I am not an avid pursuer of collections, generally preferring exotic, one-off items, but I have inherited from my mother a collection of Depression Glass that always brings me joy. In the 1970’s, my parents traveled the United States, stopping in different cities where my dad would drop my mom off in the morning to browse the antique shops, then work for the day and come back to pick her up in the evening. It was during these trips that my mother collected her Depression Glass one piece at a time, eventually gathering a nearly complete 12-place setting, including special accents and serving pieces.
Depression Glass was originally produced in the 1930’s and 1940’s, as a means of stimulating the economy during the Great Depression. Various manufacturers produced more than 100 different patterns of the clear or colored glass, which were sold inexpensively or given away free as incentive for consumers – whether at a movie theater or in a box of cereal.
My mother collected “Old Colony,” a lacy pink line produced by Hocking Glass Company. Though rich in history and sentimental value, the pattern and soft pink hue is more dainty and feminine than something I might have chosen for myself. However, I have found that pairing it with my own more contemporary china, such as a simple porcelain dinner plate, not only modernizes the style but allows me to enjoy both the function and nostalgia of my mom’s hand-picked collection. Even today, as I explore vintage shops for clients and projects, I carry on the tradition and always keep an eye out for those few missing pieces of my “Happy Glass.”