Nemadji pottery comes from the Arrowhead region of Minnesota. It has never actually been made by native Americans, but is said to be reminiscent of the style and coloring used by them. It has come to be thought of by many as 'Indian pottery' although it has no connection with the Ojibway tribe. It was originally made using the rich clays dug from the banks of the Nemadji River. Nemadji roughly translates as "Lefthand."
The special painting technique used to give the pottery its unique look was developed in 1929 by Eric Hellman. Production of Nemadji pottery ended in the winter of 2001-2002.
A scrap of paper is often found in each piece bearing the following legend ...
Twenty-five thousand years ago the ice
sheet of the glacial age covered the land. It is now known that the primitive
ancestors of our present Indians lived here when the great ice sheet started
to melt and retreat. Clays of various shades and composition were made by the
glacial ice sheets; the great weight of the ice ground rocks and ores into
dust, which became clays, afterwards washed and refined by the lakes and
streams from the melting glaciers. From these clays Nemadji Pottery is made
The Indians used this clay left by the ice sheet to make cooking pots and vases, and in the ancient warrior's grave are found fragments of his favorite cooking pot. Nemadji Art Pottery is made largely from designs of this ancient Indian pottery and many of their traditional shapes are preserved in our designs.
The coloring of Nemadji Art Pottery is accomplished in a manner that allows no two pieces to be exactly alike. The pottery is burned in a kiln and glazed on the inside. The warm rich colors of this pottery recall the colorful costumes of the redman, who, though long since gone to the happy hunting ground, still haunts in spirit the plains, streams, woods, and lakes of this our Empire.