Welcome to Darrell Adams Pottery

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Darrell's Bio

I developed my interest in pottery through my grandfather, Bill Gordy, and great uncle, D.X. Gordy. Both were life long potters and pioneers in the transition from utilitarian pottery production to modern studio pottery in Georgia. I grew up in Gainesville, Florida and every year my family would visit relatives in Georgia. My grandfather’s shop was a fun place for kids, with treadle wheels and the sweet smell of clay. He always seemed happy, whistling and turning pots by the thousands. I went to the University of Georgia to study art and decided to concentrate in ceramics. My grandfather told me that being a potter was mostly hard work and long hours, very challenging and deeply satisfying. I was fired up. My great uncle D.X. encouraged me with his opinion that clay was the perfect medium. Not only can you make beautiful, functional pottery with it, but you can also sculpt with it or paint on it. Between the study of mineralogy, glaze composition, and fire, it is not something you get bored with. And while it can be challenging to make a good living, it is a great way to live.


At the University of Georgia, I was exposed to the broader spectrum of pottery, loose and tight, where to fit in, my first exposure to the wide range of expression possible with pottery. When I finished my BFA in 1985, I moved to Cartersville, Georgia to live and work with my grandfather. At the age of 75, he was still in full production, even if he had slowed a little bit. I worked in his shop for one and a half years, learning more about throwing technique, glaze application, and all aspects of making a living as a potter. In 1986, I set up my first studio near by and set about trying to figure out my pots. I was fortunate to have eight years to study with my grandfather and when he died in 1993, I moved into his shop. During my first few year of making pots, my main focus was on looking at the similarities and differences in the pots of my grandfather and my great uncle. I loved the simple, clean lines of their pots and the strong, simple handles and lids. These seemed very connected to the churns, pitchers, and jugs of the folk potter, but with a refinement of the forms. I didn’t feel any pressure to learn to make a “Gordy” but there was so much I admired about their work, it seemed this was a good foundation to build on. For over 25 years, I have been exploring variations of my granddad’s and D.X.’s glaze formulas. There are many wonderful glaze formulas available to the potter today, but I think having something with a tradition is unique. I was very inspired by my great uncle’s landscapes and have developed my own approach to drawing and painting on pottery.


In 1998, I built my first successful wood burning kiln and wood firing has been my primary focus since. With the birth of my daughter in 2006, my wife, Kelly, and I decided to return to our hometown of Gainesville, Florida. My parents, Dwight and Joan Adams, and Kelly’s parents, Larry and Gloria Moore, still live in Gainesville and I know the value of being close to one’s grandparents. We built a cypress log house and pottery shop under gorgeous live oaks on the Kanapaha Prairie. My new wood burning kiln fires like a dream.


All of my pots are made on the potter’s wheel of which I have a few. It is a pleasure to work each day on either my grandfather’s 1935 treadle wheel or my great grandfather’s 1907 treadle wheel. The Cadillac though is D.X.’s electric wheel. They all go around like any other wheel, but I can’t help enjoying the feeling of connection to my ancestors. D.X. liked to joke that the only reason we use a potter’s wheel is because we are not fast enough to run around it. I also still use my uncle’s homemade ball mill and many of my glazes use rocks and minerals that D.X. introduced to me while prospecting.

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