Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks. ~ Dr. Seuss

The Mad Potter

line The Mad Potter
by Han Greenberg & Sandra Jordan (Authors)

 Geroge E Ohr, Eccentric Genius

George E Ohr was a 19th century American potter. He was largely unknown until years after his death, in 1967, a treasure trove of his work was discovered. “The Mad Potter” is a chapter book, picture book, biography.

“The Mad Potter “opens with a full page picture of George standing on his head. The next page talks about how Jim Carpenter, an antiques dealer, stumbles upon a large collection of George E Ohr’s pottery, among them his unique “Mud Babies”. George would often proclaim that “his pots were worth their weight in gold”. And although in his lifetime, almost no one wanted them; almost 50 years after his death, his words seemed to come true.

The Mad Potter Inside2

What was genius about George E Ohr’s pottery? Why are his pieces unique and museum worthy? The authors tell a tale of George’s journey into the world of pottery and art. They describe him as being the “black sheep” of the family who much later in his life finds his true calling.. his vocation. In Geroge’s words “When I found the potter’s wheel I felt it all over like a duck in water”.

Soon after, George starts creating and churning out pots, pans, pitchers, kettles, vases, bowls, teapots and many, many different pieces of earthenware. His pieces are dazzling and colorful as he experiments techniques of mixing and molding. His pieces are creative and puzzling because he uses his imagination and frenzied creativity. His pieces are unique and contrary, just like his own persona. George loved to put on a show. He loved to entertain and self-promote. A lot of his own self can be seen in his work.

The Mad Potter ArtObjects Tiled

Despite all his showmanship, George simply wasn’t successful at selling his art. People would come to see his show and laugh and talk. But they always left empty handed.

The Mad Potter Portrait

This picture book non-fiction is a wonderful account of his life and work. Through photographs of George and photos of his pottery, this book showcases his genius. The authors present this fascinating biography of Geroge Ohr through colorful photos of the art coupled with vintage sepia toned photos of the artist himself.

Towards the end of the book are two notes. The “Ohr-O’Keefe Museuem” note details the construction of the museum and how it was built to capture the unique and quirky nature of the art within. But my favorite part was the “How to look at a Pot” note where the authors do a super job of explaining how sensory words such as color, texture, form, lines can be used to capture the essence of the piece.

The Mad Potter Museum

A highly informative, engaging and certainly unique biography of Geroge E Ohr, “The Mad Potter”.

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


  1. I love the mad potter! He looks like a fun guy!

    • reshamad

      He was a showman! Would have been fun to see him in real life

  2. Creatively mad! Never heard of him. Thanks for sharing on Kid Lit Blog Hop!

    • reshamad

      I hadn’t either !! So this was a surprisingly good read

  3. Sounds like a wonderful book! I’ve never heard of him, but I definitely need to learn more about him. Thanks for sharing on the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

  4. How awesome and tragic. So many artists leave the world without knowing their great contribution. Thanks for a truly fascinating book and for hosting the Kid Lit Blog Hop

  5. This is a great book. So much fun! I volunteered as an art teacher when my kids were in elementary school and we always used books to enhance learning. I am definitely going to have to recommend this to those who still volunteer to teach at the school. Thank you for sharing this book on the hop.

  6. ccarpinello

    Love his picture! I’ve always been fascinated with pottery spinning. His pieces are amazing.

  7. Some really amazing work! Thanks for introducing the ‘mad potter.’ What a cool way to talk about art and inspiration. Thanks, as always, for hosting the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

  8. Marjorie

    What a fascinating story – he sounds a real character! And some of his pieces look so contemporary. #kidlitbloghop

  9. Such an informative post. I want to see his works in person now!


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