---Alice Abrams

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Return of the Jam Jar

 "The Little Chapel by the Lake"  When I was little, I would sit 
in the little booth with Florence and help her take tickets and sell 
the transfiguration picture of Jesus that was shown in the chapel.
She's the lady in the photo, dressed in period clothing.

My Little Jam Jar, come home to roost....

Most of you know of my connections to Knott's Berry Farm.  I started the saga with my parents meeting way back in the last 30's and marrying in 1941.  After the war, my dad, mother and my mother's sister started a business.  It was called Art Glow Studio.  They had the shop where they created items on our home property, and they employed maybe 5-6 women.  (Why can I remember most of their names but I can't remember the name of the book I'm reading????)  They had two concepts:  One was the "Art Glow Studio," which my aunt operated.  It was at Knott's, across from the Little Chapel on the Lake, where the Inspiration House would be in later years.  They made plaster figurines and painted them with phosphorescent paint.  You held the item up under direct lamp light, turned off the light and the object would "glow in the dark!"

The second aspect of the Art Glow Studio was jam jars and creamers.  You know that the "berry" in the farm was the boysenberry, which was developed locally by Luther Burbank. Walter Knott grew boysenberries and they sold pies at the original berry market (where my mom, aunt and dad all worked)As Knott's became more popular, along with the restaurant (Chicken Dinner Restaurant), they started selling souvenir items, one of which was the jam jars.

My folks had three or four huge commercial kilns at the shop and they made a lot of different ceramic decorative pieces.  I remember plates, figurines, lamp bases, vases, things of that sort.  And the jam jars.  The jars were baked in the kilns, then they were painted, baked again, then the decals were baked on.  I can see my mom using a sponge dipped in (I think) gold leaf in liquid form and dabbing the gold around the edge of  the lid and the bottom of the jar.  The leaves and berry were hand-painted.  (After my folks started the Inspiration House, Knott's bought the jam jars and "outsourced" them and they all carry the stamp "Knott's Berry Farm." I have seen a couple of those...)

It's a shame that we aren't blessed with foresight because I had no idea that one day I would wish that I had kept one of  those little jars.  I started looking for one years ago when I would find myself in an antique shop or second hand store.  I have found a lot of our everyday dishes that came from Kresses Department store, and some of them are actually stamped "Made in Occupied Japan."  But I never found a jam jar.  One night a couple of weeks ago I checked out ebay.  Guess what?  I found three of them!  All with the "Art Glow Studio" stamp!  I can't tell you how I felt!  One for me and two left over for my girls!  I love looking at the gold lettering and realize that my mother wrote that...  Little joys in life and heartfelt pleasures mean all the world to me.


Anonymous said...

oh my gravy, that is so cool! How awesome that you re-found some family treasures. I know that put a spring in your step and some warmth in your heart...

Traveling Bells said...

Wow, that story brought a big smile to my face. I'm so glad you found not one, but three of those jam jars! What a treasure for each of you to treasure and pass on to future generations. These are a true family legacy. Love it!

Big hugs, honey...

Sarge Charlie said...

found treasure

Sandee said...

How wonderful you found three of these precious jam jars. I'm so very happy for you Gracie. I'll bet it made you cry. It would have for me.

Have a terrific day and thanks for making me smile this morning. Yes we've had sunshine here and there the past couple of days. Big hugs. :)

Regina said...

I'm so glad I found your site! I luv luv the humor and all! My humor is sadly misunderstood
(ha ha)..I can be a bit sarcastic but I have the most tender heart (lol)! What a terrific story..I find this so intriguing! I wondered about that slice of history but had no idea..what skill? You know we didn't live that far, but having a big family we couldn't make very many Disney Land. I finally did a post on my mom's side of the family though I didn't have as much hands on as you. My Grandparents opened a cookie factory..and all to say- like you, I had to locate the tin online!! My..the made in Japan thing is bizarre! Hope you post maybe more in the future..I'm sure you could cover different aspects of this wonderful place and time! Just like your G.Parents in
Hey, thanks for swinging by and responding to that post as it was a bit longish and daffy. I get them up there then can't get something else sensible soon enough! The link below is the post I did..have a terrific day-

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

oh how sweet!

smiles, bee

LAC said...

Wow! What a great find. Priceless. Did you tell the sellers your story? I would have loved to hear that.

Why were YOUR plates stamped made in japan??

Linda said...

Thank goodness for eBay! That is so very nice that not only could you find a piece of family history for yourself but that there were two more for your girls!

Like Charlie said, it's found treasure!