March 22 & 23, 2024
Colonial Williamsburg is pleased to host the 2024 bi-annual Ceramics conference, in collaboration with MESDA (Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts), From the Ground Up: Ceramics in Context. Research, scholarship and collaboration among curators, scholars, archaeologists, potters and collectors is an ever-expanding and always rewarding endeavor. From hands-on workshops, to pottery demonstrations, to lectures by leaders in the field, there is something for every ceramic enthusiast in this exciting program which will culminate in a special punch gathering at a historic tavern!
The conference brings together many voices as we explore new findings and shed light on recent discoveries in the worlds of pottery and porcelain. Keynote Ranjith Jayasena, senior archaeologist for the city of Amsterdam, sets the stage for our global overview of ceramics, encouraging all to see the social, political and economic connections made across oceans throughout the centuries of ceramics production. Among the many other speakers, Ronald Fuchs II, co-editor of the award-winning journal Ceramics in America, Bly Straub, curator at the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, and Merry Outlaw, senior curator of the archaeological collections at Historic Jamestowne, all share new discoveries in Chinese porcelain from 17th century Jamestown to 19th century Washington, D.C. Melissa and Matthew Dunphy delve into their tantalizing research and discoveries literally right under their feet as they provide a glimpse of ceramics consumption in 18th-century Philadelphia. Collector and scholar James Boswell discusses his collection of intact objects that parallel archaeological finds in 18th century Virginia. Brandt Zipp expounds on the important history of free Black potter Thomas Commeraw and his New York pottery, while author and researcher Lorraine German unravels the mysteries of important New England stoneware. And Juliana Falk provides a glimpse of ceramics from a Charleston, South Carolina, context. Renowned potter Michelle Erickson will put her own unique spin on the weekend from the potter’s wheel for a live video-assisted demonstration.
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