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Edgerton pottery history subject of Madison talk

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Stacy Vogel
April 5, 2008
— There’s no question Edgerton has artistic roots.

The city boasts a new library and performing arts center and hosts a yearly book and film festival to honor its most famous author, Sterling North.


But one part of Edgerton’s artistic heritage might get overlooked: its history as a center for quality pottery.


“A lot of folks just didn’t know how much pottery that now commands quite a bit of money on the market was made right here in downtown Edgerton,” said Tom Livick, president of the Arts Council of Edgerton.


Ori-Anne Pagel certainly hasn’t forgotten. The former Edgerton antiques dealer has become something of an expert on Edgerton pottery, especially the work of Pauline Jacobus.


Pagel is giving a talk about Pauline Pottery for the Wisconsin Pottery Association in Madison on Tuesday.


Jacobus started Pauline Pottery in Chicago in 1883, but she moved to Edgerton five years later because of the area’s fine yellow clay, Pagel said.


“Her pottery was very beautiful, and because of that it sold at Tiffany’s in New York; it sold at Marshall Field’s,” Pagel said.


Jacobus participated in every step of her projects, from gathering the clay to painting, creating delicate, well-made projects, Pagel said.


She hired employees who often went on to start their own pottery companies. For example, one of her salesman started Pickard China, which creates the china used by the U.S. president today.


The Arts Council of Edgerton keeps a display of Pauline Pottery and other Edgerton-made pottery at the Edgerton Depot, 20 S. Main St. The depot also sells two books about Pauline Pottery, Livick said.


Unfortunately, Edgerton’s importance in the pottery world appears to be confined to history; most of the pottery shops in the city are long gone, Livick said.


But he hopes the city remembers its place in art history, he said.


IF YOU GO
What: A presentation about Pauline Pottery at the Wisconsin Pottery Association monthly meeting
When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Lussier Family Heritage Center, 3101 Lake Farm Road, Madison
More info: Visit www.wisconsinpottery.org

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