The Mad Potter's Mud Babies
George Ohr, born in 1857 in Biloxi, Mississippi, learned his father's trade of blacksmith, but he hated it. He tried over a dozen other positions before a friend gave him a job as a potter. George fell in love with the potter's wheel and developed a unique style that set him far apart from his contemporaries.
George experimented with shapes as well as glazes. Some of his pieces had ruffles, some had fluted edges, others had borders made of his thumbprints. Many of his vessels were extremely thin. However, his work was only appreciated by a select few. Only George himself seemed to recognize its worth, but despite his self-promotion he did not acquire wealth or fame during his lifetime.
More than 50 years after his death, George's work was rediscovered by an antiques dealer. George's surviving collection of more than 5,000 pieces of pottery were re-introduced to the world. And this time, the world was ready. One of his pieces sold at auction for $133,000. Contemporary artists were influenced by his work. And one of America's greatest architects designed a museum to hold many of George's art pots, or, as he called them, his mud babies.
As George might have suggested, be present, be bold, be fearless.