Tag Archives: digging clay

Clay Prospecting

Recently, one of the last potteries from the Old Edgefield District has found itself in the way of progress. Baynham’s pottery was relocated in the late 1800’s to this location from Trenton, SC. They managed to keep production of utilitarian pottery into the 1930’s. This site was the location for brickmaking, as well as garden-type earthenware production. The site is presently being cleared for a storm water retention pond.

The many sherds left scattered about the site show that Albany slip was the preferred glaze treatment. Jug handles were joined at and onto the necks. There was a small number of sherds that appeared to have a Bristol or whitish-gray glaze. The pottery site has the remains of at least 2 groundhog kilns visible and several waster piles.

Many of the remaining foundations of structures on the site were made from brick with the markings, “PEERLESS/AUGUSTA. The large number of unmortared single bricks scattered about the site may indicate these were made here.

Blue clay contrasted with red earthenware clay

The pottery sat on top of a vein of blue-colored clay. This clay was layed down when an ancient sea covered this area and is a kaolinite high in alumina, which is great for stoneware pottery.

While this clay by itself is somewhat short or non-plastic, it performs beautifully when blended with the buff stoneware clay veins that alternate with the blue clay at the site.

A sample of the blue clay

We have managed to procure a sizeable quantity of the clays from the site. Though Baynham’s pottery site will cease to be, collectors of their pottery can take heart as Old Canal Pottery continues the tradition of southern alkaline-glazed, wood-fired stoneware pottery using clays from the old site. The clays fire to a light gray color. Our kiln is filled and the wood is cut and stacked. We will be firing our latest work soon!