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Northeast Georgia's oldest pottery visits close to home
0305Pottery
This 1832 jug was crafted near Yonah Mountain.

Events at the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia

Lecture on “Slave Potter Dave” by author Leonard Todd
When: 3:30 p.m. Sunday
How much: Free

Folk pottery display: Vandiver jar exhibit
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday through December
How much: $5 adults, $4 seniors, $2 children

Where: Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia, Sautee Nacoochee Center, 283 Ga. 255 N., Sautee
More info: 706-878-3300 or www.folkpotterymuseum.com

The Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia is chock full of pots that give insight into the lives of people who created and used them.

Some are relics of days gone by, and some were created by potters still living, who carry on the family tradition of pottery making.

One 4-gallon jug, on display since Feb. 28, is the newest addition to the museum. But it is also the oldest known piece of folk pottery found in Northeast Georgia.

The pot, on temporary loan through December from Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, is inscribed with the message: “Josiah Vandufer/ his year the 25 of September 1832.”

“We feel like that had to be written in when it was made. It’s not something that was carved in later,” said Chris Brooks, director of the Folk Pottery Museum.

Organizers at the Folk Pottery Museum said pots were not usually written on, but if they were, it wasn’t the name of the potter but the name of the recipient that was inscribed on the pot.

“If you had gone to buy something, you would be buying things that were already fired. Josiah’s father — who we think was Adam Poole Vandiver — if he had been at the pottery shortly after his son was born, he may have mentioned that and they wrote it on the bottom of the pot, and perhaps fired it and saved it for him to give to the family after it was completed,” Brooks said.

“When you write on a piece of pottery, you’re still several steps away from taking it home and using it.”

Brooks said Adam Poole Vandiver settled at the foot of Yonah Mountain, so that is where the piece is thought to have been used.

The Vandiver jar is the oldest known piece of folk pottery found in the White County area, but Brooks said pottery was made “perhaps as early as 1820” in the area, although at that time it would have been Habersham County.

“We just haven’t seen any earlier dated pieces,” he said, adding that the Vandiver jar exhibit adds to the already busy schedule for the museum.

He said other events, like pottery classes for teens and the ongoing exhibit of international pottery, have made it a busy winter.
If you go to the museum this weekend to check out the Vandiver jar, you can also take in a lecture about “Slave Potter Dave.”

David Drake, a potter from the Edgefield area of South Carolina, will be the focus of a lecture by author Leonard Todd set for this Sunday at the Folk Pottery Museum.

Todd, who wrote a book about Drake, will sign books and talk about the life of the potter, known for his large alkaline-glazed pots inscribed with poetry.

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