Mixing Light with Clay: Photographs from the Gladding, McBean Pottery

The Gladding, McBean & Co. factory, in the Placer County town of Lincoln, has operated continuously since 1875. Starting as a clay pipe manufacturer, “the pottery” soon expanded its product line and by the end of the 19th century was producing the architectural terra cotta that continues to ornament buildings in major cities across the U.S. and beyond. From 1987 to 2011, Gladding, McBean was the site of Feats of Clay, an annual ceramics exhibition that introduced thousands of visitors to the factory. Between 1996 and 2011, in workshops organized by Gene Kennedy, nearly 300 photographers explored, documented, and interpreted Gladding, McBean, a working factory as well as an icon of California’s industrial heritage. This juried exhibit celebrates that extraordinary opportunity and the photographic legacy it has given us.

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