Making "Splendid Things":
The Potter's Wheel Online Archive
Welcome to Making ‘Splendid Things’: The Potter’s Wheel Online Archive, a digital archive collection focused on the lives and works of the Potters, a women's art collective that created a handmade, multimedia magazine. This group of early-20th century women writers, artists, and designers lived and worked in St. Louis, Missouri. This site aims to do three things: 1) preserve digital copies of fragile manuscripts, 2) facilitate the interdisciplinary study of women’s art, literature, and scholarship, and 3) provide a teaching resource for scholars and students of literature, cultural studies, art history, and beyond.
Written and circulated from November 1904 to October 1907, The Potter’s Wheel was issued once a month as a single copy. The magazine was entirely handmade and consists of original poetry and stories, designs, drawings, photography, sculpture (reproduced in photographs), essays, and plays. The issues also include notable quotations and artist’s notes, which reflect the thematic, literary, and artistic influences on the Potters’ works.
The Potter’s Wheel manuscripts are available only in a few special collections libraries, so the archival dimension of this web-based project is a work in progress. As more holdings are digitized, the site will grow its collection to include more issues of The Potter’s Wheel. More information about library holdings and links to finding aids can be found under the “Further Reading” tab. Three issues of The Potter’s Wheel have been digitized courtesy of the Beinecke Library at Yale University.
Making ‘Splendid Things’: The Potter’s Wheel takes its name from a poem by the group’s most famous member, Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Sara Teasdale:
Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.
Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.
Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.
Recently Added Items
Cover design depicting Three Wise Men under light of the Star of Bethlehem
Interior Dedication Flap: ["My New-Cut Ashlar" by Rudyard] Kipling
Table of Contents featuring contributions by Grace Parrish, Williamina Parrish, Sara Teasdale, Celia Harris, Vine Colby, Caroline Risque, Guida…
"Song" by S. T. T. [Sara Teasdale]
Section of a Design for a white gauze fan by Grace Parrish
The Potter's Wheel Vol. III No. VI featuring contributions by Caroline Risque, Celia Harris, Sara Teasdale, Petronelle Sombart, Grace Parrish, Vine…
Fine art from The Potter's Wheel. This exhibit brings together two collections: Photography and Sculpture.