Viva la Fiesta!
Originally uploaded by Miss Anthropology. Yes...Fiesta Dinnerware (a.k.a Fiestaware.) The colorful plates produced by the Homer Laughlin China Company of Newell, West Virginia were developed by a one-time Santa Barbarian, Frederick Hurten Rhead, perhaps inspired by the color and spirit of the Santa Barbara Fiesta!
Frederick Hurten Rhead (1880-1942) was born in England to an artistic/potter family but he spent most of his working career in the United States. He emigrated to the States in 1902 and found work in various pottery studios and universities, eventually landing in California at the Arequipa Tuberculosis Sanitarium in Marin County where he instructed patients in the art of pottery.
Rhead moved down the coast in 1913 and started his own pottery studio, The Read Pottery Studio, in Santa Barbara in 1914. He kept the studio open until 1917.
In 1927, Rhead was hired as art director of the Homer Laughlin China Company in Newell, West Virginia. And, in the 1930s, Rhead designed an extremely popular line of glazed dinnerware for the company he named Fiesta. He based his design on an Art Deco style and it originally came in five vivid colors (including a very radioactive red.) He wanted the consumer to have the ability to use pieces of different colors to mix and match according to their taste. Rhead, perhaps with a nod to his studio pottery roots, also wanted it to look handcrafted and designed concentric circles inside and out as if they were thrown on a potters wheel.