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The Allure of Clay

The Allure of Clay (completed in 2011)

The Allure of Clay


Axel Ebring was born in a small village in Sweden in 1874. His father and grandfather were both potters, a trade they passed down to Axel. As a young man, Ebring immigrated to the United States and took on a variety of hard labour jobs, such as logging, prospecting, mining and railroad work, as he roamed throughout the Midwest United States and Canada.


By the late 1920’s he settled in an area north of Salmon Arm to farm. As fate would have it, he discovered a clay deposit near his farm and shortly returned to his craft, building his own kiln and kick wheel.


His pottery business did well but, within ten years he had used up all of the good clay. Around the mid 1930’s he found a promising new deposit in Vernon, on land where a brickyard once stood. Ebring bought two acres from the owner, Morris Middleton, built a small house and set up a potter’s studio along a stretch of land now known as Pottery Road.


Ebring worked in the traditional manner and never abandoned his foot-powered potter’s wheel. Nor did he ever use a thermometer for his wood fired kiln saying, “The best thermometer is an old man with enough experience.” He also never married; during an interview in 1947, when asked what his age was, he replied “Can’t say, might spoil my chances of getting a wife”. Axel Ebring died in 1954 and is buried in the Vernon Cemetery.

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