The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius

Ballet for Martha
by Jan Greenberg & Sandra Jordan
Roaring Brook Press
A Neal Porter Book

ISBN: 978-1-59643-810-1
Hardcover picture book, 56 pages
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The Mad Potter is a recipient of the following awards and distinctions:

Robert F. Sibert Award - Honor

ALSC Notable Children's Books

Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens List

2014 NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommended Title

Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Master List

Kansas William Allen White Award Master List

CCBC Choice (University. of Wisconsin)

Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year

School, Library Journal, Best Books of the Year 2014

Booklist, Editor’s Choice 2014

Even as a boy, George Ohr was no stranger to trouble.

“I had a big load to haul and survived many catastrophes, besides getting all the lickings of the family ... everything that was ever done wrong ... or if it did not rain, or rained too much, or the clock wouldn’t tick, or someone’s horse ran away, and 1,000 other things ...”

Born in 1857 in Biloxi, on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, he was known as the family bad boy, a show off, and a rascal, roles he embraced throughout his life. However there was more to George than the flamboyant showman whose small Biloxi pottery was the place where tourists gathered to watch him turn Mississippi mud into pots. Confidant of his skill and artistry, even when others disagreed, George posted signs all over town “Unequaled, unrivaled, undisputed, greatest art potter on the earth.”

It took the world many decades to catch up with his vision.

Ohr Pottery

In 1968, an antiques dealer from New Jersey, accepted an invitation “to look at our Daddy’s pots,” and discovered over 5,000 of Ohr’s artworks piled in crates in a dusty, run-down shed in Biloxi.

He realized this was an unknown treasure trove of innovative, and imaginative objects. Who was this George E. Ohr? What led him to create the twisty, intriguing, unique ceramics that set them apart from his contemporaries? Why did his memory, as well as his artworks, remain in obscurity for so many years?

Illustrated with evocative historical photographs and over fifty color reproductions of his ceramics, The Mad Potter tells the extraordinary story of an artist who was determined to make his mark and to create a new form in clay with his “no two alike” pots. The inspiring story of an eccentric American maverick, who never stopped believing that even the unlikeliest dreams can come true.


Learn more about George E. Ohr at the OHR-O'Keefe Museum of Art website.