While researching the 19th century, I became fascinated with the vocation of a potter and its importance to the local community. These talented craftsmen created vessels that were functional and practical, typically serving the needs of the people within 30 to 50 miles.
The techniques reflected local traditions and regional styles passed down through generations. The industry thrived on manufacturing pieces like dishes, jugs, bowls, pitchers, mugs, storage jars, candlesticks, and cream pots.
Everything needed for the production of pottery was present in America- clay was abundant. Clay was dug locally either by hand or sometimes with simple machinery such as a mule-powered pugmill.
Although designed for everyday use, some chose to decorate their pottery with designs that would appeal to their customers. The below photo is a five-gallon stoneware crock, circa 1880. The folk art design shows a man with a mustache and bowler hat, wearing a buttoned coat and nickers sitting on a tree stump.
Who Made it?
As the United States expanded in the nineteenth century, potters from the north-east took their techniques to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. Generations later, the same families migrated further south and west.
A Potter in need of a home, a businessman thirsty for the inheritance his marriage will bring; and a proxy marriage that will reshape them both.
About Kimberly Grist:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kimberly-Grist/e/B07H2NTJ71