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The Inspiration for our Cranberry Pattern

Created for Ocean Spray’s gift shop, and now available to you.

Having grown up in New England, our family trips to Cape Cod would frequently involve a visit to a cranberry bog. There is something wonderfully simple and plain about a cranberry and at the same time unusual. The simple turns of the cranberry leaf on the softly meandering vine is like footsteps along a garden path. It reminds me of the Shaker tune Tis a Gift to be Simple. The common name cranberry is a modification of the colonial name “crane berry,” because the drooping flower looked like the neck and head of the sand crane, which was often seen eating the fruits.

I remember a visit to the Ocean Spray cranberry processor where a long-time New Englander explained the way they used to use a large wooden “cradle” to harvest cranberries. Even as a grammar school child, I was fascinated. It looked like a curved wooden fork, large enough to be held with two hands which would be swung through the ripe cranberries to comb them off the bushes. Then, flooding the bogs, they would scoop up the floating berries. I remember being thoroughly impressed when he said that they would bounce the berries down a washboard to sort the good berries from the bad. If it didn’t bounce it was culled from the batch.

One year, when visiting the bogs on Nantucket Island, I learned that one of the reasons why the cranberries are grown in bogs is that they can be flooded when frost is in the air, thus lengthening the otherwise short growing season in the northern states where cranberries are native. Nowadays harvesting is done by mechanically beating the berries off the bushes, then flooding the bogs and allowing the berries to float through a sluice and into waiting trucks.

The air is always crisp at harvest time. You can tell when winter is near and the very last warmth of autumn is giving up to the oncoming snowstorms.The light in New England will start to fade and become grey. Padding out into the bogs and munching those tart fresh berries with the secret little window pane cavities on the inside, is an experience that doesn’t get forgotten.

Those New England experiences come to mind when painting pottery. With all of these things in mind, we designed our Cranberry Ceramic Pattern at the request of Ocean Spray’s gift shop. Now it is available to everyone, and it is our hope that you can bring some of the simple beauty of this New England tradition into your home. Customers who have always longed for a special set of dinnerware find that our Cranberry dinnerware sets not only make Thanksgiving truly special, but that they are perfect for dinner every day. Our cranberry bakeware and kitchen ware add just the right touch to your kitchen, and our cranberry lamps are particularly lovely. The potters at Emerson Creek Pottery make and paint each piece by hand here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Celebrate this New England tradition with us!

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