Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Artist or scallywag?
Title: The mad potter: George E. Ohr, eccentric genius
By: Jan Greenberg
"For most of his adult life, folks called George Ohr a scallywag, a rascal, a braggart, a clown. He called himself a genius, an artist, an outsider, a mud dauber, the mad potter."
Lively quotes from George Ohr and lots of color photos of his ceramic works make this book fun to read for children and adults. His work ranged from whimsical (see p. 19 or 38) to sophisticated (see p. 20-21), and he prided himself on making each piece unique. The authors describe George Ohr’s hardworking and unconventional life with a humorous touch and interesting anecdotes. Ohr persisted in his pottery dreams for more than 30 years, even though his artwork was largely unappreciated at the time. His pottery did become a key tourist attraction in Biloxi, Mississippi; he used to do demonstrations blindfolded, reshaping the jug on his wheel through several transformations by feel alone. He retired in 1910, and his work was not rediscovered until the late 1960s, when it finally found an audience that could appreciate his experiments with form and color. A new museum in Biloxi dedicated in part to his work was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and has been reconstructed, a tribute to Ohr’s own tenacity under adversity.