In 1977, three additional buildings were introduced: The Stone Church, mold by Schenectady Fine Arts, the 1890's Clapboard, mold by Duncan Mold Company as a cookie jar, and The Cupola Mansion. The mansion is an original design by Walter and sculptor Richard Kay. This set was much larger in size than the earlier pieces, measuring 15 1/2" high with a 10" by 14" bases. (The largest of the first six is the Steeple Church, 10 1/2" high with a 8" by 5" base. The remaining five are approximately 7" x 4 1/2 " 5 1/2".)
By now, the studio was represented at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. Serving the Central U.S., it remains the focal point for wholesale vendors to show their wares to retail stores. (For the fascinating history of the Mart itself, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchandise_Mart ) In addition, Walter continued to sell up the route he established so many years before. One of his primary customers was Bachman's Floral and Gift Design, one of the largest commercial florist in Minnesota. Bachman's remained a loyal customer until the studio ceased its wholesale business in August, 2000 following its purchase by Frank and Pat Paradise. (One of the mainstays of sales to Bachman's was the original "Gingerbread.")
The studio moved from St. Louis to Edmond,Oklahoma in 2001 where it continues to produce unique ceramic pieces. This year's Limited Edition is only one of several to be produced in 2011.
During the next 25 years, over 100 buildings and 150 accessory pieces were produced. In 1992 the first "Limited Edition" was introduced. There were a total of eight prior to the 2010 release, "First & Main". Of the eight, all were designed by either Jo or Mr. Kay except the 1997 release which was reproduced from a mold by Byron Molds. (The 2010 piece is an original design by Walter and Mr. Kay. Structural changes were made during production this year by Frank Paradise. The artistic essence of the piece has been maintained.
WB STUDIOS HISTORY - PAGE 2
MUCH MORE TO FOLLOW SHORTLY
In 2010, the studio introduced the first limited piece since 2000, "First & Main". The 2011 piece is now out of the sculpting stage, molds have been completed and the artist (Frank Paradise) has begun to produce initial proof pieces.
Unlike 2010, which used the "primitive" style so popular with its sister piece, "The Cupola Mansion", fitting since the original drawings came from the same time period, the 2011 piece returns to the more recent editions, with the focus placed on the interior of each piece as well as the exterior. Mr. Paradise designed this piece based on research intermittently over the passed several years.
In addition, the 2011 Limited Edition will move outside the exclusive use of fired glazes to achieve unique results, We will provide more information on these techniques later in the process.
The other difference, because structural problems had been resolved before the final sculpture, the entire release should be available well in time for the Holiday Season, although snow will not be a part of the new building.
The concept of the drawing for this piece will be abandoned with sales made on a first come, first serve basis. While the size of the release has not been determined, it will not significantly change from 2010.
There will also be several new, traditional buildings produced in 2011, priced so that they will be affordable to all collectors.
We look forward to bringing you more information as it is available.