UA Press book: Alabama Folk Pottery
- For release on or after September 30, 2006
HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE STATE'S TRADITIONAL POTTERY TOLD IN NEW BOOK
Publication Coincides with a Major Exhibition at the Birmingham Museum
TUSCALOOSA, AL-Imagine for a moment a world without plastic containers.
How would we store and transport our food? What would we put leftovers
Now imagine there are also no glass bottles or pitchers. What would we
use to hold liquids, including beverages?
Imagine life a hundred or more years ago, and you'll find yourself in a
world where pottery-jars, jugs, bottles, churns, crocks, pitchers, and
bowls-fulfills all those daily needs.
The importance of pottery in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century
life cannot be overstated. In addition to providing necessary tools and
storage contains for foods in an era without refrigeration, pottery was
also used for chamberpots, gravemarkers, pipes, candlesticks, thimbles,
and much more. The industry's one-time dominance can still be seen in
the existence of a Jugtown Road in most medium-sized towns, the typical
name for the route that led to the local potter's shop.
From the very beginning of its history, Alabama has had a long tradition
of folk pottery. These men-and they were mostly men-were hard-working,
successful business leaders in their communities. They made almost all
the utilitarian products needed in their world, from pitchers and churns
for milk and butter to crocks for storing meat and vegetables. And even
though they turned out thousands of jugs for moonshiners, they were far
removed from the stereotypical view of them as hillbillies with corn cob
pipes who never left their hamlets and hollows.
A new book, Alabama Folk Pottery, published by The University of Alabama
Press, celebrates the art and craft of traditional pottery. Written by
Joey Brackner, director of the Alabama Center for Traditional Culture, a
division of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the book is a
culmination of decades of research. Copublished by the Birmingham Museum
of Art, the book's arrival coincides with the opening of a major
exhibition of more than one hundred years of Alabama folk pottery.
Lavishly illustrated in both black and white and color, and printed in
an attractive, over-sized format, Alabama Folk Pottery is a veritable
treasure trove of information about traditional pottery in the state.
Different sections focus on the historical uses of pottery; the types
and evolution of glazes popular in the state; and the steps involved in
creating pottery, from digging the clay through milling and shaping it,
to firing it in a kiln, and on to marketing and selling the individual
pieces. Brackner also examines how local pottery making varied by region
within the state, why it declined as an industry in the twentieth
century, and how some potters continue to work and thrive today.
A book for anyone interested in how pottery is made, or for anyone who
enjoys hearing stories told by the men and women still making pieces,
Alabama Folk Pottery is a delight. At nearly a square foot in size, and
over 350 pages in length, it's a bargain at $60.00. So whether your
tastes run to the whimsical face jugs sold at Kentuck, or the
utilitarian pieces on display at the Birmingham Museum of Art, you're
sure to enjoy this book.
# # #
Alabama Folk Pottery
by Joey Brackner * Publication date: September 30, 2006
352 pages * 10½" x 12" * 304 illustrations with color insert
ISBN 0-8173-1509-8 * $60.00 hardcover
To order, contact the Chicago Distribution Center * 773-702-7000 *
For additional information, contact: Elizabeth Motherwell *
emother@... * direct line: 205-348-7108