Where did my “need” to collect come from?

Bart Ash setting foot in the glass factory in Salem, WV

For as long as I can remember, I have loved glassware. The glassware with facets and color always appealed to me, even as a small child. I recall, going to my grandparents house as a small child and seeing the display of glassware around their kitchen sink placed neatly on shelves.

I was lucky enough to grow up just down the road from my grandparents. My grandfather was always on the go…high strung is the best way to describe him. Yeah, those of you who know me, this is where I get it from! Drive and ambition didn’t fall too far from the tree!!!

I recall his stories behind much of the glassware on the shelves over the sink. Each one had some sort of story. Maybe it was a second and thrown out to be trashed, or maybe it was a new line for the factory. Above you will see a picture of my grandfather setting foot at the glass factory in Salem WV. I don’t know when this was taken…maybe the 50’s or 60’s. He was still fairly young in this picture.

Setting foot at the factory was a big deal, he would tell me. You only got to set foot if you were good at what you did. The glass factory career wouldn’t just be my grandfathers. All of his boys, my Uncle Junior, Uncle Bill and Uncle Wally all followed in his foot steps. They worked in many factories.

The factories often changed hands in West Virginia. Our state has always struggled with poverty and these factories didn’t pay near enough to put up with the heat blowing off of those furnaces. I am sure if we now did a walk through of that 1950’s factory, OSHA would have a field day of all of the safety issues!

I know they worked in factories like McBride, Salem Glass Factory, Judell, Princess House, Louie Glass and Tiffany… and I am sure there are many I am missing. As a kid looking at the bright red glassware my grandmother collected, I grew fond of those pieces and I knew touching wasn’t allowed. I knew this because they had VALUE!

Yep, there is is the root of my collection……finding VALUE. I do this in every single area of my life. I look for value. I look for value in what I do at work. I look for value in being a partner in my marriage and providing for my family. I look for my value in ministry…reaching those who are lost and trying to show them grace, hope and purpose.

Now…..you see where I am going with this. From as small as I could remember, yard-saleing and flea marketing were a way of life and making a living…VALUE. My collecting of willow pattern items is no different…they add value and each new find brings me joy. I am notorious for selling when I need to and then living with the regret later.

I have found myself in some pinches when I found an item I couldn’t live without..I mean I have 3-4,000 pieces, seriously I could live without 95% of what I have. But in the rush of the hunt, I always feel like I need that next unusual piece or someone else will get it. This morning I was cruising Ebay and found a set of prestopans for $25 with a buy it now. I have both of them, but holy momma I just couldn’t pass it up. So something else will have to give.

All in all, at a minimum, what I have collected all has monetary value. I need to consider at some point letting my children know what is of value, how to go about getting rid of this when I die, but I am in my 40’s.. I have no time to spare for that right now!!!!

I’d like to hear what got you into collecting. Mine was passed down from many generations of glass blowers and my mom being an antique dealer. Tell me about yours…just click below and leave a comment! I am interested to hear.

6 thoughts on “Where did my “need” to collect come from?

  1. The more I look at old shows I watched while growing up, the more I see Blue Willow in most of them. From Andy Griffith to Dr Quinn Medicine Woman and so on. It makes me think that I might have been absorbing that information (in the form of a dish pattern) my entire life and that’s driven me to want to own them. My first purchase was when Winn Dixie was selling the Churchill dishes. I spent my first overtime check buying a place setting for 12. And then the accessories they offered. At Thanksgiving that year, my mom looks at my dishes and says that she used to have a set of blue willow dishes when I was an infant/toddler. Yep, definitely ingrained in me throughout my life. Now I’m on the hunt for variety dishes to decorate the walls in my kitchen. I’ve got a good collection of single plates/saucers. They make me happy looking at my lovelies. 😁

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