We love this city.
While I left over five years ago, Kelly stayed and has been a part of KC as it has grown into the thriving city is is today. She pursued her passion and the city supported her, and continues to. When it came time to dream up new work, it had to be Kansas City, but of course in a very MeritMade way.
Let's hear it from Kelly herself:
"Oh Kansas City! I've really come to love this small big town. It's history of gangsters, Art Deco architecture, Midwest charm and growing foodie scene are hard not to fall in love with. This love is becoming apparent wherever you look. The volume of KC gear in the retail market is both awesome and a bit overwhelming. If you played a drinking game where you walked around KC and took a drink every time you saw a person wearing something in support of Kansas City, you would be drunk in less than an hour...maybe even 30 min!
I can't help but want to be part of the collective consciousness that supports the city we all love so much, but I wanted to do it my way, a less obvious, beautiful, and wearable way. These unique pieces of ceramic, porcelain, china, and pottery allow me to do just that. From the discards of a city, I share with you a small shard of Kansas City history made into a unique and timeless jewelry piece."
The Kansas City collection features old pieces of broken pottery found buried in the West Bottoms. The pieces or pottery were salvaged years ago by a friend, Morgan, who was living in the area. As dirt for road construction was displaced pieces began surfacing and Morgan felt compelled to collect all that she could. When Kelly started making jewelry again, Morgan gave them to her.
Wanting to find out more about these buried pieces of dinnerware, I started looking into the markings and stampings. Here is the breakout of the three marks:
James Edwards & Sons- James Edwards is considered one of the pioneers of ironstone. The Dalehall Pottery on this mark places it in the 1840s and comes from Burslem, Straffodshire.
Mellor, Taylor & Co. - Also from England. This one is placed between 1887-1904.
Owen China Company- This company is from Minerva, OH and shows the move in the early 1900's to American made ironstone. The St. Louis on this mark is part of "Gold Medal St. Louis" which was added as part of the mark after the company won a gold medal in semi-porcelain at the Louisiana Purchase Expo in 1904, making this the "newest" of the three.
Little bit about Ironstone: The making of ironstone began in the early 1800's in Straffordshire, England as an alternative to porcelain when the East India Company stopped importing it in bulk. Throughout the 1800's the majority of this pottery was exported to the U.S.. In the early 1900's, American potters began to work in ironstone as well.
The West Bottoms were founded in the 1860's, and the area was the original downtown for Kansas City. Thanks to the railroads and the rivers, the area was thriving with city life and in 1871 the second biggest stockyard opened in the bottoms. Sadly, all of this came crashing down with the Flood of 1903. We suspect that many of these pieces where possible remnants from the damage done by that flood, buried for over 100 years.
All cleaned up, filed and polished, these pieces of history are ready to fulfill their next roles as a pieces of heirloom jewelry. We can't wait to share the complete collection with you.