Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 32: ARTS AND CRAFTS
Organizing and Marketing Pottery 1960s
ARTS AND CRAFTS CERAMICS Organizing and Marketing Pottery 1960s
When Paul Lynn and Mary Rogers and others worked t build a pottery studio at Pine Mountain there were many considerations. Who would carry the plan forward? What would the costs to the institution be? Could a pottery program be supported and sustained financially? What would be the ongoing costs to the institution? Was there sufficient interest in the community for this utilitarian art form? Could the program build skills that were portable? What would be the best model to emulate? Where would the program be housed? What safety hazards are associated with the craft? Were there sufficient educators and educational tools to support the new art form?
So many questions. However, the timing was favorable and the questions looked surmountable. The School began the process of discovery. Many small pottery initiatives were demonstrating that “pots” could be profitable and the craft could educate in many areas. The market was good and growing and Pine Mountain had a staff dedicated to learning and earning, particularly in the persons of Paul Lynn, Mary Rogers, and others.
A small club comprised of Community folk was formed and supportive. On September 15, 1965 the pottery club was defined and officers were appointed/elected.
Linda Caldwell was chosen as President, Bonnie Coldiron, Vice President, Bonnie Johnson, Secretary, and Cinda Asher was appointed Treasurer. The Club was given a name: Pinch-a-Pot. The formation of the club followed four years of staff planning and gathering of information.
Paul Lynn, Pine Mountain staff member carefully documented the steps taken to shape the pottery program at the School. It is largely Paul’s work, supported by Mary Rogers, Jerry Workman, and others who jumped in during the early years to build the foundation of the program and who sustained it until the early 1970s.
The documents shown here reflect the environment in which the Pine Mountain ceramics program was born and in which it thrived. The program began a sharp decline after the departure of Paul Lynn and a rapid change in the school’s educational and environmental education programs. Integrating ceramics into environmental education produced a challenge to instructors with the small number of wheels, tools, and particularly the firing of pots in the short turn-around for most visiting school groups. Ceramics at Green Hills School was severely limited and clubs such as Homemakers were small and often turned to other crafts — particularly woodworking.
BEN AN PAT BEGLEY POTTERS
Pottery classes lapsed for many years between the mid 1970’s and late 1980s, until it was incorporated in a limited way into Environmental Educational programming. However, various staff took up the challenge of learning the craft and produced wares to be sold at Fair Day or in local venues. The pottery of Pat and Ben Begley was well known for building on previous knowledge of the craft at the School and elegantly expanding it’s design elements. Their craft quality and their knowledge of the craft grew as they experimented with the tools remaining from the 1960s and 1970s, and they generously shared what they learned with students and staff and added to the craft’s resilience at Pine Mountain.
GALLERY ARTS AND CRAFTS CERAMICS Pottery Organizing and Promoting Pottery 1960s
- Pinch-n-Pot local pottery club members.
- Doar, Harriet. “Clay Has So Many Facets,” The Charlotte Observer, Sunday, Nov. 14, 1965. 
- Bybee Pottery marketing brochure.
- The Pottery Shop. [later Iron Mountain Stoneware], Rising Fawn. GA. Charles and Rubynelle Counts (Berea graduates). Promotional literature and marketing from The Pottery Shop. “Clay is a sensitive material. In response to the skilled potter’s hands it can become a vibrant personal object as no mass-produced item ever can.” [4 pages]
- Don Lewis promotional flyer. From gas-fueled kilns come three methods of firing: Oxidation, reduction, and salt-glazing. Flyer describes the three processes. [4 pages]