Storts Market

by Lesley Storts


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Salt Cellar Spotlight – Cut Glass Salt Cellar with Sharon Holland Fabric

I am starting a new series called “Salt Cellar Spotlight”. There are so many different salt cellars with seemingly endless opportunities for creating. I thought it would be interesting to highlight the salt cellars and a few details. I hope you find it interesting too!

SALT CELLAR SPOTLIGHT

Name of Salt Cellar: Tapered shape prism cut1
Size: 1 3/4″
Manufacturer: Unknown and difficult to pinpoint due to cut glass being made by the artist with slight alterations creating thousands of different patterns1.
Year Produced: Unable to pinpoint since manufacturer is not identified but consensus dates production between 1880-1920 and most likely around the turn of the 20th century1.
Interesting Salt Fact: Sodium and chloride are the chemicals combined together that we refer to as table salt. Sodium is required for human bodies to adequately function2.
Interesting Historical Fact (turn of 20th century): Scott Joplin wrote The Entertainer. I learned to play this iconic piece of piano music in my youth. NPR has an interesting article about Scott Joplin.

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What is a Salt Cellar?

What is a salt cellar? This is a question I get asked frequently. The short answer is that it is a dish to hold salt that has been ground or crushed. Many times this answer leads into more questions. Until the early 1900s, depending on the climate you lived in, salt would frequently clump up even if it had been recently ground or crushed. Morton Salt provides a short history of salt and their part in how we use and consume salt today. Morton Salt states they began adding an anti-caking agent so that salt would not clump. If you are familiar with their logo – a girl holding an umbrella and their slogan regarding salt free flowing even if it is raining – you now know where that originates! Free flowing salt was not available until the early 1900s. Prior to that, people needed a way to offer ground salt while dining, hence a salt cellar.

For me, this hobby has created a cascade of questions in the years that I have been collecting and making salt cellar pincushions. I have become interested in the history of salt and its importance for us physically as well as its societal role. I’ve learned so much! Thanks for joining me in my salt cellar journey. 

Happy glass shopping! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎


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Anna Maria Horner + Amber Lace Indiana Glass

A few months ago I made a quick stop after work at the Volunteers of America Thrift Store in Pickerington, Ohio. I found many pieces of glass that day including this one…

It can be challenging to make deep dish pincushions so I left this piece at the store. Fast forward one week later at a different thrift store and I found…

In my years of glass hunting, this is the first time I remember finding this Indiana lace glass and then finding it twice in a short period of time! The red one was half the price so I figured I would take a chance on it and see if I could make a pincushion out of it. Upon closer inspection of the glass, I noticed that the red coloring was peeling off in various places and I remembered the other one I found was amber. I decided to see if I could clean off the red film.

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»Patty Young Fabric and Pincushions«

My latest batch of pincushions was made using Patty Young‘s fabric line, Lucy’s Garden, by Riley Blake Designs. In an Instagram post, Patty talked about her inspiration for this colorful line. I realized after reading about Patty’s inspiration, that there is a definite ‘art deco’ feel to the prints in this fabric. That element is so appealing to me and probably one reason I really like this line. In addition, I have a daughter named Lucy who was named after 2 grandmothers – so I really like that name.

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»Sharon Holland Floral Print in Reclaimed Glass Pincushion«

Reclaim – to retrieve or recover

When Lucy and I first started making pincushions, we frequented many antique shops hunting for just the right salt cellars. Over time, we started noticing other small dishes and finally ventured into different pieces to test if they would work. Ashtrays are a very common find. Some of the ashtrays we have found are made in beautiful patterns with interesting glass. Reclaiming and repurposing the glass spurs our imaginations and provides inspiration for creating.

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»Pincushions in Salt Cellars«

My adventure into making pincushions was not planned. I entered a quilt in the National Quilting Association’s (NQA) quilt show several years ago. While there, I was browsing through the vendors and came upon salt cellar pincushions. I was smitten. I bought 3, one for me and each of my daughters. The little salt cellar dishes are unique and charming. I wanted to make them and told my daughter, Lucy, that we should try to make them together. We live in the midwest and there is an abundance of antique stores here giving us ample opportunity to look for old glass. The following summer, after collecting some glass salt cellars, Lucy set out to make the pincushions. She had recently had ankle surgery and was non-weight bearing and looking for something to do because she was bored. She did an amazing job troubleshooting the pincushions. I had a basic idea of how to make them, but she perfected it! Several years and a thousand+ pincushions later, we still love making them – it’s so much fun! I’m a quilter, but now I feel like I’m a pincushion artist too. We have expanded the pincushion containers beyond the salt cellars, but salt cellars are how we started and still my favorite base to use in making the pincushions.

The books pictured above, The Open Salt Compendium and 5,000 Open Salts, A Collector’s Guide, catalog a large variety of salts and include the manufacturer and date of production. Another reference is Salty Comments which was written from 1984-2005 by Ed and Kay Berg. Their early newsletters were written on a typewriter and pictures of salt cellars were hand drawn.

Our process of sewing on a button with matching thread and creating a custom crystal and glass beaded pin gives each pincushion their own personality and appeal. My pincushion journey includes hunting for glass and looking for just the right fabric, or cut of fabric, to make the pincushions. I have met a lot of interesting people and learned so much along the way. I am sure I will continue enjoying the whole process.

Happy Crafting and Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎