Sunday, July 20, 2014

North Carolina Pottery at Carolina Creations Part 1

The first potters in North Carolina were Native Americans, who used the coil-building method to make pottery. Examples have been found from the early 16th century.
     As European settlers arrived they found that the clay in the Piedmont was perfect for making pots, using their skills they brought from their native countries. Most were farmers who made pots on rainy days.

     By 1766 the Moravians had developed their own style of pots and decorating them. Through the years the different potters learned from each other, each developing his own style.
     Around 1830 North Carolina potters began to transition from earthenware to stoneware. In some areas, potters began to use salt-based glazes instead of ash-based. The new style was fired at higher temperatures and was safer to eat from because there was no lead in the glaze. The pottery was less porous and more durable.
     In the 1920s, the arts and crafts movement revived interest in all things rural, handmade, and homemade.
    North Carolina's Jugtown Pottery played a considerable role in this revival, specifically to strengthen pottery as an industry and an art. They saw potential in it that few others at the time did.
     Finding the old men unaccustomed to direction, they began working with the younger generation of potters and making aesthetic suggestions, often based on Asian pottery shapes and styles and they worked with them on new glazes, some colorful and some subdued like the customary grays and browns.
   They encouraged the local potters to incorporate ancient Chinese and other Eastern pottery forms, as well as colorful new glazes. Until then, most potters used the same brown or tan colors and the simplest possible functional forms. The new pottery was useful but strove to incorporate a sense of beauty and artfulness. Most North Carolina pottery made since has balanced the elements of beauty and utility.
     Together with their new young partners, Jugtown Pottery brought North Carolina pottery to national attention, opening a shop in New York City and in the Piedmont.
     Today North Carolina Pottery is a mix of old-school traditional potters who learned from their fathers’ fathers, and some are trained artists, whose medium happens to be clay.
    Some families have lived in NC since the original groups arrived, and many potters have moved to NC to be part of a thriving, clay-based community.
Pottery of all types has a niche in North Carolina.
We have lived in different parts of the country and have never found a state more interested in supporting crafts, pottery as well as all other craft forms, like glass, weaving, wood working, jewelry making and so on. John C. Campbell Fold Art School and Penland School of Crafts have trained artists from our state and from all over the country. Most of the artists we carry are from North Carolina, if they aren't from here they have a connection, like having attended or taught at one of these schools.
      Throughout this post are examples of the North Carolina potters we represent!

North Carolina's rich pottery tradition continues to grow and thrive.

See our next post for more photos of our North Carolina Pottery.

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