About Chiquita Prestwood

I'd collected several years before I realized there might be a book published on McCoy Pottery. Even then I was such a novice I didn't think about going to a book store for the reference information I sought. I simply wrote to the McCoy Pottery Factory in Roseville, Ohio inquiring if they had a book on their pottery. Within a short time I got a personal letter from Billie McCoy telling me they had copies of a paperback book, "The Real McCoy" by Pamela Coates and a paperback book ,"Beginners Guide to American Pottery" by Deb and Gini Johnson.

I was in awe at getting a hand typed letter and personally signed at that by Mrs. Nelson McCoy. I ordered both the books she mentioned. When they arrived I marveled at the products McCoy manufactured…not only the planters I was accustomed to seeing but cookie jars, vases, etc. I thought to myself, If only I could meet these people. (Little did I know she and Nelson would become dear friends of mine in years to come.)

During Pottery Festival in 1987 , a group of ten McCoy collectors gathered in Zanesville Ohio to compare notes on our pottery. We had the good fortune to meet Nelson and Billie that year…my dream came true!

Nelson and Billie McCoy when
they visited my home.

Each year after that we visited with them while in Ohio and kept in touch through the year. In l996 Nelson and Billie were en route to Florida for a winter vacation. One Saturday night about 7:30 the phone rang and it was Billie asking if they could come visit the next day. Oh My! The McCoys at my house!

When they arrived the next day I was so excited. Showing Nelson and Billie my collection of pottery their family had made was quite a treat. Nelson would pick up a piece and tell me who designed it. Once he picked up something saying "We didn't make this" and then he saw the McCoy logo on the bottom and he'd laugh and say" Well, I guess we did."

Craig Nissen when he visited
doing the second book.

Photo of the Hansons,
friends and co-authors of
Hanson, Nissen Hanson.
Margaret passed away in 2001.

Highlights of my Collecting Career

I'd have to say meeting Nelson and Billie and becoming friends has been THE most memorable highlight of my collecting career.

Another important memorable highlight has being able to contribute to the making of some of the reference material on McCoy. In the planning stages of "Collectors Reference and Value Guide" by Craig Nissen , Margaret and Bob Hanson, Craig asked if I had pieces I'd be willing to ship for him to photograph. At the time I was doing radiation treatment at Duke for breast cancer. Craig and I would talk during the week selecting what items he could use. When I got home on Fridays I'd pack them and rush to UPS to send them. What fun it was to be included in a project like this.

The "Real" fun happened when the next book was being put together. "Collectors Reference and Value Guide, Vol. 11" is the volume that includes McCoy cookie jars. Neither the Hanson's nor Craig collected cookie jars or had a lot of knowledge about them. Both had collectors that lived near them and they photographed those collections. Craig came to our home for a short visit, bringing his lighting equipment, back drop, and camera. We sought the best place in my house for working and prepared the equipment. Working from the photos they'd taken of other jars, we filled in the missing ones with mine. We photographed about 300 pieces of pottery in one day. Despite being so totally exhausted I was so honored to be able to help this way with this book.

When a third volume was planned Craig asked to visit again to photograph more items. Another day of hard work followed but well worth it for the satisfaction I received with being able to contribute once again.

Right after Craig was here for the third Volume, The Hansons e-mailed me that I would be hearing from Martha Stewart's producer about doing a segment for them on McCoy cookie jars. Shortly after I read their e-mail Craig called to get my response. With the recommendation of these wonderful friends came the offer to ship 25 of 30 of my cookie jars to Connecticut and fly up to tape a segment with Martha . My brother was willing to go with me, organizing my trip so I could see a bit of New York while we were there.

This trip included multiple highlights for me. Besides seeing as much of the City as possible in a short time, I taped the Segment with Martha Stewart and was able to visit with friends in N.J. before coming home. Co-incidentally the time offered for taping was a few days before Craig was to visit Joanne and Glenn Lindberg to photograph part of their collection for Vol. 3. Joanne had the MOST fabulous McCoy I'd ever seen and It was so great to be able to see it while on that trip. Frank Poolas from N.J. came while Craig was there and we all pitched in doing the work for Craig to photograph the pottery.

Seeing Joanne's pottery was certainly a highlight of my collecting. She was truly a dear friend. (Joanne passed away several months after my visit).

My dear friend Joanne who also passed away. (darn, I sure do miss her) and
her husband Glen on our outing to the Statue of Liberty, while visiting her.

I've been able to make other contributions to some of the reference books. Steve Sanford used some information I supplied in his "Sanfords Guide to McCoy Pottery" along with photos of a few pieces of my pottery. The majority of his book was from Billie McCoy and Joanne's collections.

In Addition to the McCoy books, Joyce Roerig used a few of my photos as well in her Cookie Jar books.

Another highlight was as a contributor to the McCoy newsletter, The NM Express, published by Carol Seman and Dan Eggert. It started as a column to answer questions but when I didn't have a question, I wrote about things I thought the readers would enjoy reading.   This continues now with the Journal for McCoy Pottery Collectors Society.

Collecting McCoy Pottery extends far beyond buying a piece of pottery and setting it on the shelf. It includes the friendships I've made through the hobby, the knowledge I've gained and been fortunate to be able to share with other collectors and the experiences in collecting.

Left: Martha Stewart / Right: Chiquita Prestwood

During an appearance on the Martha Stewart Show, I had the opportunity to have some photos taken with her.

To view the article: "McCoy Cookie Jars with Chiquita"

"Behind The Scenes"

Behind the scenes at the Lindbergs, taking photos for Vol. 3.

Shooting was finished and we decided to do one more photo..so Frank Poolas (fingers on the right) and I just held up the lighting backboards for Craig.

My Favorite McCoy Art

Right: This is a print of one of MaryAnn Bucci's paintings. She asked for my help in selecting items for the original painting.

Below Left : This is an original cartoon done by Artist & Friend, Frank Heller.

The subject is the Martha Stewart segment being viewed on T-V by McCoy cookie jars.

Below Right: Artist and friend Jack Sullivan's perception of the Lily Wall Pocket.

A number of years ago Jean Bushnell and her husband were in Zanesville for the festival.

Jean started our MPCS group.

She and I became dear friends. Our husbands went into the old factory which had partially burned....and emerged with this night shift sign.

Somewhere I have something else from the time clock but I don't know where it is.

Last summer I had the opportunity to see original sketches by the Copes, well known designers for McCoy Pottery through the years.

This one caught my eye for several reasons.

First, the Sports planters are some of my favorite McCoys and this sheet shows all the produced ones as well as others that were not. Then I happened to notice there were sketches on the reverse side.

To my surprise and complete delight I found the hillbilly bear sketch there. This has been a highly sought after cookie jar by any serious McCoy collector. Roy Demory used to wear a shirt with the Hillbillys image on it hoping to attract the eye of someone who might have one.
Velma Cope was gracious in showing us the sketches and even more so in selling a few of them to collectors.

Garden Meditations

By Reverend Max Coots.

Let us give thanks for a bounty of people.

For children who are our second planting, and though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may they forgive us our cultivation and fondly remember where their roots are.

Let us give thanks: For generous friends, with hearts and smiles - as bright as their blossoms;

For feisty friends, as tart as apples;

For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us that we've had them;

For crotchety friends, sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;

For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn, and the others, as plain as potatoes and so good for you;

For funny friends, who are as silly as Brussels sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes;

And serious friends as unpretentious as cabbages, as subtle as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as delightful as dill, as endless as zucchini and who, like parsnips, can be counted on to see you through the winter;

For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time and young friends coming on as fast as radishes;

For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold us, despite our blights, wilts, and witherings;

And finally, for those friends now gone, like gardens past that have been harvested, but who fed us in their time that we might have life thereafter.

For all these we give thanks.