New online exhibit spotlights Pauline Pottery’s women artists

The new digital exhibit "Behind the Brush: The Women of the Pauline Pottery" explores the stories of the women behind the success of the Pauline Pottery, an Edgerton, Wisconsin-based art pottery studio.

The digital exhibition “Behind the Brush: The Women of the Pauline Pottery” examines the work and lives of six women who worked for the Pauline Pottery in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: Laura Fry, Mae Johnson Wilt, Eugenie Hutchinson, Lulu Devereaux Dixon, Marie Brastad, and of course, the company’s founder, Pauline Jacobus. Most of the works featured come from collections documented in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database, including the Kenosha Public Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Neville Public Museum of Brown County, the Rock County Historical Society,  the Wisconsin Historical Museum, and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Additional images were provided by Pauline Pottery authority Ori-Anne Pagel of the Wisconsin Pottery Association.

Credit for much of the writing and research for the exhibit goes to Laura Houston, an undergraduate in the History Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who worked with me this summer on an internship sponsored by the Chipstone Foundation and the UW’s Material Culture Program.

I created the exhibit in part as an experiment in the use of Pachyderm, an open-source, web-based multimedia authoring tool developed by the New Media Consortium. It was a little tricky to use–there’s no WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) interface, so it took a lot of back-and-forth between the web form and the preview pages to make sure things were turning out the way I wanted. But there’s no programming knowledge needed and I think the results look pretty slick. I’m hoping to use Pachyderm again in the future as a way to highlight other groups of objects in the database.

Posted by Emily Pfotenhauer.

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