Ceramic Industry

The Edgefield Tradition

July 26, 2011
Potter Gary Dexter is working with the Georgia Archaeological Institute to build a traditional groundhog kiln, which he will use to create Old Edgefield-style pottery.

Gary Dexter, a South Carolina potter who specializes in Old Edgefield-style pottery, is collaborating with the Georgia Archaeological Institute to create a traditional "groundhog kiln" at the new Edgefield Stoneware Research Center in Trenton, S.C. This type of kiln is so named because of the cramped "groundhog" entrance that the user must crawl through to fire their pottery. Dexter will use local clays, traditional wood firing and alkaline glazing methods to produce the popular Edgefield-style stoneware in the new kiln.

The kiln's location was carefully selected in an effort to continue the local pottery tradition; thus far, archaeologists have excavated more than 1000 ancient vessels and broken pottery pieces at the site. These fragments of history may be seen by visitors at the site's educational museum and workshop center (currently under development). For more information, visit Gary Dexter's website at www.dexterpottery.com.