Celebrating Decorative Arts & Design!         Célébrons les arts décoratifs et du design !

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Sunday, March 3, 2024, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST

Moe Johnson will discuss his new book, The Potter's Reach in 19th Century Ontario, lauded as a “tour de force” and based on the author’s forty years of collecting and sixteen years of research on Canadian material history. This volume represents the rich visual history of utilitarian Ontario-made earthenware and stoneware pottery.

Our material heritage tells a story that goes well beyond artistry and the physical presence. Commercially-made pottery from the 19th century serves as a window into the social and economic dynamic of Ontario. Through his exploration of stoneware and earthenware pottery created during this period, Moe will touch on the role of immigration, the development of transportation infrastructure, the major commercial role merchants played in the province, the importance of the home dairy and the role of the farm woman, the social ills of intemperance, and so much more.

Not sure you can attend live? We've got you covered! A video recording of this presentation will be made available to all those who reserve/purchase tickets.


Moe Johnson has collected and studied Canadian material history for over forty years, with a special emphasis on 19th-century earthenware and stoneware pottery. A recognized expert and sought-after author and speaker on the subject, Johnson applies an astute business lens to his collecting. He is passionate about the social, economic, and domestic histories that these artifacts comprise. Although his business degree from Western University focused largely on finance, he was keen on combining this pursuit with studies in Canadian social and economic history. In the early 2000s, he realized that stoneware and earthenware pottery might provide the conduit for a major study, which would ultimately lead to the publication of The Potter's Reach. Together with his photographer, Jonathan Sugarman, he photographed and documented over 120 collections, including those of the Royal Ontario Museum, Museum of History, and several regional museums. The monograph is comprised of over 200,000 words and 1300 photographs.

Image credits: (top) F. P. Goold Watercooler, ca. 1860, courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum (bottom) Moe Johnson, courtesy Moe Johnson

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The Canadian Society of Decorative Arts/ Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs was formed, with the generous support
of the Macdonald Stewart Foundation, to provide a forum for all those interested in the decorative arts.
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