Walter Lee Cornelison: Family Origins | Digital Traditions


Bybee Pottery, Waco, Madison County. Interview recorded August 1981.

Walter Lee Cornelison is a fifth-generation potter, turning wares in Bybee Pottery - Kentucky’s sole surviving traditional pottery. Cornelison turns on a wheel set up inside the old log pot shop while overseeing the production of slip- cast and jigger-turned pottery.

The original structure at Bybee was built by Walter’s great-great-grandfather in the 1840s. As the oldest functioning pottery in the United States, Bybee Pottery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Cornelison, along with other family members and assistants, produces over 100,000 pieces of pottery a year. Bybee produces brightly colored, functional pieces that reflect his family’s historical emphasis on utilitarian form and design.

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