On my visit to the province of Saskatchewan in Canada I had occasion to visit the small town of Eastend, described in Wallace Stegner's books as the Town of White Mud. This intrigued me, so I went to have a look.
Eastend is a very small prairie town on the edge of nowhere. There is a website, but it has little information. The town has a modicum of fame, firstly as the childhood residence of Wallce Stegner and secondly as a depository of dinosaur bones. In his book "Wolf Willow" he describes the area wonderfully well.
The finest Kaolin is found in the surrounding hills, on and near the surface. Some half hearted mining is taking place. The pictures attached to this letter illustrate the strata.
The Kaolin might have been created by the last ice age, which oddly enough came to a halt just around the Cypress Hills which are a long range of hills in the southern part of both Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The deposits though have led to the settlement of a few potters of good quality. One of them is an acquaintance of mine. When I go back, in a few weeks I shall look at their wares.
Oddly enough a deposit of wonderful deep red clay is also found there. This clay gets more red the longer it is fired. You might imagine the beautiful shades achieved by mixing the two ingredients. The natural colors of those pots are incredible as the Kaolin is mixed with the local red clay. Can you imagine the paradise for potters. They go out into the field and get what they need.
PS. The fellow on top of the hill is my friend Leonard who was my boss almost 50 years ago in my brief career as a cowboy. The ranch still bears the scars of my activity there. Nevertheless we are still friends.
Hans H. Müller
External link:Eastend, Saskatchewan Information