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Gillsville celebrates turning heritage
A sign marks the entrance to the folk pottery portion of Craven Family Pottery. - photo by Tom Reed

Gillsville Folk Pottery Festival
8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Midway United Methodist Church, 6420 Ga. 52, Gillsville
How much: Free

More than a dozen folk potters will exhibit their work at the Gillsville Folk Pottery Festival, set for Saturday at Midway United Methodist Church.

The festival will celebrate the area's potters with turning demonstrations, an exhibit of "old pottery" and pieces by Steve Turpin, Hewell's Pottery, Mike Craven, Dal Burtchaell, Roger Corn, Joe Craven, Marc Craven, Henry Ferguson, Mary Griffin, Wayne Hewell, Benny Ray Holcomb, Jeffrey Standridge and Dwayne Crocker.

Like many potters who grew up in Gillsville, Crocker, who makes intricate face jugs, roosters, snake jugs and grape jars, has been at it for most of his life.

"That's all I ever done since I was about 15 years old," Crocker said. "I lived beside a pottery, and I always liked it and was enthused with it. And so I just started working for them."

Crocker said he worked for Wilson Pottery for five or six years, then for Craven Pottery for about 24 years before he decided to make his own work full time in 2002.

"Here lately, it's been kind of slow, with the way everything is. But it's been real good," Crocker said. "I've really enjoyed it."

Crocker's work shop, Crocker Folk Pottery, is located just off Ga. 52 on Diamond Hill Road in Gillsville. You may have seen his sign, strapped with face jugs and roosters, if you've ever been out that way.

Crocker said the pots draw many onlookers, with some stopping to take photos. He said he also has a face jug strapped to his mailbox - another reminder to passersby of Gillsville's favorite art form.

Crocker added that folks should come to Saturday's festival if they have been interested in pottery - or to "just have a day of fun."

"We'll have a big time and enjoy hot dogs and hamburgers together," Crocker said.

The festival also will feature an auto show with antique cars and farm equipment, checker and horseshoe tournaments and storytelling for children.

A presentation will be made at noon at the church's flag pole honoring local veterans, and a pottery, cake and merchandise auction will take place at 12:45 p.m.

Other food will be available for purchase at the festival, including breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m. and a barbecue chicken lunch.