I guess I got my love and appreciation for glass from Mother. She always saved old family glass and had pretty dishes on shelves and cabinets. I never paid much attention to them when I was younger.
I married in 1952. My husband Jim and I had four boys when they were all in school I went back and got my teaching credential. After all the boys had left home I became interested in collecting glass. It all started with a crystal Iris & Herringbone pitcher. After I found out what it was I had a pretty complete set for four.
I got acquainted with three ladies that owned antique stores and they were responsible for my learning about the "good glass". My goal was to have an example of each kind, such as Tiffany, Loetz, Washington, Satin, RS & ES Prussia, etc. That's when my husband said, "It's hard to be an expert in everything so why don't you choose just one to collect". That's when my Mother brought out some of my Grandmother's glass to look at. My Dad and Aunt had given 3 pieces of carnival glass to my Grandmother for presents when they were young children. They were Fenton's Holly compote and Dugan's Single Flower and Double Stem Rose. I guess that's when I contracted carnivalitis. Made me wonder....who made them, what color were they and was there a name for the pattern? That's when I started researching with little luck. The city library had very little and the County had a few paper back books.
I had subscribed to the Antique Trader and found out about Marion Hartung's books. I ordered them from a lady in Emporia, Kansas. She had all but books 3 and 7. From then on they were my carnival glass bible. I spent hours looking for the names of patterns.
One time I bought a sauce, thought I had something rare, lol. I wrote to Don Moore. I drew a detailed picture of it in hopes he could identify it. Bet he had a good laugh. He wrote back telling me there was not enough room to put the whole pattern on the sauce...it was Peacock at the Fountain. He also said that if I was really serious about collecting I should join a club and he sent an application to join ICGA. That was the first club. I sent the application in to Lee Markley and asked if there was a club in my area. He replied and told me the Fry's had just started a club in San Diego, California six months earlier. Diane Fry wrote and invited us to their January meeting. We became members and I would say that's when my carnival glass education began.
Dean & Diane Fry both were very knowledgeable. Dean corrected all the misinformation I had been told along the way. They had many programs presented to the club from advanced collectors in and out of state so we saw first hand many beautiful collections. This started in 1986. I started collecting Dragon & Lotus in 1987. Why? I don't really know. My friend Jackie Robbins owned a store and she had one piece of carnival glass, a blue ruffled Dragon & Lotus. I must have looked at that for a year. It kept drawing me back so I finally bought it. I thought it was too high at $75. That's when I got stuck on the Dragon & Lotus pattern.
At that time I didn't know anyone collected just Dragon & Lotus until Diane invited Dr. Chris Reynolds to give a program on Dragon & Lotus. In 1960 he was at a doctor's convention and he had a cardiac arrest. He was told he would have to retire. Being a country boy he had never had any hobbies. An ex-patient had given him some carnival glass and so he started looking and started collecting only Dragon & Lotus. After the program we became friends. He had duplicates that I bought from him to help my collection. He told me more information about Dragon & Lotus. He was a dedicated collector.
One evening in 1991 I received a call from Dr. Chris and he wanted to know if I would like to purchase his collection. Of course, I told him I would love to, but didn't know if I could afford it. He said he had to inventory everything and would get back to me. We made a deal and in August of 1991 when we met at the Pacific Northwest Carnival Glass Club (PNWCGC) and I became the proud owner of 72 Dragon & Lotus pieces. That made a total of 117 Dragon & Lotus items in my collection. Since then I've refined and added some different pieces.
My husband, Jim, doesn't collect carnival glass but, he does support and appreciate my habit. He collects walking sticks and Griswold ironware. We moved to New Mexico from Imperial, California in 2000. My husband built a 16' x 20' room. We call it the glass house. We built shelves on three walls and one is for the computer and desk. All my carnival glass is displayed in there, plus a rocking chair for gazing.
It's hard to believe it's been 30 years of collecting. It's been a real learning experience. We've made a whole new family of wonderful friends.
The Ardonna Bucher Collection