by Helga Naujoks

Forgetting Vasculitis for some Hours

was our motto on July 27th in 2003. Members of the support-group "Kreis Steinburg" and members of the Vasculitis Working Committee met in Kellinghusen. Questions about the well-being of each member and discussions of vasculitis-related topics were the prevalent talk on our way to the museum. From then on, however, everybody was captivated by the exhibits and the explanations given by a well-trained guide.

The local museum owns a small collection of fayences, which were manufactured in and around Kellinghusen, where the clay used in making them is found. Fayence-industries developed in Kellinghusen beginning in the mid 18th century and to this very day you can find many potters continuing the old tradition.

Fayences are earthenware pots and are named after the Italian town Faenza. After an initial firing they are dipped into pewter-enhanced enamel and, while still wet, get their painted pattern. The typical colours of yellow, blue, green, manganese, and red are embedded into the white glaze in a second firing, which gives a shiny surface to the pot.

The intricate painting has always been an expensive process, therefore the costly fayences were mainly produced for export and for the richer classes of society. Nowadays collectors can buy replicas, which are manufactured in Kellinghusen.

A beautiful tiled stove and richly painted tiles from the oven manufacturer "Fernsicht" are a testament to the rich surroundings in which they were once placed as room decorations.

For those of us who felt like doing more visiting, there was a special exhibit of "Siegried Moeller". A collection had been put together of the work of the potter, who lived in Schleswig-Holstein from 1896 to 1970.

You could see examples of simply decorated works from the beginning of his working-period as well as some more richly decorated fayences. Tea services decorated with strict lines were exhibited, which were created from 1950 onward by Fuerstenberg and modelled after Moeller's design.

Any collector who owns old fayences from Kellinghusen potteries can be proud and happy, as well as collectors who own a piece by Siegfried Moeller.

After spending and hour and a half at the museum, we met again for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake at a nearby restaurant. After a small rest the talk grew more boisterous, and the noise level rose. In no time at all I could hear mention of MTX, Cortisone or vasculitis, which after all, had been the reason which had brought us together. There were so many other things to talk about, and time and time again the room was filled with laughter. It showed that everybody really enjoyed being "free" of the illness for a few hours.

One could notice that such events are also an important part of the work of support-groups. They enable the personal exchange of problems and concerns caused by their illness. In addition, participants get help through experiences others have. had. But the chance to leave behind the everyday-routine, to leave the circling thoughts about vasculitis, and to "recharge" with happy experiences gives us renewed strength as well.

We finished the successful afternoon with a little stroll, then bade farewell to each other -- already looking forward to our next meeting in autumn.

Mrs. Ruehmann had organised the event and had invited everybody. Many people came, and we owe her our sincere thanks.

updated 15.February 2004