Brenda Hornsby Heindl

Liberty Stoneware

I have been making pottery for nearly ten years, which includes time spent in the Ceramics Apprenticeship Program at Berea College in Kentucky, and my pottery business began in 2010. In the summer of 2012, I became a co-owner of a farm where I had the chance to put down some clay roots, and I built a wood-firing kiln. Using this wood-firing kiln, I use a method of single firing, which avoids bisque firing and involves glazing pottery when still damp and firing the pottery raw. The decision to use this traditional method has given me the chance to experiment with glazes made from local clay, ash glazes, and natural clay glazes. My pottery is made with North Carolina stoneware clay and is salt glazed. My passions for pottery and history meld on the pottery wheel. My work is heavily influenced by studies of historic ceramics, kilns, and archaeology, and includes painting cobalt blue decorations based primarily on Southern American stoneware. I focus on utilitarian pottery forms and enjoy the supple and subtle surfaces created by salt in a wood-firing atmosphere. The farm inspires me to make compost crocks, pickling crocks, and fermenting jars as an extension of my interest in lactic fermentation, pickling, traditional cooking, and living a sustainable lifestyle.

Artist Bio

Brenda Hornsby Heindl is a potter, independent scholar, and guide with the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. From Liberty, North Carolina, she is a graduate of Berea College and the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, Brenda studies historic ceramics, kitchens and culinary practices, and traditional preservation methods. Brenda built her first wood-firing pottery kiln in 2012 and her studio, Liberty Stoneware, is an outlet for production pottery and using experimental archaeology to understand historic kilns and pottery forms. She recently published on a research grant provided by the American Ceramic Circle in order to study thirty different pre-1850 American salt-glazed and alkaline-glazed stoneware kiln sites.