We took a trip to Bennington today for provisions for the Inn and took a much-anticipated side trip to Bennington Potters. We stopped off in the store first and fell in love with the place. The ladies in the store were so helpful and accommodating.
After picking out some items for the inn, they encouraged us to visit the factory behind the shop and meet with Terry. Terry has been around there for a long time and knows so much of the history of the building (an old grist mill and depot) and the workings of the pottery factory.
Terry gave us a tour of the entire factory that took over 30 minutes. He told us about the late David Gil founder of Bennington Potters. David Gil’s ceramics are amazing and can be found in museums throughout the world. The business has continued since his death at 79 in 2002. Check him out on Google – quite an amazing story.
Terry explained the clay making process – all the ceramics are made of a special clay formulated by David Gil. He showed us the press process and the molding process. He asked us if we could smell any chemicals in the factory – we couldn’t because there are no chemicals in the process of glazing – all natural products are used.
Terry brought us to the kiln where the ceramics are dried – a 20 foot long multi-level truck of various clay pieces gets pulled into and out of the kiln by cable. It takes hours to dry the pieces and harden them for use. Spoiler alert – the pieces come out at about 75% of the size that went in.
The best day to see the factory is, I believe, Sunday when Terry is there. The shop is quite and there is a certain reverence that you can feel in the quiet. Tours are available during the week as well and the employees will show you around and explain the processes, too.
The logo which can be seen above the factory entrance looks like a fork –no spoiler alert required here – it is not. But I will let Terry tell about it you when you get there.
After the tour of the factory, we returned to the store and of course bought some more ceramics. Be forewarned, when you visit you will be more than tempted to go away with bags full of ceramics.