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William J Gordy

Biography to Display: 

1910 Born Aberdeen, Georgia

1993 Died Cartersville, Georgia


Self-taught, family educated


U. S. Navy

1923 Hilton Pottery, Hickory, North Carolina

1928Studio potter, Georgia Pottery, Cartersville, Georgia

1930-1932 Acworth Pottery, Acworth, Georgia

1932-1934 Kennedy Pottery Company, Wilkesboro, North Carolina

1934-1935 H. C. Cole Pottery, Smithfield, North Carolina


William Gordy is known for functional pottery produced in the Georgia tradition. He went on to move away from traditional forms and glazes. He developed a number of new glazes he used on his wood fired pottery.

He learned his first pottery skills from his father, W.T.B. Gordy and was making pots by age 14. He also learned wood firing from his father who had a large wood kiln and early in his career also wood fired his pieces. 

Gordy began working with clay from the Flint River area, then went on to learn how to develop his own blends. He used Georgia Kaolin, Ohio stoneware, Ohio red clay and Kentucky ball clay. While in Kentucky he learned glaze chemistry from Edsel Rule a visiting professor from the New York State College of Ceramics Arts at Alfred New York.

By anticipating a market for decorative utilitarian wares Gordy was able to change his approach and materials and prospered at a time when many potteries in the southeast we closing. Gordy is credited with being one of the first Georgia potters to move beyond what were considered folk art forms, common functional utilitarian styles, to more artistic pieces. His early use of colored glazes on his work set it apart from other area potters. He experimented with chrome, cobalt, tin and zirconium, silica, talc, feldspar, bentonite, copper, lime and many other chemicals to produce different colors A glaze he called “Mountain Gold” is one of his most well know developments.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Renwick Museum, Washington, DC


Bibliography to Display: 

Laub, Lindsey King. Evolution of a Potter, Conversation with Bill Gordy. Bartow County History Center, 1992.

Sweezy, Nancy. Raised in Clay: The Southern Pottery Tradition. Chapel Hill, NC: Chapel Hill Press, 1994.




Center for CraftSouthern Highland Craft Guild



Center for CraftCenter For Craft


Typical Marks
Gravy Boat
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP

Citation: Jeffrey Kuratnick. "The Marks Project." Last modified March 29, 2022.