Rookwood Pottery Creates First Custom Scripps National Spelling Bee Trophy, The "Scripps Cup"

The Bee and Rookwood Pottery showcase Cincinnati’s artistic distinction on international stage


The 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion will be taking home the “Scripps Cup,” the first custom-designed trophy in the organization’s 90-year history. Created by Rookwood Pottery, the Bee unveiled the Scripps Cup during the Opening Ceremony on Monday, May 27, in National Harbor, Maryland, with a design that celebrates a combined legacy of hard work and recognition of talent.

The Cincinnati-made cup was designed by Mary Guanciale, Rookwood’s Director of Product Development, hand-carved by Gary Simon, master mold maker and sculptor, and hand-painted by artists Deborah Smith and Heidi Shannon.

“The world’s attention will be on Bee Week and on the National Finals, waiting for that special moment when the Scripps Spelling Bee Champion is announced,” said Micah Caroll, President & CEO, Rookwood Pottery. “This one-of-a-kind design honors nine-decades of history and achievement, providing the Bee with a unique award and a meaningful piece of art that commemorates a tremendous milestone.”

Interwoven into the honeycomb form, Rookwood artists have intricately carved and painted details celebrating the storied history of the nation’s largest and longest-running educational program. Symbolizing each participant’s hard work, dedication, and preparation, the trophy blooms from an open book and is decorated with bee filigree and the colorful Gladiolus flower – ”Gladiolus” was the first winning word in 1925.

The base, custom-made and hand-carved by Family Woodworks, is made of Walnut to represent the Bee’s headquarters located on Walnut Street in Cincinnati, OH, which will be engraved with the winning student’s name.

This year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion and the Scripps Cup is expected to make nationally-televised appearances during the Bee’s primetime Finals on Thursday, May 30 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, livestream on the ESPN app and play along on ESPNU.

Visit for more information about the “Scripps Cup” and Rookwood’s other custom commemorative work.


Rookwood is located in the bustling Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio—and it has been for decades. Pioneering artist Maria Longworth Storer founded the studio in the Queen City over 130 years ago, building the business and laying the foundation for what Rookwood is today: a world-renowned artisanal ceramics company, operating in the heart of the Ohio River Valley.

Continuing its legacy as woman-owned, Marilyn Scripps revived the company over ten years ago and owns Rookwood today. From its 88,000-square-foot production facility, Rookwood builds upon its rich heritage, creating American-made, artisan-quality ceramic pottery and tile. Learn more at


The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational program. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. Visit for more information about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company.