South Carolina pottery tradition, SC State Museum art and history exhibit

At the SC State Museum we recently enjoyed seeing the “Tangible History:

Making a face jug using early 20th century pottery wheel

The Potter's Wheel demonstration: making a funny face jug using traditional pottery tools

South Carolina Stoneware from the Holcombe Family Collection” exhibit (free with museum admission which is $7 adults, $5 children 3-12).

The best part was the live demonstration with a treadle potter’s wheel, an exact replica of the one used by Billy Henson from the Clayton Pottery Shop in 1940s.

The collection features exquisite stoneware from the old Edgefield district by makers such as Thomas Chandler and Dave the Potter, a famous African-American slave artist.

There is also significant pottery from the Upstate, like the Owensby, Whelchel and Williams Pottery Shops.

Stoneware is fire-hardened clay, that becomes as hard as stone after being heated to about 2,000 degrees. It is highly collectible, especially Edgefield pottery, well-known for its unique alkaline glaze.

Replica of a typical late 19th century and early 20th century pottery shop

The South Carolina stoneware heritage...a potter's treadle wheel

Pit fired cooking ware from the Savannah River

Native American cooking vessel c. 1000 from the Savannah River area

Examples of Edgefield pottery
The SCIWAY website has a great article about the Edgefield Pottery tradition including additional work by Dave the Potter.

19th century pottery from the Edgefield  tradition

Edgefield pottery: 1840 honey pot with a lid

Edgefield district South Carolina pottery tradition

A 10 gallon water cooler by Thomas Chandler, alkaline glaze stoneware with iron slip

Pottery produced by famous African American slaves

Jar by Dave Drake. Most pottery in the 18th and 19th centuries was produced by African-American slaves.

Examples of pottery from the Upstate

Late 19th century household stoneware by Samuel Whelcher

Stoneware from the South Carolina Upstate potteries

1990s pottery jugs from Upstate region

Face jugs classics

While inside the State Museum check out one of the world’s finest collections of individually made telescopes and the Great Charleston Earthquake exhibit, dedicated to the most terrific quake to ever hit the east coast.