Jim McKinnon - Pottery

I first started working with clay as the Visual Art Coordinator for the Carroll County School System in the early 1970’s.  Originally a Drawing and Painting major with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Art Teacher Certification from the University of Georgia, I switched to ceramics while working on a Masters in Visual Arts from Georgia State University.  Over the course of 31 years of introducing pottery making to the children of Carroll County I developed a love for the beauty of the native red clay of Georgia.  I retired from teaching in 1999 after 33 years and began devoting more time to my work in clay.

 The clay used in my work is native Georgia clays from Lizella, Georgia and most recently  from ancient clay deposits used by Native Americans along the Little Tallapoosa River in Northern Carroll County, Georgia.  I attempt to show off the natural beauty of this clay by leaving much of the outer surfaces unglazed.  Fossil like impressions of found objects from nature are impressed into the clay surface while still soft to create a decorative and textural pattern.  Objects such as local leaves, various sea shells and shark’s teeth collected from the Georgia and Florida coasts can be found as part of these decorative textural designs.  Through a process of hand burnishing, several times ( using a polished cold water agate from Mississippi ), the clay piece is given a satiny surface. Textures are brought out with a dark stain after the bisque firing.  The pieces are then glazed and fired a second time.  Finally, a coat of paste wax is applied to the outer surface and buffed to enhance the satiny appearance of the burnished natural clay surface. The earthen ware glazes come from personally formulated recipes and specialized firing techniques 


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