The Dedham Tradition
Hugh Robertson, a fifth generation potter, opened The Dedham Pottery
Company in 1896 in Dedham, Massachusetts during the American Arts And Crafts movement. The company was a working pottery until 1943.
During that span of time , the pottery's artisans created more than fifty designs for their dinnerware and serving pieces. The most
popular design was the endearing little bunny now known as "the Dedham Rabbit". The rabbit became the identifying signature of The
Dedham Pottery and remains so today. Through the years, the Dedham rabbit has won an international following. Pieces of the original
Dedham Pottery are highly prized by collectors, from individuals to prestigious institutions such as the Museum Of Fine Arts, Boston,
Massachusetts and The Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
A Priceless American Heritage
In 1973, Chotsie Starr, who was already enjoying her ceramics hobby, decided
to supplement her collection of original Dedham Pottery with self-made reproductions. Chotsie's originality and craftsmanship, to
her pleasant surprise, won acclaim from all who saw it. She soon found herself preoccupied with filling orders from family and
friends who had seen her work and wanted pieces for their own use and enjoyment.
The more Chotsie's work
was seen, the more her reputation for fine craftsmanship grew. In 1975, Chotsie agreed to sell her reproductions through two local
retail shops. That initiative confirmed her inner suspicion that the appeal of the Dedham Pottery patterns was not only timeless,
it was also broad-based.
By 1977, Chotsie sensed that she was onto something bigger than her cellar-based
hobby could sustain. So, with her sons Chris and Rob and several local artisans, Chotsie founded The Potting Shed, Inc.
Since starting her adventure over 34 years ago, Chotsie has seen her hobby transformed, first into a fledgling company and, eventually,
into a viable, nationally distributed and internationally respected enterprise. The customer base which started with family and friends
visiting her cellar-based pottery has grown to thousands of people worldwide! The pottery, itself, quickly outgrew the cellar location
and was relocated to a roomy old New England factory building in Concord, Massachusetts. The product line has grown from a relatively
small selection of pieces to over three hundred items ranging from decoratively functional to functionally decorative. And, true to
Chotsie's original intent, each item is still produced with painstaking craftsmanship to ensure a faithfullness to the original Dedham
Pottery and to produce products that will provide lasting value and enjoyment to the customer. Each year, new pieces and new patterns
are introduced to respond to customers' interests and to entice their imagination.
After an abundant life
of 91 years, Chotsie passed away in May of 2012. Her son, Rob Starr, and a small group of gifted artisans dedicate their daily
efforts to insuring that Chotsie's endeavor to reinvigorate the Dedham Pottery tradition flourishes!