McCully Building 2006

McCully Building Jacksonville, Oregon. 1855

Replica of the McCully Building. Mid fire paper clay, wood, 20" x 20" x 6", 2006


I was interested in attempting to create an all ceramic piece. I knew that I needed to find a building that had no or very little exposed wood. By now I had decided to begin making at least two copies of each piece, so that I could potentially sell one and keep the other in my Historic building collection. I was also looking to create that special older Oregon building, I had visited family in Southern Oregon and made several trips to Jacksonville to see it’s wonderful early gold rush architecture. The Historic American Building Survey has more entries (76) than any other city in Oregon by far. The town has always reflected it’s energy and optimism in its architecture. Fires destroyed many of the original wood structures, and local brick proved plentiful, to construct a town that wanted to be the core of southern Oregon’s politics, culture, and business. But the gold soon faded and the railroad bypassed the town, making it frozen in time. Buildings were well preserved and the character of the town remains. Jacksonville also has one of the nicest cemeteries I have seen and the number of historic structures is phenomenal considering it’s size.

Though not the most ornate building in town, the McCully has an elegant simplicity. It also has an interesting history involving a struggling businessman who walked away from his debt and left his wife and children to pick up the pieces. I was particularly attracted to the large steel doors, which I would create with ceramic and iron oxide wash. I also attempted to capture the faded red painted brick, which had evolved to a slightly pink and salmon colored hue. The masonry, with it’s arched headers and keystones give a wonderful look to this warehouse like building. Once again, I was also aided by diagrams from the Historic American Building Survey through the Library of Congress.

Replica of the McCully Building. High fire ceramic, wood, 16" x 17" x 7", 2006

The two copies I made of the building used two different clays and assembling techniques to construct. The first, using Dakota red clay with a cone 10 firing, utilizes a hand built box technique which exposes the edge of the façade. The second is an 8% paper clay fired to cone 6, which has the building indented into a 2’ x 2’ square slab. A frame of textured clay surrounds the image and gives the appearance that it was chiseled into stone. I was very fortunate to have this slab fire perfectly flat.

McCully #2 wet paper clay

McCully #1 bone dry clay












from Historic American Building Survey

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