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Saturday, July 20,

Edgerton Pottery & Art Festival


What is the Edgerton Pottery & Art Festival?

The Edgerton Pottery & Art Festival is a celebration of Edgerton’s relationship with clay. It features hands-on experiences with clay. Hand building, wheel throwing, and even clay stomping can be part of the festival-goer’s experience. The history of clay in Edgerton is highlighted with displays and presentations. Artists are invited to display and sell their wares.

The Edgerton Pottery & Art Festival is held at Racetrack Park in Edgerton on the third Saturday in July from 9:00am to 4:00pm.



Origin of the Festival

Edgerton’s clay and pottery heritage dates back to 1853. That history was reimagined with the dedication of our City Hall Pottery Plaza in 2015. On that date, three of my former pottery students came out of retirement after some 20 years. Then and since we have sourced and used the same clay from locations on and near the 1800’s brickyards and pottery companies. 2023 marks our 8th Annual Pottery & Art Festival. The use of Edgerton’s natural resource is an homage to our heritage.

~Fred Maves, 4/2/2023



Brief History of Clay in Edgerton

Doctor Charles Rollin Head came to the area in 1848 as Wisconsin gained its statehood. He purchased land in what is now Fulton Township where he discovered considerable deposits of clay and began a brick-making operation in 1852. The bricks can be seen in many local buildings today such as former tobacco warehouses, residences, and the Albion Academy. In 1853, the railroad came through and the village of Edgerton was platted. The plat notes Dr. Head’s brickyard between the present-day location of Albion and Mechanic Streets and lying north of Fulton Street to Rollin Street. The brickyard changed hands several times in subsequent years and produced as many as five million bricks annually through 1915.

In 1888, Oscar and Pauline Jacobus of Chicago visited Edgerton after hearing of the quality of Edgerton’s clay deposits. They had been making fine hand-painted items known as Pauline Pottery that were very popular. The pieces they produced sold at Tiffany’s in New York and Marshall Field’s in Chicago. The couple decided to move their pottery business to Edgerton and built kilns and a factory to produce porous cups used for electric batteries (Oscar’s business) and Pauline’s art pottery.

Within a year, the Jacobuses had hired a Wisconsin native Wilder Austin Pickard to be a salesman and promoter of Pauline Pottery. Before long, Pickard had married, moved to Chicago, and opened the Pickard China Studio with great success and reknown. He continued to use the services of Mae Johnson who operated an art studio in the Taylor House in Edgerton from which she employed several china painters. Hers was the first decorating studio for Pickard China.

Some employees of the Pauline Pottery began their own ceramic enterprises. Thorvald and Hans Samson, along with Louis Ipson, started the American Art Clay Works (later called Edgerton Art Clay Works) making figurines and statuary, some of which were displayed at the World Exposition of 1893 in Chicago.


Adapted from Edgerton’s History in Clay by Maurice Montgomery


Interested in becoming a vendor at the  Edgerton Pottery and Art Festival?

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