20 Mar Jars and Faces. Pottery and Places.
Jars and Faces. Pottery and Places.
Over 4,500 years ago, Native Americans along the Savannah River discovered how to create pottery, using Spanish moss, palmetto fibers and the rich clay deposits in the Edgefield, South Carolina area. Edgefield pottery was alkaline glazed, unlike pottery from outside the South. Edgefield pottery first appeared around 1820 when Dave the Potter, a literate slave, created his own pottery and signed and dated them. His pottery, as well as the “face” jars of African origin, are valuable pieces and many can be found in the Smithsonian. He experimented with using alkaline glazes like the Chinese had used 1,000 years earlier. He did this because lead glazes were poisonous and salt glazing was too expensive. Because of his success, other potteries in the Edgefield District sprang up. As potters moved west they took alkaline glazing with them outside of Edgefield to parts of North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and as far west as Texas. Owning a piece of Edgefield pottery is like holding a small piece of history in your hands. Old Edgefield Pottery is a working pottery studio where a resident potter continues to produce beautiful works of art and keeps the tradition of Edgefield Pottery alive.