About Tom Jones
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Tom grew up in Fairhope, Alabama and became interested in pottery in high school. He studied under master potter Edith Harwell well know for her work at her studio "Pinewood Pottery" also located in Fairhope. After graduating high school he was offered a scholarship from Mississippi College in Clinton, MS where he attended for 2 years. He was the first freshman to be allowed to take pottery in the first year. Lewis Walsh was the pottery instructor and encouraged Tom to pursue his dream of being a full time potter.
In 1976, Tom helped Ralph Jennings start A & D Pottery on the site of the current pottery. In 1979 due to hurricane Fredrick the A & D Pottery closed so in January 1980 Tom and his wife Pam opened Tom Jones Pottery shop at THE MARKET PLACE in Daphne, Alabama. The ware was manufactured from their home & the studio at Clay City but sold in the Daphne store.
The Daphne store closed in 1985. All the displays & ware were moved back to the Clay City shop. 1992 brought the opening of another retail venture in New Orleans in the French Quarter. This shop was open for 2 1/2 years before closing. Later that year, 1994, another retail shop was opened on the grounds of the Grand Hotel in Point Clear. This shop was open off and on for 4 years closing in 1998.
After years of having multiple shops in assorted locations, selling to shops and galleries throughout the region, Tom's pottery is now exclusively available at the pottery in Clay City.
Liz Philbrick joined the team in early 2020. She is an extremely talented artist who works with several mediums. We have several of her paintings on display here at the shop. She is also a pineneedle basket maker, a rug hooker & a teacher. Liz is involved making decorative crosses along with platters, whimsical animal forms and a large selection of ware.
Tom Jones Pottery is located off Baldwin County Highway 33, in an area known as Clay City, which is appropriately named for its rich clay deposits and long time manufacturing of brick and tile. The first Clay City pottery, the Gable Pottery, was located on the banks of Fish River around 1850. After being flooded several times plus the increased popularity of glass and tin cans, that pottery was closed around 1900.
In 1940 the current pottery building was located further from the river, yet close enough to receive coal shipments brought up river on barges. The coal fed Beehive Kiln remains intact on the property but is no longer used.
Some of Tom's handmade products are created from the same clays that were used in the earlier pottery endeavors, but now the pottery is fired in a kiln fueled by natural gas to a temperature of 2400 degrees. All of the ware is lead free, most is oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe.