for The Mad Potter
by Jan Greenberg
and Sandra Jordan
The folded shapes and crenellated forms created by potter George E. Ohr may not look that distinctive now, but the striking pots he shaped were like nothing else seen in the late 1800s. And they were largely unheralded at the time. But Ohr was more than the genius he knew himself to be; he was a personality and a showman in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he had his potter's studio. But beneath all his dazzle was incredible talent: He spun out pots and pitchers and vases and vessels with twists and turns that were sometimes quirky and playful and sometimes, simply, strikingly beautiful. He experimented with glazes. And he thrived on his own eccentricity (although his family did not). Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan provide a lively introduction to this American artist who was all but undiscovered until the final decades of the twentieth century, long after his death. Their final chapter shows his influence on contemporary pottery, and even contemporary architecture-a museum dedicated to Ohr designed by Frank Gehry was inspired by his forms. Detailed source notes follow a primer on "How to Look at a Pot." (Ages 11-15)
CCBC Choices 2014. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2014. Used with permission.
When George Ohr's trove of pottery was discovered in 1967, years after his death, his true genius was discovered with it. The world could finally see how unique this artist really was!
Born in 1856 in Biloxi, Mississippi, George grew up to the sounds of the civil war and political unrest. When he was 22, his boyhood friend introduced him to the pottery wheel. The lost young man suddenly found his calling.
"When I found the potter's wheel I felt it all over like a duck in water."
He started creating strangely crafted pots and vases, expressing his creativity and personality through the ceramic sculptures. Eventually he had thousands at his fingertips. He took them to fairs and art shows, but nobody was buying these odd figures from this bizarre man. Eventually he retired, but not without hiding hundreds of his ceramics.
Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, authors of the award winning Ballet for Martha, approach this colorful biography with a gentle and curious hand.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.