1998 was an epic year!
I established the Jones Pottery with my wife Christine in January of 1998 when we purchased an old farm house on ten acres in Leicester's Big Sandy Mush valley. Our first year was a whirlwind of activity; ten hour days were the norm for weeks at a time.
With the help of a seasoned carpenter, my cousin Frank Middleton (Frank is now the owner/operator of Middleton Boatworks in Charleston, SC), I was able to get the kiln shed up and the pottery workshop framed, sided and roofed in about three months time.
The kiln itself took most of the summer to complete with potter friends Daniel Johnston, Nate Evans and Hallie Hite coming up from Pittsboro for a couple of work weekends. Many thanks to them and perhaps especially to my brother Michael Jones, who came and worked for several weeks on the kiln's arch. Thanks also go to Mark Johnson, a student from ETSU who was very generous with his weekends when it was time to finish the chimney.
At the end of the summer, I mixed clay, stacked wood and began making pots for the first Jones Pottery Kiln Opening, held December 12th, 1998. A big thank you to all those who came out to see us!
below left: Mark Johnson and Frank Middleton stoke the firebox
below right: Hey Look, Hewitt is wearing blue denim dungarees!
Brother Michael Jones side stoking:
Daniel Johnston's expression and body language sum up my feelings about the first firing. It was a tough grind and a difficult way to end a year of hard labor. The results of that first kiln load weren't great, but they certainly gave me a starting point and plenty of room for improvement. I am so thankful to all the people who helped me along the way.