The unique characteristics of salt glazing were discovered in the Rhineland in Germany during the 14th century. The salt reacts and forms a shiny glazed surface without an additional glaze to accomplish it. The German stoneware was also characterized by the use of a cobalt oxide based colorant for decoration. This process and type of stoneware made it's way to the Genesee region with the completion of the Erie Canal.
The stoneware in the Northern United States is very distinctive as it bears close resemblance to the German stoneware that it is descended from. The pottery in the Genesee region is further distinctive as it tends to have more intricate designs than in other regions. Often, when making many of the same items, the design was used as a way to set yourself and your work apart from your competitor.
Mark makes traditional salt glazed stoneware in the village pottery and decorates it with a typical 2 dimensional design that would have been popular in the 19th century. He creates pieces for use in the village and also for sale in our gift shop. He has recently designed a new growler and beer mug to commemorate our new 1803 Fat Ox Ale.
We also have a documentary featuring Mark which details the process of making stoneware in the 19th century as well as about the life of the potter, entitled, "The Potter's Fire."
Here is a short clip to enjoy!