Georgia once rivaled North Carolina in number of active potters. In the nineteenth century, the alkaline glaze tradition expanded from Edgefield, South Carolina and potters from both Carolinas were soon arriving. Potteries were concentrated around the best clay deposits – middle Georgia up into the Appalachian foothills. By the early 1980s, there were a dozen active traditional potteries and several had shifted production from stoneware to unglazed garden ware. Craven Pottery and Hewell’s Pottery turn thousands of unglazed pieces a month.
North Georgia has a long history of stoneware production. The Meaders family has been turning pots in White County since 1893. Unlike many contemporary potters, the Meaders family emphasizes traditional forms and processes, utilizing wood-fired kilns and dark green alkaline glazes. Other potters, like brothers D. X. and Bill Gordy, abandoned their father’s utilitarian wares in favor of more decorative items. Their work explored a variety of new glaze recipes of their own creation. While several potters continue to enjoy success, traditional Georgia pottery has suffered with the passing of Lanier and Cleater Meaders and Bill and D. X. Gordy.