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Clear as Mud: Early 20th Century Kentucky Art Pottery: First book on Kentucky art pottery

Clear as Mud: Early 20th Century Kentucky Art Pottery, a modest but ground-breaking look at art pottery produced in Kentucky in the first half of the 20th century, has just been published. It deals with such potteries as Cornelison Bybee, Waco, the Bybee Pottery Co. of Lexington (Selden-Bybee, Genuine Bybee), Louisville Pottery Co. (Cherokee), Kenton Hills Porcelains and Hadley. Such other ceramics as art tile, drain-tile premiums and Western Kentucky’s “pinch pots” are included.

Kentucky art potteryThe book places what was going on in the commonwealth with what was happening in the rest of the South, especially North Carolina, and touches on the influences brought onto the regional scene. These influences include mass-market magazines, such as Gustav Stickley’s The Craftsman, which showcased the Arts & Crafts potteries of the Northeast and Midwest; tourists, who sought pots that reminded them of classic Asian and Greco-Roman forms; and the itinerant nature of pottery work, with craftsmen moving from one locale to another as work − or the lack of it − demanded.

Each chapter is written by a collector/scholar of that pottery and contains a concise history of the pottery, including, if possible, known potters, dates of operation, catalogs, etc. In some cases the histories overlap or conflict; much that is known is not as clear as one would like, which explains the book’s title. Also included are all the known marks and tips on identifying unmarked pottery.
Clear as Mud is the second book produced under the aegis of the Cane Ridge Publishing House. It was edited by Warren Payne and designed by Julie Payne, who also did the photography. The publisher’s first book was Kentucky: The Master Painters from the Frontier Era to the Great Depression, which came out in 2008.
About Cane Ridge Publishing House:
Cane Ridge Publishing House was founded in February 2008 to address the need for substantial publications on the fine- and decorative-arts traditions of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Press Contact:
Warren Payne
Cane Ridge Publishing House
[email protected]

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