As a reminder, other than Rowe being stamped 1989 and China being most recent, I really don’t know the chronology or dating of these.
And now, two more pictures with mugs in the same order and some pitchers in the back row. First two pitchers are Group One (Rowe with no Pleasant Company mark) and second two pitchers are Group Two (Rowe and Pleasant Company combined imprint).