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Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Brothers in Clay"

On Father’s Day this year, I am honoring my father’s love of history. I developed a love of genealogy, travel, and anything handmade by listening to him talk about his love of these things. Traveling for him was always about the historical significance of any place that he visited. We would stop and read historical markers and traipse through cemeteries reading headstones wherever we went.

Today, I am featuring two of his prize possessions – pottery jugs.

I have set the table by using the jugs as the centerpieces.

The first jug was made for him in Cartersville, Georgia in 1940 by William Joseph (W.J.) Gordy at his Georgia Art Pottery studio. It may be the only one of its kind in existence, since my father insisted on having a top made for the jug.

My father grew up in the mountains of northern Alabama and I always smile, when I look at the second jug. It is a stoneware whiskey jug that was probably used for “moonshine”. Since my dad had at least one older relative that made such concoctions, he was probably familiar with these jugs in his youth. I do not remember where he acquired this jug, but I think it was in an old house, possibly in Georgia. It is not marked and is glazed only on the top, because the contents stayed cooler in an unglazed jug.

The third piece of pottery in the center of the table is a contemporary one. It was made by my niece-in-law’s husband. He gave it to me, since he knew that I loved pottery. I have been collecting, since the 1970s. I love this piece and I think it looks wonderful with the older pieces. Thanks, Matt!
Two of the other pieces of pottery on the table are part of my collection.

This one was made by Jim Sockwell in the ‘70s. I purchased it at The Signature Shop in Atlanta, Georgia, which is still in business today.

The other one is a more recent piece made by the potters-in-residence at Westville near Lumpkin, Georgia. Westville is the re-creation of an 1850s town where demonstrations of crafts and cooking are usually happening, when you visit. My husband gave me this bowl as a gift.

For the table setting, I have used Oneida “Adriatic” plates, because they remind me of the look of pottery. I placed them on brown and ecru variegated placemats. Next, brown bamboo flatware was added.

Elrene “Carmella” napkins were place in copper beaded napkin rings (for just a bit of bling!).
Sweet iced tea (my husband’s favorite) is being served in my Mikasa “Ariana” iced beverage glasses.

The four adult coffee drinkers will drink their after dinner coffee from pottery mugs made by W.J. Gordy’s brother, D. X. Gordy, who worked in Primrose, Georgia. Primrose is in very close to where I lived as a young child. These mugs were given to me by my mother-in-law. I am fortunate to have many generous people in my life!

If you would like to know more about the rich tradition of pottery making in Georgia, including the Gordy family and many of the other family potters, you can read Brothers in Clay by John A. Burrison. I gave this copy to my dad many years ago and my sister in an incredible act of generosity gave it back to me, along with the two jugs that I have used in this blog. Thank you, sis, from the bottom of my heart!!

I will leave you with a few more pieces of pottery that have been hand made by friends of mine, Huey and Anne Wheeler of Dawson, Georgia. They no longer have a website, but are listed on Facebook under “Folk Pottery by Huey and Anne Wheeler”. They make wonderful face jugs and sculpted lamp bases, among other pieces.

I hope all of you fathers have a wonderful Father’s Day this year and I hope that you realize the influence that you have on your children. I know my father did!

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  1. I do LOVE this tablescape...I have collected pottery for years and just love seeing it used like this...very apropro for Father's Day...I just may have to get out the pottery and make a table around it..thanks, Diane for the always

  2. Love this post! Great inspiration..thanks for sharing:)
    Hope to see you on my blog:)


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