Love pottery crafts? Looking for exquisite Christmas gifts? Then drive to Seagrove, NC the pottery capital of the world!
Join the 28th Annual Seagrove Pottery Festival on November 21 and 22 at Seagrove Elementary School.
Native Americans, the First Potters(data from NC Pottery Center exhibits)
Native Americans in the Carolina have been making utilitarian and ceremonial vessels for more than 4,500 years. The first pots were carved from soapstone. About 3,000 years ago indigenous tribes across the Southeast started to transform the clay into fired pottery.
• Women were the primary potters, digging the clay, mixing it with sand, crushed rocks or mussel shells to give the vessel strength and firing it in simple pits.
Pinching, coiling and hand-working techniques were passed from generation to generation.
• The fire pit model on display at the NC Pottery Center contains vessels with surfaces textured by beating with carved paddles, impressing textiles or burnishing with a polishing stone. Vessels were warmed around the edges then gently rolled into the coals to continue hardening.
• Native Americans did not use a wheel to make pottery. Instead they created wares by a process called coiling. Pots were built from a pinched base by stacking coils one on the other, or the reverse upside-down from a large coil on the rim to the pointed bottom. The smoke created black patterns as seen on the ones in the exhibit.
The European Influence
• At the time of European settlement, the most prominent tribes were the Tuscarora in the coastal plains, the Siouan in Eastern Piedmont, the Catawba in Western Piedmont and the Cherokees in the mountains. The Cherokees and the Catawba tribes are still active potters today.
• The earliest European wheel-turned and chambered fired pottery was found at the Santa Elena archaeological site on Parris Island, a Spanish fort established in the 16th century.
• During the 1700s potters of English and German descend emigrated to North Carolina where they set up shops which produced lead-glazed earthenware.
• In 1800s they transitioned to higher fired stoneware and alkaline and salt glazes.
A taste of local flavor…
• Potters referred to themselves as “turners”
• Wheels are “lathes” (pronounced “lays”)
• Kilns (pronounced “kills”) are “burned”, not fired.
The NC Pottery Center, located downtown Seagrove, is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10AM to 4PM. Admission is $2 adults, free for kids 12 and under and for NCPC members. Every Saturday come enjoy Free pottery making demos with a local artist.
Just half an hour away is the NC Zoo, one of the best zoological parks in the country.
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