Friday, September 13, 2019

Tea for Totem

I jumped the gun  this past weekend expecting the annual Canterbury Place subdivision garage sale in Affton, Missouri to be in full swing.  Normally, it's the first weekend after Labor Day, but as it turns out, this year it's this coming weekend.

But fortunately, there were a number of garage sales in the area anyway and at one I picked up this Totem Tea set.

It was $10, which admittedly is more than I like to spend at garage sales (go ahead, call me cheap), but I fell in love (or at least extreme like) with it. I loved their stacking capability.

The bottoms were marked "Blaisdell Pottery, Port Orchard, Washington" and "Mt. St. Helen Ash". Inside the teapot was the original paperwork.

Hinton Blaisdell was a theater janitor when he opened his pottery shop in the 1950's in Port Orchard.  Focusing on Northwest Native American culture, he began creating pottery with a Totem motif calling it "Totem Ware". His wife Eugenie assisted with design suggestions and painting, but Hinton never employed any other workers, hand-making every piece his pottery shop produced. He sold to local motels and tourist shops.  In the 1980's after the eruption of Mt. St. Helen, as a novelty, he began adding ash from the volcano to his clay. When he retired in 1990, he shipped his final order to The Smithsonian Institute.

Hinton Blaisell passed away in 2009 in Spokane, Washington.


  1. holy moly -- this is a wonderful find! i would happily pay $10 for this.

  2. Wow - great find. What a story.


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