Thursday, November 6, 2008
Face Jugs by JH Artists
From art teacher Joe Cillo:
"The face jugs were created by my 8th Grade Art Foundations class. We talked about local families who have continued this clay tradition in North Georgia and referred to the book Brothers in Clay from our library.
Between 1810 and 1865, an abundance of functional pottery was produced in the remote Edgefield Potteries in South Carolina and sold to neighboring counties and states. Edgefield Potteries was worked in part by artisan slaves who turned the pots, pushed the wheels, carried the pottery and loaded the kilns. In their free time, some of the artisans made pottery of their own choice. Many of them chose to make jugs and pots now known as Face Vessels. These were often stoneware jugs modeled in the shape of human faces. They were most often alkaline glazed stoneware in simple, earthy tones. Though there are many gaps in historical data regarding the making, use and meaning of the face vessel pottery, there is no doubt that the vessels were original, functional artistic expressions of the African slave culture of the time. This all adds to the mystery of possible deeper meaning of the Face Vessels in the slave culture.
Few of the skilled potters who made Face Vessels have been identified by name and their inspiration for making face vessels is really unknown. Researchers speculate that the vessels may have had religious or burial significance, or that they reflect the complex responses of people attempting to live and maintain their personal identities under cruel and often difficult conditions. Face vessels have been found along the routes of the Underground Railroad and on gravesites, both indicating how highly they were valued and how closely connected they were with the enslaved African American’s own culture.
Come see all 26 of these amazing works of art -- on display now in the Paideia Junior High and High School Library!
A few of the other books on African American art and artists in the Paidiea Library:
Bearing witness :contemporary works by African American women artists
Patton, Sharon F.
African-American art /
Freeman, Roland L., 1936-
A communion of the spirits :
African-American quilters, preservers, and their stories /
Ittmann, John W.
Dox Thrash : an African American master printmaker rediscovered /
The quilts of Gee's Bend /