Into Our Second Half-Century
Bennington Potters was founded in 1948 by a young potter named David Gil. David had just graduated from Alfred University, renowned for its ceramics program and considered by many to be the finest in this country. David jumped at the opportunity to purchase a small barn near downtown Bennington, Vermont, where he began what would become his life's work - designing and producing handmade stoneware pottery intended for everyday use, functional and affordable art for discerning individuals. So began the tradition of Bennington Potters.
The early years were lean and cold. The barn studio was unheated, and the demand for handcrafted goods wasn't even a glimmer of what it is today. Despite these and other hardships, David made the commitment to the life of a craftsman, knowing it was the only life he could lead - a courageous and unusual choice in post-war years. While many of his peers gravitated toward the comfort and security of university teaching positions, and others, without the need to earn a real income chose to create esoteric art pottery, David remained focused, striving to produce beautiful objects for everyday use, objects that wed the artist's eye and the craftsman's hand. Not surprisingly, many of the pieces made in those first couple decades are actively sought by collectors today, a tribute to David's early vision and commitment.
In time, history smiled on Bennington Potters. During the late '60s and early '70s, when interest in handcrafts exploded, Bennington Potters grew with it. David took on more apprentices and relocated the studio to our current facilities at Potter's Yard, a 4-1/2 acre site with two historic buildings. Over the years, as demand continued to grow, additions to the studio space were built, a retail shop was opened, and then another, and a catalog was launched. Responding to our customers' requests, we've expanded our range of offerings, both in the retail stores and in our catalog, and now included are complimentary lines of glassware, table linens, and furniture. More recently, the grounds around the studio and original retail shop have been beautifully landscaped.
Bennington Potters is now considered a destination by both craft-pottery collectors and those who appreciate the warmth of country home decor. Visiting the retail shop at Potter's Yard is an experience enjoyed by thousands each year - folks who appreciate the way beautiful, well-formed objects can enhance the pleasure of a meal and contribute in some small way to the quality of their lives.
Well into our sixth decade now, Bennington Potters has come a long way from that unheated barn studio and we've maintained the values that took us there in the first place - the commitment to producing objects that, as the great English ceramist, Bernard Leach, put it, "have a genuine heartbeat." These objects, whose forms feel so perfectly suited to the human hand, and whose visual lines both spring from and touch the human heart, are, and will continue to be, the essence of Bennington Potters.
Many of our stoneware pottery bakeware, dinnerware, serving pieces and country decor items are still handmade here in Vermont in what is now the country's largest on-going craft pottery. Our Potters have over 20 years experience at their craft. Secret clay recipes, custom shapes, exclusive splatterware hand-glazing techniques, are all used to produce pottery that is oven, microwave, dishwasher and food safe. We pride ourselves on producing dinnerware, bakeware, mugs, and serving pieces, which involve a level of hand-craftmanship and design features that few other potteries in the world are doing. No two pieces are exactly alike, and it is this quality that has turned functional pottery into home decor accessories that our discerning customers travel from around the country to collect.
Every company has something that they can call their own, and our stoneware mugs, especially our Best-Selling Trigger Mugs, have become the hallmark of Bennington Potters. Offered in a variety of shapes, sizes, and custom pottery glazes, you'll find yourself wanting to collect them all. Well, we've got great news - you can! One of the charactistics that makes our pottery special is that you don't have to purchase an entire collection all at once. Instead, you can build a collecton over time. Our company and our stoneware products have been around since 1948 and will continue to be available for a long time to come.
Come visit us soon!