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Pottery beckons to past, future

Show and sale slated for Saturday

POSTED: August 28, 2014 1:00 a.m.
/For Get Out

Edwin Meaders exhibits his work as part of the new temporary exhibit at the Folk Pottery Museum and Sautee Nacoochee Center. The museum is hosting its sixth annual show and sale Saturday in Sautee Nachoochee.

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An art form starting centuries ago and surviving the industrial age will be the focus of a show all its own.

The sixth annual Folk Pottery Show and Sale is scheduled for

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 30 at the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia in Sautee.

Up to 20 folk potters, both professional and self-taught, will display their skills on the lawn of the museum while 12 folk potters will do the same inside the Historic Sautee Nacoochee gym. Traditional craftspeople will also put on demonstrations of skills including basket-making, rifle-building and woodworking.

The art of folk pottery extends back centuries to the very first settlement of the Northeast Georgia area.

“We look at pottery the way a lot of folklorists would look at a craft,” said Chris Brooks, the folk pottery museum director.

Folk pottery emerged not first as an art form but as a necessity for denizens of the past. Most often a community would designate craftspeople to provide utilitarian items such as food storage vessels for small farmers. Other similar crafts included weaving, metal-working and furniture-making, trades which were often passed down from parent to child.

While other crafts died out after the industrial revolution, folk pottery endured.

“Pottery hung on up here because of poverty,” Brooks said. “After the Civil War, people continued their reliance on being self-sufficient.”

Butter churns, syrup jugs and canning jars are a few of the once utilitarian items that transitioned into artistic pieces once the stratification of the industrial age passed.

“The craft is so special up here because it did sort of outlast the utilitarian period,” Brooks said. “It was seen as a connection to an agrarian past, so people began to collect utilitarian pieces and the decorated pottery a lot of the potters began to make. It brought a whole new generation of interest in the craft.”

Two artists who understand folk pottery’s connection to the past are featured functional ware potters Rosa and Winton Eugene.

Among other pieces, the Eugenes will bring pieces from their series called “Minority in Relief,” pottery which has been engraved with faces that reflect their African-American heritage.

“My husband is self-taught, so everything he does is in his head,” Rosa Eugene said. “The faces (carved into the pottery) are the faces he remembers from his past, and they’re brought from that space and then drawn onto the pieces and then carved into the clay.”

The pottery show and sale is at 283 Ga. 255 N on the grounds of the Folk Pottery Museum. Tours of the premises will be offered during the sale. Lunch will be available for purchase from Hog Wild Barbecue of Clarkesville.

For more information, call 706-878-3300 or visit www.folkpotterymuseum.com.



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