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Grace Hall Parker

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Colonial New England potter Grace Hall Parker for #PIAbadasswomen. Born in 1697, she is the first woman in the region known to have run a production pottery in her name and is credited with introducing high temperature, salt-glazed stoneware production to a corner of New England where high-temperature clays are not naturally occurring. Charlestown (now a part of Boston), Massachusetts was the site of many redware potteries in the 1700s, including Grace Parker’s successful workshop which she ran with her husband Isaac. In 1740, the Parkers decided to expand their repertoire to include stoneware production, which meant importing clays from New York and Pennsylvania at great expense. Isaac took out loans and mortgaged six lots of land to raise the necessary funds – and he died three weeks later. Grace chose to “undertake and carry on the trade or mistery of making stoneware” after Isaac’s death, and secured a monopoly on stoneware production from the Massachusetts General Court, making hers the only pottery in the Massachusetts Bay Colony allowed to produce stoneware for 15 years. The story doesn’t end there, so you’ll have to visit the link in profile to read more about the challenges Grace Parker faced. . As a ceramic artist working in Boston in 2018, I will note that local clays are among the hardest to obtain. . Image credits: The stoneware jug is from the online collection database on the @historicnewengland website. The listing for this object includes notes from the previous owner, Joan Jockwig Pearson Watkins (google her), who believed that the jug very well could have been produced by the Parker pottery. The image of the redware milkpan - a shallow dish used for separating milk from cream - found at the Parker-Harris archaeological site, is from the Massachusetts Historical Commission’s Archaeological Exhibit Online [Link in profile.] The city of Boston Archaeologist @bostonarchaeo occasionally posts sherds from the Parker-Harris site. More information and images can be found on the Massachusetts Historical Commission’s Archaeological Exhibit online. – @deebalm . #gracehallparker #earlynewenglandpottersandtheirwares #digbos #boston #charlestownMA

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