A Visit to Dryden Pottery

Dryden Pottery. Photo by Z. Clift

 

Dryden Pottery in Hot Springs houses the largest showroom of handmade
pottery in the state and is known for colorful handmade pieces such as plates, bowls, cups and vases. Materials used for the pottery include Ouachita Mountain clays and Arkansas quartz crystal.

Inside Dryden Pottery. Photo by Z Clift

Dryden’s is a four-generation family business. It was founded in Kansas by Alan James Dryden in 1946. Ten years later he relocated

the business to Hot Springs. Dryden’s son, James (“Kimbo”), learned wheel-made
pottery and is at the helm of the operation today. Kimbo’s sons are all potters too including Cheyenne, who was at the shop the day I visited. His wife Kelly also works at the store and is a potter too. And their kids are learning the art form too. “My kids have been on the wheel since they could stand,” said Kelly.  The day I stopped by, Kimbo was in the back throwing and Kelly said when people visit the shop if he is back there they can watch him at the wheel.  Cheyenne does a lot of the glazing and showed me to the back of the shop where this work is done.

Kimbo Dryden at work. Photo by Z. Clift

 

Cheyenne Dryden. Photo by Z. Clift

“My grandfather started it [the business] in ‘46 but we started in Kansas and we moved over here,” said Cheyenne. “We get people who come in maybe they have heard about us and maybe they haven’t.” Regardless of how a person comes to find themselves at the shop ( the colorful mural that wraps around the outside of the shop enticed me to stop in that day), the Drydens are happy to share their knowledge of the business and the art form.

Cheyenne said they also give some classes on the weekends
for people interested in learning about the craft. He said learning to throw takes some time though. “People come in every day and they want to throw on the wheel,” he said. “They always want to go right to that.” If you want to visit Dryden Pottery sometime, the shop is located at 341 Whittington Avenue. They can be reached at 501-623-4201.
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Posted in Arkansas Ouachitas, Crafts, Antiques, and Flea Markets

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