Winner of 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze for
Best South-East Regional Non-Fiction
edited by Warren Payne
Clear as Mud is a modest but ground-breaking look at art pottery produced in Kentucky in the first half of the 20th century. It deals with such potteries as Cornelison Bybee, Waco, the Bybee Pottery Co. of Lexington (Selden-Bybee, Genuine Bybee), Louisville Pottery Co. (Cherokee), Kenton Hills Porcelains and Hadley. Such other ceramics as art tile, drain-tile premiums and Western Kentucky's "pinch pots" are included.
The book places what was going on in the commonwealth with what was happening in the rest of the South, especially North Carolina and Georgia, in context and touches on the influences brought onto the regional scene. These influences include mass-market magazines, such as Gustav Stickley’s The Craftsman, which showcased the Arts & Crafts potteries of the Northeast and Midwest; tourists, who sought pots that reminded them of classic Asian and Greco-Roman forms; and the itinerant nature of pottery work, with craftsmen moving from one locale to another as work − or the lack of it − demanded.
Each chapter contains a concise history of the pottery, including, if possible, known potters, dates of operation, catalogs, etc. In some cases the histories overlap or conflict; much that is known is not as clear as one would like, which explains our title. Also included are all the known marks and tips on identifying unmarked pottery.
Warren Payne is co-owner of Payne Fine Arts.