A Collector's Passion: Pipe Clay Artifacts

August 1, 2018


Collecting is in my blood; always has been. As a child, I collected every TROLL doll with every hair color and every accessory. I collected arrowheads, rocks and fool’s gold. More was always better! My dad designed a rock tumbler for me, so I could enhance the tiny shards I found into truly collectible bits. I collected wheat pennies (which I still have) and Blue Willow doll dishes. The

 passion started early.

As an adult, I’ve collected majolica, staffordshire dogs, blue boy portraits (yes, really), and vintage needlepoint, to name a few. As my artistic views change, I see my collections expanding and changing with my new sense of style (for me) and with my new visions. Today in my collecting, I value age, texture and intricacy. (You have witnessed my love of the textures of OTOMI). I collect with my gut and I never buy to impress others. My collections are personal..they speak to me. My husband and I live with my collections, so they become an integral part of our home's design and ‘feel’. I want them to blend in, yet announce their uniqueness as I walk by them. I want to notice a different detail at a glance. Like myself, most collector’s are full of passion... and we love the thrill of the hunt. Just one more estate sale or one more booth at the flea market. Surely a prize awaits me just around the next corner. And so is the mind of a collector. 


Pipe clay religious artifacts caught my eye at the semi-annual ROUND TOP Antiques Fair… south texas, about 2 hours from Houston. I had never noticed them before, but once I did, I was hooked. These religious artifacts were handmade in the late 1800’s using a white pipe clay, originally used to make pipes in France. This porous clay is also sometimes referred to as Meerschaum and allowed for intricate detailed carved pieces with dramatic relief possibilities. My collection began and over the years I have acquired enough examples of this art form to produce a dramatic display in our Texas casa. All pieces are in their original wood, brass or copper frames and some retain their original bubble glass cover. These increasingly rare pieces are framed in intricate, gold wooden frames and hung on top of a set of vintage doors from Thailand. The center piece with the attached shell (yes, original to the piece), is uniquely rare and displays a cascade of collected antique gold ex-votos. I will do a piece on these exquisite, delicate hearts in a future post. Please enjoy the photos of our continually growing pipe clay display.  --E





Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload