elizabeth priddy on wed 6 oct 99
Here's some interesting food for thought.
During the industrial revolution at the turn of the
century in North Carolina, many potteries were nearly
put out of business. They primarily made crocks and
storage vessels and sold them by the "gallon" for about
25-50 CENTS per gallon volume. These potteries were in
many cases, fifth and sixth generation. The primary
turners in these potteries were men at the time because
they needed to have the arm length and strength to turn
such large forms. When this skill became obsolete due
to the advent of the motorized wheel and the industrial
revolution, many potteries closed up shop.
One in particular did not. Cole pottery in Seagrove,
NC, was saved from this fate by the small figurines
that NELL Cole made. She also began turning small
work replicating greek and roman forms brought back
from WWI, by veterans and travellers who wanted more
of the interesting small vases. Her brother, who
smelted his own frits and designed and applied the
glazes for the pottery, made complementary glazes and
so they TOGETHER saved the family business.
Many potteries had to abandon the old ways in order
to stay marketable. Many men were lost to war and the
depression. Lots of interesting history to uncover.
If you'ld like to read about Miss Nell Cole Graves,
there is an article about her, and mastering pottery,
and being an artist, the art/craft debate, and the
stages of a potters life at my website on the
If you would like to read some very interesting books
about NC's Pottery Tradition, here are some good books:
THE TRADITIONAL POTTERS OF SEAGROVE,
Robert Lock, pictures you would not believe
TURNERS AND BURNERS, THE FOLK POTTERS OF NC,
C. Zug III, an account of the historical progression of glazing, manufac
THE PENLAND SCHOOL OF CRAFTS BOOK OF POTTERY,
ed, J. Coyne, photographs of technique and process
in the arts and crafts style
RAISED IN CLAY: THE SOUTHERN POTTERY TRADITION,
Nancy Sweezy, what it is like today and in the
more recent past, including many pictures and
diagrams of kiln designs and work setups including
diagrams of treadle wheels, pottery layouts, work
structures within family potteries, etc.
If you would like to see some of the pottery of
NC potters online, you can see a gallery of their
work in my private collection at my website gallery
page called "NC Potters".
I speak from sincerity and experience, not authority...
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