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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Folk Pottery Museum Exceeds Expectations

The first and only U.S. folk pottery museum has far exceeded estimates for attendance afteronly its first full month of operation, museum officials say.

Hundreds of visitors from throughout Georgia and as far awayas Alaska, Colorado, California and Sicily have recorded numerous favorablecomments about the new museum.

"Visionary - great history and fantastic education," says Allan Goldman, of Atlanta.

Well-known among pottery collectors for its ongoing 19thcentury-tradition of ash- and lime-glazed stoneware, northeast Georgia is home to noted multi-generational potter families such as Meaders, Hewell, Dorsey and Ferguson.

The Folk Pottery Museum's collection includes more than 200 pieces dated from the 1840s to modern day, with around 160 pieces currently displayed.

On loan from Levon and Elmaise Register are works from South Carolina'sEdgefield district, including a large jar by Dave. A 19th century slave, respected artisan and poet, Dave's work reflects the folk pottery stylecommonly found in Edgefield, S.C.

Also on loan is a Mississippian earthenware bowl (circa 1400 A.D.,excavated at the nearby Nacoochee American Indian Mound) from theSmithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.

John Burrison, the museum's curator, is a Georgia State University folklorist and author of Brothers in Clay: The Story of Georgia FolkPottery. Co-curator is popular northeast Georgia folk potter Michael Crocker.

"There is a living, thriving folk pottery tradition in northeast Georgia that is deeply rooted," says Chris Brooks, museum director. "Our museum interprets the artistic and historical aspects of this heritage."

Made possible through a gift from Dean and Kay Swanson, the museum islocated on the Sautee-Nacoochee Center campus. Just four miles from Helen,Ga., it is a two-hour drive from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.


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