Historic Inspiration for Pewabic's Hex Paperweight
Our entire team was eager to reveal the newest hand-painted addition to our paperweight collection. The Hex Paperweight was inspired by long-standing favorites from our archival collection, two glaze test hexagons. We were fascinated by how effortlessly and beautifully this design displays an array of glaze options.
Pewabic’s hand-painted Hex Paperweight
Modeled after the multifaceted glaze samples dating back to the 1920s, these blasts from the past exemplify what makes Pewabic so special—the magic of Michigan’s only Historic Landmark Pottery and the artisans who continue the more than a century long tradition of handcrafting ceramics in Detroit.
Uranium was one of the chemical elements comprising the original iridescent formulation. As it was phased out of ceramics (for obvious safety reasons) by the 1940s, Pewabic had to figure out a safer way to continue producing its signature lustrous glaze. The varying hues found on the surface of our historic glaze sample tests have informed some of Pewabic’s current glaze colors for architectural and product design.
Pewabic glaze sample test circa 1930
The circular, center tile in this historic design is an example of a uranium orange glaze. There are at least four glaze sample hexagons in existence. Two of them reside in our archival collection, while the two others are part of private collections.
Sketch of glaze sample test coded by glaze color
Pewabic Glaze Development Specialist Alex advocated to revive this design for practical purposes. This gave him the opportunity to test various glaze combinations against one another, while exploring another functional object within his surface development experiments. While the design itself is visually striking, it also acts as a way for us to showcase popular colors from our glaze palette. Education Director Annie notes how exciting the prospect of “playing with the design more in the future” is to her and those who geek out over the science of glaze formulation.
The two historic glaze sample tests from Pewabic’s archival collection
We are so excited how this piece turned out and we hope that it can bring a bit of that joy into your home or office! While these times have proven to be especially challenging, we look forward to what the future holds. As we settle into a new way of living, this reimagined historic piece is a good reminder that life is colorful and full of surprises. Our goal at Pewabic and within our community is to create an environment where all feel welcomed, celebrated, and represented. Thank you for being a part of our community!
Interested in Pewabic product history? Check out our blog post "The Origins of the Snowdrop Vase".
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Pewabic has seen it all. Established in 1903, the pottery has weathered through The Great Depression and two world wars. Needless to say, we are happy to be here today and we are proud to call Detroit our home.
We have been so lucky to connect with many of you for the first time during another uncertain time. This global pandemic has changed so much of the way we are used to interacting with each other.