Onwards and Upwards! That’s what David Gil, the founder of Bennington Potters used to tell the members of his company. Bennington’s potters are still constantly improving, innovating, and attending to every detail to meet the demands of the changing world. Bennington Potters, today a small company of 10 dedicated potters and an equally dedicated sales and support staff, remains a significant player in the world market for dinnerware, bake ware and art pottery.
It’s all in the design: David Gil’s design oriented philosophy is the key principle guiding these potters into the 21st century. They adhere to Gil’s original quality design standard – as innovative and state-of the-art today as it was in 1948 when the company was founded – even though they are using clay forming methods that are primitive by today’s standards. It is all about the piece. Considerations of size, shape, look, feel, color, texture, durability, usability, comfort, ease, simplicity – the simple beauty of it all – is what goes into a piece made by Bennington Potters. This is why old customers return year after year and new customers wish they had found the place years ago. Are these potters proud of what they do? In a word: Yes. It shows. And visitors to the pottery can see it right away as they watch the potters work.
The hands-on tradition: Every piece of ware passes through at least 8 pairs of hands with some handling the piece 2 or 3 times before it is ready to be shipped or put on the store’s shelves. Liquid clay poured from a dairy farm’s milking hose or a shapeless nondescript hunk of firm clay will become a streamlined cup, plate, bowl, platter, or piece of bake ware. Each phase of production – from forming to firing – is carefully attended by these skilled artisans who both inspect and perfect at each step of the way. The potters work to the design, standard and pattern while the glazing techniques insure that no two pieces are ever exactly alike. There is a magical serendipity – individuality really – like that found in Vermont’s landscape. The processes are repeated hundreds even thousands of times, yet each piece is as fresh and new as if it were the very first one made. The hand to hand chain ends when the potters’ partners, the Grist Mill sales associates, hand the piece purchased to the customer. As they say at Bennington Potters: from our hands to yours.