In view of the Mighty Mississippi River in Alton, IL we work daily creating our ware.  Our pottery is durable and intended for everyday use. Our ware is all dishwasher microwave oven and food safe. 

Mississippi Mud Pottery was created in 1983 by Ken and Brenda Barnett in Alton IL.  Ken and Brenda continued to operate Mississippi Mud Pottery until 2006, when they retired. In 2006 Felicia Breen and Chad Nelson purchased and now operate Mississippi Mud Pottery. Today they are able to continue the pottery tradition started by Ken and Brenda while adding many new things.  Please watch more about our story on the clip below.  

 

video credit Route 3 Films, Alton CVB

Our History

 Mississippi Mud Pottery was officially created in 1983 by Ken and Brenda Barnett in Alton IL.  Ken and Brenda, originally from Alton, first learned their trade during the 1970's in Laguna, California, where they worked in a planter factory.  Ken was a potter and made planters, and Brenda learned her hand for glaze and design.  Not long after, they opened their first pottery shop in Laguna and ran it for about a year.  Having met other potters they soon followed their friends to Australia in 1977,78 and worked for the Collinghams at Barmagui Mudworks Pottery for another year before returning to Alton Illinois.

 

Planter Factory
The planter factory in which Ken and Brenda worked and learned their trade during the 1970's in Laguna California.
Planter Factory
The planter factory in which Ken and Brenda worked and learned their trade during the 1970's in Laguna California.
Planter Factory
The planter factory in which Ken and Brenda worked and learned their trade during the 1970's in Laguna California.
Ken and Potters
The planter factory in which Ken and Brenda worked and learned their trade during the 1970's in Laguna California.
Ken and Brenda Barnett
Ken and Brenda standing in front of their kiln. They started their own pottery in Laguna, California after working at the planter factory.
Kiln Full of Pots
Ken and Brenda's kiln full of wares ready to fire. They started their own pottery in Laguna, California after working at the planter factory in the 1970's.
Drying Pots out Back
Pots drying out behind Ken and Brenda's first pottery studio. They started their own pottery in Laguna, California after working at the planter factory in the 1970's.
First Shop
This is the first shop Ken and Brenda had in Laguna, California in the 1970's
Bermagui Mudworks Australia
Ken and Brenda left the states and worked with the Collinghams at Bermagui Mudworks in the late 1970s.
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Mississippi Mud Pottery is Born

In the early 1980's Ken and Brenda began creating lamps planters and vases which the wholesaled to local businesses in the St. Louis Region.  After getting some momentum in 1983 they decided to settle in and open a storefront which they named Mississippi Mud Pottery.  The first location was on Cetral Ave. in Alton, IL.  This building is no longer standing and has since been torn down.  They soon moved into a bigger space in 216 E. Broadway.  In 1988 as their business continues to grow they purchased a then empty lot on Broadway and began the construction of our building today.   

Central Ave. Alton, IL
The first store front Mississippi Mud Pottery inhabited. Ken and Brenda Open this shop on Central Ave. in 1983 This building is no longer standing.
216 E Broadway Alton, IL
Ken and Brenda moved MMP to Broadway in Alton, IL in the mid 1980's.
Showroom 216 E. Broadway
A image from the showroom MMP storefront in the mid 1980's at 216 E. Broadway.
Kiln and Ware
The kiln and ware freshly unloaded at the 216 E. broadway location in the mid 1980's.
Kiln and Studio Space
The studio that Ken and Brenda worked out of at 216 E. Broadway Alton ,IL in the mid 1980's.
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310 E. Broadway

As Ken and Brenda grew their business they had sights set on building a space of their own.  They soon found a vacant and unsightly lot which became 310 E. Broadway and the current location of Mississippi Mud Pottery today.  The site used to home of the Carson Apartments which were torn down in the 1950's.  

 

They began by clearing trees and brush and building a retaining wall.   Soon after a foundation was poured and the structure took shape.  Once the building was ready, they moved their studio from 216 E. Broadway including he kiln which was carefully hand carted down Broadway.  The space started sparse but was soon filled with a bustling studio and showroom full of beautiful finished ware.  A second addition was added to the back of the pottery and expanded their studio space in 1994.  The building and shop has been a crown jewel and anchor in this section of Broadway since 1989.  Today this section Broadway is experiencing a renaissance and many of its buildings are being restored and filled with new business.

Carson Apartments
The Carson Apartments once stood where Mississippi Mud is now. In the 1950's the structure was torn down and had been an empty lot until the construction of MMP in 1989.
Future Site of MMP
The lot where the Carson Apartments once stood. At this time it was used for parking by customers of Nelly's Cafe next door.
Cleaning and Preparation of Site
All the debris and brush had to be cleared to make way for construction of MMP.
Retaining Wall Built
A retaining wall was built in preparation for construction of MMP.
Ken and Brenda
Ken and Brenda standing proudly as the foundation is poured for Mississippi Mud Pottery. photo credit Russ Smith
Ken and Brenda
Ken and Brenda standing proudly as the foundation is poured for Mississippi Mud Pottery. photo credit Russ Smith
Taking Shape
After the foundation was poured MMP began to take shape.
Taking Shape
After the foundation was poured MMP began to take shape.
Taking Shape
After the foundation was poured MMP began to take shape.
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Sun-Mon 12-4pm

Tuesday  CLOSED (by Chance)

Wed-Sat  10-5pm

Hours             
Drying Pots out Back

Pots drying out behind Ken and Brenda's first pottery studio. They started their own pottery in Laguna, California after working at the planter factory in the 1970's.