Cartersville Antique Gallery owner’s collection featured in pottery exhibit

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Currently on display, the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia’s “Family Tradition” exhibit primarily features pieces from Cartersville resident Robert Adams’ W.J. “Bill” Gordy pottery collection.“The Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia opened in September 2006, and tells the story of folk potters in northeast Georgia,” said Chris Brooks, director of the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia. “Folk potters are family trained or they apprentice with a folk potter, but the craft is handed down person to person. You can’t study it in school, be self-taught or learn it from books.“Bill Gordy was born into a folk pottery family and worked most of his career in Cartersville, in northwest Georgia. Visitors to our museum often ask about Gordy pottery because it is so well known. In our nearly 10 years of operation, we have met a number of collectors of Mr. Gordy’s work. This led us to plan a temporary exhibit featuring his work. I had a tip from a collector about Robert Adams’ collection and we began to discuss the possibility of an exhibit. Robert attended our 2014 Folk Pottery Show and Sale and brought a few Gordy pieces to show visitors. From that point on, we communicated with email and photos to plan the exhibit. We met with Robert in Cartersville, and he had selected a fine representative sample of Gordy pieces from his collection. So 42 pieces of Mr. Adams collection make up the exhibit with two or three from local Sautee-Nacoochee collectors as well.”Unveiled on Jan. 15, the Gordy exhibit will be on display through the end of December. Located at 283 Highway 255 N. in Sautee Nacoochee, the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.“The exhibit is [titled] ‘Family Tradition’ and links Bill Gordy’s work back to his folk pottery roots,” Brooks said. “Folklorists would consider Bill a transitional potter who moved on to different forms and glazes from the mostly utilitarian wares of his middle Georgia training. During the Great Depression, many Southern potters moved into art pottery, gardenware or functional ware in order to survive. In 1935, Bill set up Georgia Art Pottery in Cartersville after working for a time in North Carolina. Located on the old Dixie Highway, he had the opportunity to attract travelers going back and forth to Florida, and was able to establish a following.“The exhibit shows a nice range of Mr. Gordy’s ware types and glazes. One of my favorite pieces is a 4-gallon Albany slip glazed churn that comes directly from the folk tradition, but is stamped ‘GA ART POTTERY.’”Adams, who opened Cartersville Antique Gallery in 2003, has acquired an impressive collection of Gordy’s work since 2002.“My family has a long-standing history in the antique business in Bartow County,” Adams said. “In 1998, I began pursuing a side business in antiques as well. My focus within the field of antiques developed quickly into early period American antique furniture and primarily Southern furniture. However, customers began asking if I had any pottery by Mr. Gordy. I was certainly aware of his pottery, but at that time I knew relatively little about pottery.“In 2002, I purchased my first pieces by Mr. Gordy. It was a grouping of about 10 pieces, and I remember how wonderful the pottery felt in my hand and its superior quality of craftsmanship. The items sold quickly, so I began avidly looking for other pieces of Mr. Gordy for sale. In this business, I have become more of a collector than dealer. So, even though Mr. Gordy’s pottery sold well — and in fact is still my best seller today, I began to love his work and it is now on an equal level with my passion of Southern antiques.”He continued, “Through the years, I have been fortunate to purchase several large collections of Mr. Gordy’s pottery. I have often discussed with customers that I continue to be amazed by new pieces that I discover in terms of their glazes, forms and artistic detail. Today, I have around a thousand pieces between my personal collection and the large assortment of pieces available at the Cartersville Antique Gallery.”For more information about the “Family Tradition” exhibit, call the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia at 706-878-3300 or visit its website, http://www.snca.org/folkpotteryWebsite/fpm/home.php. Further details regarding Cartersville Antique Gallery — 9 E. Main St. — can be obtained by calling 770-607-8040 or visiting http://cartersvilleantiquegallery.com.