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Faces, fowl reflected in local folk pottery
Sautee festival features artists demonstrations, bluegrass music
Gillsville potter Jeff Standridge will be one of 12 potters featured at the Folklife Festival and Folk Pottery Sale Saturday at the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia in Sautee.

Folklife Festival and Pottery Sale
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; Curley Maple concert, 8 p.m.
Where: Sautee Nacoochee Center, 283 Ga. 255 N., Sautee
How much: Free admission and parking; $20 for Curley Maple concert; $15 SNCA members
More info: 706-878-3300

If you’ve ever looked a jug in the face, you know a little bit about folk pottery.

In Northeast Georgia, jugs do have faces, and chickens come in a variety of colors, from cobalt blue to fire engine red — clay chickens, that is.

Saturday at the Sautee Nacoochee Center in Sautee, Gillsville potter Jeff Standridge will be among a dozen folk potters from throughout our region as he exhibits his milk jugs, face jugs and maybe a rooster at the Folklife Festival and Folk Pottery Sale.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia will offer turning demonstrations by Whelchel Meaders and other potters.

Other old-time demonstrations, including blacksmiths and woodworkers, will take place throughout the center’s grounds.

"Part of the mission of the association is to preserve and protect the resources of the Sautee Nacoochee Valleys, and our history is one of those major resources," said Kathy Blandin, director of the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association.

Blandin said demonstrations including scrimshaw, the technique of carving onto powder horns, and woodworkers carving Windsor chairs will be interesting to watch. Visitors can meet folk potters afterward in the museum. Festival admission is free.

Closing out the evening will be a concert in the center at 8 p.m. by Curley Maple, an Athens-based band that Blandin says "is amazing."

"They’ll certainly play a lot of old-timey bluegrass music. They’ve been a part of the Athens music scene for years," she said.

Tickets for the concert are $20.

Standridge, who started out cleaning the shop at Hewell’s Pottery in Gillsville before trying his hand at the wheel, said his work incorporates a glaze similar to Albany slip, a traditional glaze that contained ingredients which are no longer mined.

"I’ll have face jugs and some milk pitchers, and I may have a rooster, too, and a whiskey jug — just your traditional folk art," Standridge said.

Standridge also worked for Craven Pottery, after learning to turn at Hewell’s, but later moved to pursue his own career.

Standridge, who works for Jackson EMC, said he enjoys pottery because of the creativity involved.

"I just enjoy creating," Standridge said.

"When I go to make a face jug, (you) don’t really know until you get started and your mind changes two or three times before you finish it," he said.

He said the Folk Pottery Museum has been a good addition to the area.

"A lot of people don’t understand how that stuff was made years ago, and you can go up there and get a pretty good feel ... it’ll take you back in time," he said.

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