We would bet you that we are not the only ones in Kings County with some Deichmann pottery hidden away. While Deichmann pottery is not unfamiliar to many New Brunswickers, specifically those from Kings County, the story of Erica and Kjeld Deichmann may not be very familiar to most, nor the little collection of Deichmann pottery we have amassed here at the museum (below are just a few sample pieces).
The Deichmann pottery, which they named Dykeland, in reference to the dykes on their property at Moss Glen, was created by Erica and Kjeld Deichmann. Erica and Kjeld met in
were both of Danish origin. Erica had been born in Alberta Wisconsin
to Danish parents, while her father was the pastor of a . The family moved
back to Danish Lutheran
Church Denmark when Erica
was six, only to move to
when she was a teenager. Kjeld moved to Canada Alberta
is 1927, drawn by the promise of large open spaces, not found in Denmark, and the fascination with at the
time amongst Danes. From Alberta Kjeld moved to New Brunswick and purchased a
farm house at Moss Glen on the Kingston Peninsula, and in April 1932 Erica
moved back to Canada and married Kjeld in Saint John. Canada
The original plan had been to farm and they began by raising chickens, but when their cellar flooded they discovered clay, and with the discovery of clay they decided to change course and begin making pottery. They first went back to
Europe for a year where Kjeld apprenticed to a potter and
Erica did weaving. The Deichmanns took months of experimenting to finally make
pottery they saw as fit to sell. In the beginning they broke hundreds of failed
pieces of pottery. They also spent untold hours developing their own clay by
combining theirs with other Maritime clay, while Erica also made her own glazes.
The making of their own clay and glazes was a defining feature of Deichmann
pottery, as most potters used premade clay and glazes. Despite their rocky
beginning with pottery, within five years Deichmann pottery had won awards at places
such as the Canadian National Exhibit and had traveled to Paris
and . New York
The Deichmann pottery was also known for its pieces with a ‘pebble glaze’, as well as Erica’s creation of the ‘goofus’, a llama-like creature that Erica was famous for making. The name did not originate with Erica but was thought to have come from Malcolm Morley, a visiting English journalist.
Their house in Moss Glen became a hub for artists and friends to gather. It also became a great tourist attraction, which only increased when they moved to
They moved to a heritage home at 34 Sunnyside Drive, which had a history of its
own; it was constructed by William Roach a Sussex farmer in 1859, and then was
purchased by Geroge L. Slipp, and the house remained in the Slipp family until
1948. Kjeld and Erica moved with their three children in 1953. There were two
large showrooms at the front of the house where visitors could watch Kjeld make
Kjeld died in 1963 and Erica remarried Lieutenant Milton F. Gregg in 1964. Interestingly enough, Lieutenant Gregg has a link to our current exhibit, “Though Your Lads are Far Away,” an exploration of Kings County during the First World War. Lt Gregg was from Mountain Dale,
Kings County and was awarded a Victoria Cross for his
actions at during the First World War.
To find out more about Lt Gregg come visit us at the Kings County Museum. Summer
hours are here and we are opened Monday to Friday 9 to 4 pm! Cambrai, France
Special thanks to summer staffer Lydia Blois for this post!
The New Brunswick Reader April 29, 2000