I love vintage stoneware jars, and they have a sentimental connection for me to the place where I grew up.
When I was saying goodbye to my family home in 2019 we had a lot of clearing out to do. We had to empty the house, but also the adjoining mill which, along with being my dads workshop, had become a dumping ground for all sorts of things over the years.
There was a lot of rubbish in there but also some treasures - as someone who often finds it hard to let go of things it was sometimes hard to tell the difference...
These lovely old jars were some of the things I kept from the mill, and I'm so pleased I did. I love using them as vases. Their rustic look works well in a traditional setting, but also look great in my slightly more contemporary kitchen.
Stoneware jars were originally used as storage in Victorian and Edwardian England. Some of them were made by Bourne and Denby. They were used for the preservation of fruit and vegetables, which would be salted and stored in large jars for the winter. These days these jars can still be used for preserving, but are also commonly used as utensil holders in the ktichen, or in my case, as a vase.
When I bought my first bunch of Daffodils this year I displayed them in one of the stoneware jars in the kitchen, and their beautiful fresh yellow flowers were so full of colour and joy in January that I wanted to draw them and hold onto that moment. They and the stoneware jar are now immortalised in my new print which I'm really pleased with, and I think a new series of drawings and prints of bunches of flowers in these vintage vases will follow.
I don't know where the stoneware jars in the mill came from, but I know we used some of them in the kitchen at home. It may be they were already there when we bought the mill in the 80's, a relic of whoever had left them there before, or perhaps dad had bought them. Wherever they came from I'm glad to have them and use them.