"The historic Gladding, McBean pottery is located in the Placer County town of Lincoln, nestled against the Sierra foothills northeast of Sacramento. In continuous operation since 1875, the Gladding, McBean factory is the largest single clay-pipe manufacturing facility in the United States. It is also one of only three companies in the country making high-quality architectural terra cotta, and the only current producer of architectural terra cotta to have existed before the Great Depression.
Inside the walls of Gladding, McBean is a living museum of architectural ornamentation from the last 130 years, sitting as silent witness while the factory continues to produce exterior cladding and decoration for new and old buildings, using the same techniques employed here more than 100 years ago. A walk through the pottery is truly a journey into the past, an amazing place where time appears to have stood still.
Starting in 1996, Gladding, McBean played host to one of the country’s most popular photographic workshops. Designed for the non-beginner photographer, the Gladding McBean Photography Workshop provided, more than anything else, access to one of the most visually interesting and historically rich buildings in the entire West. From its massive beehive kilns, in which huge sewer pipes are fired, to the small clay figures in the old modeling studio, the pottery provided a never-ending supply of compelling subjects and extraordinary light. Since before the turn of the 20th century, when photography was used as an integral partner in the process of manufacturing architectural terra cotta, informative and magical images have flowed from these buildings."
- Gene Kennedy