Ceramic Industry

Ceramic Decorating: Decorators Help Americans Express Patriotism

February 1, 2002
In the midst of the recent national patriotic outpouring, many decorators have noticed a related surge in orders for glass and ceramicware that features the American flag, an eagle, the pledge of allegiance, patriotic slogans or similar patterns.

America the Beautiful design for glass art panels, by Glassmasters, Richmond, Va.
In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, many Americans have demonstrated their patriotism by displaying the flag at home or on their car. I, for one, raised an American flag in front of my house and was encouraged to see that many of my neighbors did, too.

In the midst of this national patriotic outpouring, many decorators have noticed a related surge in orders for glass and ceramicware that features the American flag, an eagle, the pledge of allegiance, patriotic slogans or similar patterns. Decorators are being asked to provide coffee mugs, steins, plates and glass art panels for their customers in the promotional, souvenir and collectible markets. Decorations range from basic screen-printed designs to more detailed images, which are first printed on decal paper and then applied to the ware.

Donating Profits

In addition to meeting consumer demands, many decorators have responded by donating profits from these sales to charity groups. According to Stan Dohan, sales and marketing manager for the Allen Co., a custom decorator in Blanchester, Ohio, “we want to provide a service, but at the same time not overlook the fact that this is a tragedy.” The Allen Co. is donating proceeds from their advertised stock designs to the American Red Cross.

Many other companies are making similar efforts. As reported in HFN magazine, the American Red Cross is now the largest recipient of tableware industry donations. Many companies, including Lenox Inc., ARC International and Oneida, are matching employee contributions, holding blood drives and donating products in the affected areas of New York City.

Meeting the Demand

Some glass and ceramic decorators have created special website sections dedicated to patriotic ware. Stan Breckenridge, vice president of Moderne Glass Co., Aliquippa, Pa., notes that at first his company was hesitant to jump on the bandwagon when patriotic ware started growing in popularity, and even declined to take on some requests. However, “we soon realized that our customers wanted some vehicle to display their patriotic sentiments, and they wanted our product,” said Breckenridge.

Some companies are offering to add American flags to ceramicware that is decorated with other patterns. AAA Glass Corp., a custom decorator and glass manufacturer in Los Angeles, Calif., is offering customers either 11⁄4- or 1⁄2-in. flags on any type of ceramic ware. For other decorators, such as Glassmasters, a glass art studio in Richmond, Va., and Moderne Glass, the demand for patriotic ware has meant using existing designs instead of creating new ones. According to Mitch Fox, vice president of Glassmasters, customers have shown a great interest in the company’s America the Beautiful design for glass art panels.

Suppliers are also noticing the effects of the surge in demand for patriotic ware. Jon Rarick, president of Reusche & Co. of T.W.S. Inc., a Greeley, Co., supplier of custom color matching, oils, colors, covercoats, decal paper, brushes and inks, notes that many customers have increased orders of red, white and blue colors. Like many decorators, he believes that the demand for patriotic ware will be “here for a while” as Americans strive to show their unity in creative ways.