Happy 99th Birthday Grandma Catherine!

Dear Brad Keeler Artwares enthusiasts,

A few tidbits to share:

First, last February would have been Brad's 99th birthday, and today would have been my namesake's (they were born the same year), so I'll give you a little bit of background about her here.

Catherine Maude Gutting was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Jennie and John Gutting. When she was a teen her family to moved to Southern Calfornia. She had one sister and twin brothers, one of whom went on to become Chief of Police of South Gate. ***Feb 18, 2013 - CORRECTION: Catherine had TWO sisters - Elizabeth and Ethel - and THREE brothers - John, Clarence, and James Earl; none were twins. John later became Chief of Police in South Gate; he was the one with twin sons. (Much grattitude is owed my Uncle Brad & my mom Heather for noting these corrections, and many apologies for not making the corrections months ago when they were first noted - where has the time gone?)***

When she was 22 she married Brad Keeler. By the time I met her she was in her sixties. Some of my earliest and best memories are of spending time with her: I would stand behind her and "do" her hair in a style which I called the "Lucy O Ball" (Lucille Ball!), or she would read to me from one of the many Golden Books she gave me, or from the catechism (she was Catholic). When she died I was only seven years old and I inherited a number of pieces from her collection, including one that bore her name (so, one from after Brad died and before the factory shut down). Here it is:

Also, thinking about Father's Day, and the not-so-long-ago Mother's Day: A few years back we took my mom out for a Mother's Day breakfast in downtown Riverside, after which we walked around a handful of local antiques stores. I was searching for something to display my recently-acquired tulip tea set and found what I thought was the perfect thing. I paid for it and brought it home, and then my brought something out: A photograph of my grandmother Catherine standing in front of a nearly identical display shelf! I had no memory of the shelf in her house, but surely somewhere stored in head was an image of this "perfect" display piece, and it was the same as hers!

The only downside to this "perfect" shelf is that it collects some serious dust! But I'm glad to be continuing on the tradition.


Speaking of Mother's Day, I received as a gift this past Mother's Day a beautiful pair of quails. For some bizarre reason I can't make this photo go the right direction, so I recommend turning your head rather than the computer monitor to view it in the correct orientation...! :


In reader news, since January, I've been contacted by at least a dozen of you -- looking for information about his work, offering information about the pieces you own, and generally thanking me for providing some history about his life and work. You're all the reason I'm doing this, and while my blog posts may be sporadic, I am always just an email away, and make every effort to respond in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, sometimes things do get lost in my inbox -- correspondence for my other occupations as a writer, editor, and staff for the nonprofit literary organization Inlandia Institute, as well as all the junk mail that I get, tend to overwhelm my inbox. So if you don't hear back from me right away, please feel free to drop me a second email as the first may have gotten lost.

Here is a recap of the pieces described in the emails that I've received.

- a pair of cranes, 713 & 714, described by Lake Vortex as "rare", which have been in the reader's family since 1954 at least!

- a pair of Chinese pheasants, 38A & 38B:


- Rooster cookie jar

- Peacock/Peahen pair, 701 & 702

- A bird & a duck, without specifc item numbers listed; here is a photograph of a duck & a couple of birds from my own collection.

- Fish pitcher

- A siamese cat ceramic lamp, which I don't a photo of, and which I am slightly mystified by: I have never seen one, and the search I did turned up a man named Howard Ball who worked for Leland Claes, a ceramics artist who specialized in ceramic lamps, many with siamese cats. One theory that I have is that perhaps Howard tried to recreate the lamps under the Brad Keeler label, but I have no definitive evidence at this time. For the curious, here is a page about the Leland Claes lamps:

- AND! A family member - daughter of my grandfather's brother - found this site. She also has an extensive collection of his work that I am hoping to post photos of at some time.


Thank you all for your interest in this site, and for any family members or others who might have known Brad Keeler who are reading this: I'm always happy to make corrections! Just let me know. :-)

Happy Collecting!

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Reader Comments (1)

Hello! So happy to find this site.
I've tried submitting this through the contact form but it doesn't seem to be working, so I thought I'd attempt to post it here.
I inherited a single apple plate (a deep shade of red with green leaves and apple blossoms at the top) several years ago and kept it because I found the color and design very appealing. Never really thought about looking for identifying marks or anything until today. The bottom is marked 'Brad Keeler Made in the USA ' and has the number 178. I've been searching online and while I've found several of your grandfather's pieces, I've been unable to locate an apple. Is this design more rare than the others? Or am I just not looking in the right places? ;) I'd just like to have some idea of its value.

Thank you!
Kelli Williams

January 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelli

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