Willow collectors have had a long history of gathering and sharing their news, information and collections long before the internet made it easier to connect. Presented here is a timeline of major IWC and willow-related events and points that might be of interest to today’s collectors.
1975: Veryl M. Jensen of Oakridge, Oregon, publishes The First International Book of Willow Ware China, featuring 57 different makers of willow.
1976: The Blue Willow Collectors Society is formed in Dallas, Texas, by Kay Ross. In 1977, she begins sending out a single information sheet called Willow Talk. It contains highlights of letters she receives and a few items for sale. The 1976-77 membership roster lists 289 members.
1978: Veryl M. Jensen writes a single-sheet newsletter called the Blue Willow Notebook. It features willow news from collectors and items for sale.
1978: The Toronto Willow Society, later the Willow Society of Canada, is formed by Conrad Biernacki. Its newsletter, edited by Biernacki, is the Willow Transfer Quarterly. In 1984, it becomes the official newsletter of The Willow Society.
1979: Veryl Worth (formerly Jensen) publishes Willow Pattern China Guide, an expansion of her first book.
1980: Robert Copeland publishes Spode’s Willow Pattern (And Other Designs After the Chinese). Two revised editions follow.
1980: Lois K. Misiewicz of Fallbrook, CA, takes over the Blue Willow Notebook from Veryl Worth and changes the name to The Willow Notebook, acknowledging that the willow pattern was produced in many different colors. While its emphasis is lists of many items for sale, Connie Rogers and Conrad Biernacki are regular contributors of educational articles. By the end of the year there are over 350 subscribers.
1983: Mary Frank Gaston publishes Blue Willow (An Identification and Value Guide). Two revised editions follow.
1983: Lisa Hurd of Oakridge Oregon, writes a newsletter called Willow West News, which lasts for less than one year.
1984: The Willow Notebook merges with the Willow Transfer Quarterly. It will maintain the title Willow Transfer Quarterly and be edited by Conrad Biernacki with assistance by Linda Schneider.
1985: The Ohio Willow Society is formed by Connie Rogers, Harry Hall and Jessie Hall. Rogers writes an informative newsletter for its members called the Ohio Willow Society Newsletter.
1986: The "First International Willow Society Convention," sponsored by The Willow Society of Canada, is held in Cincinnati at the Omni Netherland Plaza Hotel, which 85 collectors and spouses attend. Connie Rogers serves as convention chairman.
1986: A third edition of Willow Pattern China Collectors Guide is published by Veryl M. Worth and Louise Loehr.
1987: The Willow Society of North Texas is formed by Marcie Williams and Eva Revels to help plan for the 1989 convention in Dallas. In 1989, Mary Lina Berndt begins writing a newsletter for the society called The Willow Word (The Official Newsletter of the Willow Society of North Texas).
1988: With an increase of both content ideas and subscriber demand for the Ohio Willow Society Newsletter, Connie Rogers expands her publishing efforts and creates the American Willow Report.
1988: Convention attendees vote to separate from The Willow Society and rename themselves the International Willow Collectors. Barbara Stevens is elected IWC’s first president, along with other board officers that include Harry Hall (vice president), Steven Hunter (treasurer) and Jessie Hall (secretary).
1989: The first convention under the newly formed International Willow Collectors name is held in Dallas, Texas.
1990: The Willow Society of Middle Tennessee (later changed to The Willow Society of Tennessee) is formed by Jeff Siptak. He produces a newsletter for members called The Willow Bridge.
1990: Veryl M. Worth takes over editing and publishing the American Willow Report from Connie Rogers. It has over 600 subscribers.
1992: Mary Lina Berndt expands The Willow Word to an international readership, and in 1993 begins writing a new newsletter for Willow Society of North Texas members called The Willow Warbler of North Texas.
1993: IWC membership votes to create a printed catalog from the convention each year to include photos and information of willow and variants not found in Gaston’s book. Connie Rogers leads the research, Scot Rogers is the photographer and Mary Lina Berndt is publisher.
1995: Leslie Bockol publishes Willow Ware (Ceramics in the Chinese Tradition).
1995: Connie Rogers self-publishes Willow Ware Made in the U.S.A. (An Identification Guide).
1997: David Richard Quintner publishes Willow! (Solving the Mystery of our 200-year Love Affair with the Willow Pattern).
1999: Jeff Siptak begins publishing his own international newsletter called The Willow Review, after taking over the subscription list of The Willow Word.
2000: Jennifer Lindbeck publishes Willow Ware (A Collector’s Guide).
2001: Melissa Harman publishes Collecting Blue Willow (Identification & Value Guide).
2002: IWC begins publishing its own printed newsletter for members, IWC News. Nancee Rogers serves as first editor, followed by Jeff Siptak. In 2022, it is replaced with a monthly e-bulletin called the IWC News Bulletin, edited by Nancee Rogers and Lisa Fellers.
2004: Connie Rogers publishes The Illustrated Encyclopedia of British Willow Ware, which quickly becomes the “bible” on British willow potteries, marks and history. This comprehensive volume documents over 400 British potteries that produced willow from the 1790s to the early 2000s.
2004: Jeff Siptak creates IWC’s first website.
2005: Connie Rogers is the first person to be bestowed the title of IWC Lifetime Member. To date only six others have been given that title.
2006: The Pennsylvania Willow Society (PAWS) begins meeting. Organized by Jennifer Cather, and Suzie and Bernie Crist.
2010: IWC celebrates its 25th annual convention in Ohio with the theme “Silver Bells—Christmas in July.” It is chaired by Nancee and Scot Rogers.
2010: IWC creates its first public page and private group on Facebook, allowing collectors around the world the chance to meet through social media. Marianne Johnson and Jeff Siptak serve as first admins.
2020: An IWC first! Because of the Covid pandemic, IWC holds the first of two virtual conventions via Facebook, organized and hosted by Hugh and Kathy Sykes of New Zealand. In-person conventions resume in 2022.
2020: IWC expands its Facebook presence by creating an online buying and selling group called the International Willow Collectors Marketplace. Jeff Siptak serves as admin.