Turtle Creek Pottery is handmade and
individually decorated, so there will be variations in
size and color. The lead glazes on
David Smith's pottery
makes the pottery suitable for decorative use only.
THE POTTERY MAKERS - FORMS
The forms used are universal, and have been used for centuries.
pottery uses clay, rolled out into “slabs” and pressed/draped onto
wooden molds to create plates, platters, and trenchers. Thrown forms
such as plates, pots, and bowls are individually created from a ball of
clay on the potter’s wheel.
are sculpted from the raw clay, and are usually animal or human figures
that were probably made to amuse a child.
Several decorating methods are used on Turtle
Creek Pottery. Quilling,
slip trailing, sponging, and sgraffito are all techniques that you will
see on David Smith's pottery.
The simplest of
methods, Quilling, uses a cup with feather quills to drizzle white slip
clay onto a wet slab of clay that will be drape molded to make a plate.
Slip trailing is a similar technique that uses a quill cup with a single
quill. The slip (liquid clay) is then applied on a dry plate or pot in
a more intricate raised design.
Sponging is a
spontaneous style decoration that can be done multicolored on yellow
slip background or single manganese sponged on red clay.
Sgraffito is the
most detailed of all. After slip is applied to the pottery, a pointed
tool is used to scratch a fine design through the slip into the red
clay. Sometimes splashes of copper or manganese are put over these
designs to add color.
If you are a pottery student you will notice some European pieces in David
Smith's collection. Polychrome English Delft, German Slip-ware, and French-style pots
are represented, but the focus of the collection is American.
Redware was made all
over America, but every region had its own look - Connecticut, for its
Norwalk Pottery with its large flowing letters. North Carolina had the
Moravians who detailed the flowing slip-trailed flowers on jars and plates.
The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is famous for the Bell Pottery and its
Lions. However, the most famous and prolific area for Redware pottery was
Eastern Pennsylvania where the immigrant German population produced this art
until the end of the 19th Century.
Redware Pottery History
The 18th and 19th century pottery of
New England was plainly decorated, utilitarian ware.
These pots were thrown with finely detailed handles,
lids and incised lines. The pot decoration was usually a
simple slip decoration that could have been simple black
manganese to yellow slip with multicolor slips sealed
with a lead glaze. The slip trailed name plates from the
Smith Pottery in Norwalk, Connecticut are the
inspiration for our plates with writing.
The potters of Pennsylvania were the
most prolific and artistic of all American Redware
potters. Their forms were thrown, slabbed, coiled and
hand built. Their decoration consisted of simple solid
color glazes, to the multicolored, very detailed slip
trailed and sgraffito ware highly prized by collectors
today. The simple red slab plate with the yellow, wavy
slip lines is also a classic Pennsylvania pottery form.
The potters of the Shenandoah Valley
in Virginia are known for their mottled yellow slip,
copper, and manganese decorated flower pots. The most
famous potter family from this region was the Bell
family. A large hand built yellow slip decorated Bell
lion is a classic of American redware pottery. They also
made many pottery forms such as jars, flower pots, and
pottery for daily use by the people of this valley.
The potters of Old Salem, North
Carolina came from Pennsylvania and central Europe.
Their pottery consisted of thrown plates and jars and
molded or cast animal bottles. These plates and pots
were usually slip trail decorated over a red or yellow
The earliest American potters of the
17th century brought their trade from England, Germany,
and Europe; bringing with them their respective styles
and techniques. As you learn more about American
Redware, you will see the similarities in the forms and
decoration to this European pottery.
We use many historical sources to
inspire our "Folk Art" pottery. Designs from period
fireboards, paintings, hooked rugs, needlework,
frakturs, wall paintings, and quilts have all been used
for our pottery designs. One of our most popular "Folk
Art" design pottery styles is our "Bears and Pears"
pottery. It is used mostly on pots and lamps. It was
inspired by a fireboard in a New York museum
When most people think of
traditional Southern pottery, the first thing that comes
to mind are "Face Jugs". Folk lore tells us that these
jugs were made by African American slaves to drive away
evil spirits. These free spirited pots all have a unique
personality and are usually named.
The redware pottery of the Mid West is
usually very plain in style and decoration. This simple
pottery was a staple for daily use and was seldom, if
Our "Redstone Pottery" has the look of
salt glazed stoneware, but is actually earthenware
pottery with a grey slip covering with typical cobalt
blue decoration. We use the floral and animal designs as
seen on 18th and 19th century stoneware. Authentic salt
glaze pottery is very expensive today. Our Redstone
pottery can complement your salt glaze collection. Our
Redstone lamps are always popular at the folk art shows
in which we participate.
Our Delftware has the look of
traditional English tin glazed Delftware, but is
actually made of Redware pottery with a white slip base
coat, that is decorated with a polychrome slip
decoration. We use the same thrown plates, chargers,
pots, and apothecary jar forms seen on the English
pieces. The decorations are also similar. Florals,
oriental scenes, Adam & Eve, and portraits of William &
Mary are all common designs that we use on these pieces.
We make a variety of pieces that are
decorated to celebrate various holidays and seasons.
Christmas, Halloween, and 4th of July are all seasons
that are featured on our work. Our Christmas and
Halloween pottery can have detailed Folk Art scenes
showing people and much detail; or, can simply say
"Merry Christmas" or "Happy Halloween". Turtlecreek's
red, white and blue Patriotic flag pottery is also very
Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities
The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities
(SPNEA) is a museum of
cultural history which collects and preserves buildings, landscapes, and
objects that reflect New England’s daily life between the the mid 17th
century and the present. Founded in 1910 to protect New England’s cultural
and architectural heritage, SPNEA’s vast collection of furniture, paintings,
decorative arts, and household objects – many on view in their original
locations at the historic houses – documents 350 years of domestic life in
are proud to be licensed to reproduce furniture, and redware
pottery, from the SPNEA collections of Cogswell Grant and Beauport. Through
our research on visits to the museums, and using drawings and photos, our
reproductions are exact handmade reproductions of the original pieces.
Our American Heritage carries a large selection
of David Smith Pottery and Lamps.
Please Note: All Hand Made Items Are Unique,
pottery may vary in color, pattern, shape, size or other physical
characteristics. These are traits of hand
craftsmanship, no two pieces
made by hand can be exactly the same, these are signs of uniqueness and NOT
Turtle Creek Pottery
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