Ornamental Separator

American Folk Pottery: Art and Tradition

On view in the Elizabeth M. and Joseph M. Handley Gallery.
This exhibition was made possible through the generosity of Senator and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller IV


Nineteenth- and 20th-century folk potters from Maine to Texas and Ohio to Georgia fashioned an amazing array of plates, jugs, sculptures, and other ceramic bodies. This exhibition explores the cultural and artistic expressions embedded in these wares. While many of these vessels were functional — storing food or liquids — their creators often enhanced visual appeal with whimsical ornament and color. A simple three-gallon cream pot is hard to resist when decorated with a smiling turnip! These objects are also direct links to the diverse peoples who made them. Included are works by multi-generational potting families, women from the Zia Pueblo of New Mexico, free and enslaved African American artisans, Germanic potters, and much more.

Jar by Kartherine (Kathy) Pino, Zia Pueblo, New Mexico, ca. 1970
Flowerpot by Enos Smedley, Westtown, Pennsylvania, 1825
Jug by David Drake, Stoney Bluff Plantation, Edgefield, South Carolina, 1850-1860
Face Jug by Chester Hewell, Gillsville Hall and Banks Counties, Georgia, 1997. Gift of Daisy Wade Bridges.
Three-Gallon Open Cream Pot by James M. McBurney & Sons, Jordan, New York, 1852-1854