TOP: A portion of stationary. ABOVE: Ray & Pauline Cash in front of the pottery in Erwin, TN.
Ray and Pauline Cash opened the Clinchfield Artware Pottery in 1945 in Erwin, Tennessee. Ray had worked for the Blue Ridge Southern Potteries Inc. in Erwin in the packing shed. He learned much about the operations of the pottry while there. He later purchased pottery from the Southern Potteries and delivered it by the truck load to large stores like Park-Belk and others in the southeast United States. Ray was drafted and served during World War II. Pauline worked at the nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, TN during the war.
After the war, Ray returned home to Erwin and the Cashes had visions of a new career. "It was always his dream to have his own pottery, " Pauline Cash reflected. They moved back to Erwin, Tennessee and built a 12' x 14' building behind their home where they produced their first wares. The first items that the new pottery sold was white ware. The white ware was obtained by the truckload from several of the Ohio River potteries. Ray and Pauline drove to Ohio and bought it. Their initial goal was to paint these pieces with iridescent and pearlescent colors. Most were not marked in the early years. Mrs. Cash said, "I couldn't paint at all...we just brushed the finishing paints on them and sold them like they were. We needed to raise some money with which to get started.
Allied Kiln in which most of the early Clinchfield Artware Pottery items were fired in.
And get started they did! In 1945, Ray and Pauline Cash had made enough money from the sale of the white ware to be able to buy a kiln and opened the Clinchfield Artware Pottery. This was the first name used by the Cash Family Pottery. Many collectors adn dealers, likewise, have been confused by the first name of the pottery because the name is so similar to another pottery located in the same town. Blue Ridge Southern Potteries opened under the name Clinchfield China, SPI. The most important way for collectors to distinguish between the two potteries is that if the word "artware" is used after the Clinchfield name, it is Cash Family Pottery. The name was not changed to Cash Family Pottery until the mid 1950's at the urging of many friends and family members. It was a family owned and operted pottery.
ABOVE: A page of jobber marks used by the Clinchfield Artware/Cash Family Pottery.
Many other jobber marks were used. Refer to the newest Burnette reference guide.
When Ray and Pauline opened their pottery, they were able to start making their own molds and mixing their own clay. Before they purchased their first kiln, they utilized whatever resources they had available in producing pottery. "We dried our first mold in my kitchen oven and mixed the first batch of mud on my back porch in an old wringer washing machine," she reflected. Ray made many of their early molds himself. Later they hired mold makers from the area to assist in this endeavor. In 1957, Blue Ridge Southern Potteries, Inc. of Erwin, TN closed. The Cash Family Pottery bought all of the casings and some of the molds that Southern Potteries had for $200. A casing is used to make a mold. This greatly increased the potential of items to be made by the pottery. Pauline Cash estimated that over 1,000 different molds were used by her pottery over the years.
Thelma Garland, age 30, hand painting a Rolling Pin planter at the Cash Family Pottery.
Artist Bonnie Boone hand painting a large wash pitcher. She was a Blue Ridge and Clouse artist as well as Cash Family Pottery artist. Her work is very distinctive.
Ray and Pauline particularly liked hand painted pottery, as was the Erwin area tradition. She hired ladies from the area to decorate their pottery. Most were experienced painters from other potteries in the area and some had to be taught to paint the patterns. Most were trained at the Blue Ridge Southern Potteries while two had worked at the Clouse Pottery and one for the Erwin Pottery. There was not a large variety of patterns used by the Cash Family Pottery in comparison to the Blue Ridge pottery, yet the number of the variety of mold shapes far exceeded that of the Blue Ridge Pottery. While their were not a large number of patterns, the same patterns were painted in so many different colors and variations which present most beautifully.
A close-up view of Bittersweet pattern done in cobalt blue by artist Thelma Garland.
Many items were made for floral use and purchased by florists around the country. The majority of these pieces were not painted at all, yet were glazed for floral use. The florist felt that the hand decorated patterns took away from the beauty of the floral arrangments.
The late 1960's showed tremendous demand for the Cash Family Potteries products. This necessitated the need for more staff and a larger kiln. The cashes decided on a large kiln as they could turn out more product more rapidly. When the pottery was in full produciton, the kiln was rolled away from a newly fired batch of pottery and rolled over a second stack of glazed pottery awaiting firing, starting the
process over again.
The kiln behind Mrs. Cash had just been rolled away on tracks in the floor with kiln shelving full of newly glazed and fired pottery. The kiln was rolled over kiln shelving of glazed pottery awaiting final firing.
In order for the growing pottery to be able to afford the new kiln, the Cash Family Pottry had to incorporate and go public to receive a loan for the necessary funds. Interestingly enough, the Cashes incorporated under the name, Clinchfield Artware, the name they had started trading under some 25 years earlier. The Articles of Incorportion revealed that the Clinchfield Artware Pottery were able to issue up to 1000 shares of stock. They were divided out amongst the family in three certificates.
A sample stock certificate of the Clinchfield Artware Pottery. A rare piece of history!
The Clinchfield Artware/Cash Family Pottery would down production in the early to mid 1980's with the death of Ray Cash and illness of Pauline Cash after she had a stroke. The pottery facility was leased twice and run under the supervision of Pauline Cash, as a consultant. Ms. Linda Sikorski manufactured her own style of pottery in 1988, for about a year. She used Cash molds and employeed some new ones as well. Cash artists such as Mildred Edwards and Bonnie Boone worked for her. Ms. Sikorski wanted bows to be painted on her items. One sample of dinnerware that Linda Sikorski used had bows embossed, or raised on the surface of the plates. She was killed in a private plane carash in 2005. She used several at least one of the Cash Family Pottery jobber marks and one of her own bearing her signature.
Photo of Linda Sikorski, taken from newspaper article, placing a handle on a cup.
Jobber mark of LInda Sikorski often found on her plates.
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