Folk Potters Trail of Northeast Georgia | Nacoochee, Georgia
The Folk Potters Trail of Northeast Georgia is a do-it-yourself driving and shopping tour put together by the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia in Sautee-Nacoochee and the Northeast Georgia History Center in Gainesville. It leads to men and women recognized as linked to a 200-year tradition of crafting pottery once essential for household use and now valued and collected as distinctive folk art. It takes you through rural landscapes, along creeks and rivers, and includes homesteads that have been handed down for many generations. Meeting these potters and viewing and collecting their work will connect you to a unique heritage of American and Southern folk art. CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE MAP OF THE FOLK POTTERS TRAIL
Pottery Making Was a Way of Life
Because of its rugged terrain, much of northeast Georgia remained relatively isolated and in a frontier-like situation into the early 20th century. Farming was essential to provide food and shelter. Nearly all residents had to engage in some farming activities to provide for their own families. Until electricity was available for refrigeration and glass containers and other modern conveniences came along, folk pottery was as essential for daily living as shelter. It was necessary in and around the home for preparing, preserving and storing food and drink. Most pottery shops employed several potters to keep up with this demand that came primarily in the fall and during the harvest season. Pottery making became a family business–needing to call on all available hands at busy times, even bringing in part-time help as apprentices. To attract loyal customers, potters developed special shapes, glazes and decoration to distinguish their work. These traditions have been handed down through generations to the present day and are characteristic of the potters featured on this tour.
The folk potters included below are shown on the Folk Potters Trail of Northeast Georgia Map. In addition, Chris Brooks, the director of the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia, has provided the names of retail stores in the northeast Georgia region that sell locally produced pottery. Those are included at the end of the tour, along with addresses and contact information; they are also on the tour map. The Folk Pottery Museum also sells pottery in the Museum Shop.
BEST PLACES TO BEGIN YOUR TOUR
Here's a tour tip: Make your first stop on the tour the Folk Pottery Museum for an overview of the history and culture of folk pottery in Georgia and to see and compare the work of some of the potters on the tour. You can also pick up a copy of the tour brochure from which the tour here was taken. Then launch your driving tour and visit to the local retail outlets. You will be traveling with a better understanding of the history and culture of Georgia folk pottery, and maybe, you already will have seen the work of specific potters that you want to be sure and visit.
Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia
A good place to begin the tour. Displays tell the full story of northeast Georgia folk pottery. The staff can assist you with directions and information. Pick up a brochure showing the tour route. Sautee-Nacoochee Center, 283 Hwy. 255 N, Sautee-Nacoochee. 706-878-3300
Northeast Georgia History Center
This is the southern gateway to the Trail. The Center has an extensive display of northeast Georgia folk pottery in the Francis and Phil Mathis Gallery of Folk Pottery. 322 Academy Street, NE (just off business U.S. 129 in downtown Gainesville), Gainesville. 770-297-5900
FOLK POTTERS OF NORTHEAST GEORGIA
Clint Alderman Pottery
Face jugs, roosters, utilitarian ware. 2281 Beacon Light Road (northwest of Hartwell). 770-377-2858. Please call before visiting. Directions: From Interstate 85, take exit 177, turn right on GA Hwy. 77; follow 8.2 miles to Kelly Road, turn left; follow 1.3 miles to stop sign and dead end at Beacon Light Road; turn left; 1 mile to #2281.
Steve Turpin Pottery
Roosters, animal figures, face jugs. 2500 U.S. Hwy. 441. 706-677-1528. Open Mon-Thu, 9am-4pm. Fri-Sun. Call before visiting. Directions: From Interstate 85 exit at U.S. 441 near Commerce; drive 9 miles north on U.S. 441; 2.2 miles north of GA Hwy. 51, cross divided highway at Berlin Road, turn south, 2nd house on right, pottery at bottom of driveway.
Ring jugs, animal figures, face jugs. 1249 Jennys Cove Road, Cleveland. 706-219-4278. Call before visiting.
Ruby Meaders Irvin
Roosters, hens, baby chicks, doves. 919 Leatherford Road, Cleveland. 706-219-3645. Call before visiting.
Roosters, face jugs, snowpeople. 1563 Post Road, Cleveland. 706-865-2878. Call before visiting.
Small face jugs, chicken and animal pieces; grape glaze designs. 2425 Highway 75 South, Cleveland. 706-865-3960. Call before visiting.
Face jugs, utilitarian ware. 1132 Westmoreland Road, Cleveland. 706-865-3802. Call before visiting.
Reggie Meaders, Flossie Meaders
Churns, pitchers, vases, bowls, owls, roosters, hogs. 9405 Skitts Mountain Drive, Cleveland. 770-983-3260. Call before visiting.
David Meaders, Anita Meaders
Pitchers, jugheads, roosters, utilitarian ware. 9401 Skitts Mountain Drive, Cleveland. 706-892-9784. Call before visiting.
Crocker Pottery, Georgia Folk Pottery Center
Michael Crocker, Melvin Crocker, Pauline Crocker. Face jugs, snake jugs, grape pots, flower vases, utilitarian ware. 6345 W. County Line Road, Lula. 770-869-3160. Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm; call first on Sat. Closed Sun.
Face jugs, utilitarian ware. 669 Sims Harris Road, Gillsville. 706-677-2219. Call before visiting.
Wayne Hewell Pottery
Swirl pottery, pitchers, utilitarian ware. 415 Bell Road (off Sims Harris Road), Lula. 706-677-3996 or 770-530-5677. Call before visiting.
Face jugs, utilitarian ware. 529 Bell Road (off Sims Harris Road), Lula. 706-677-5287. Call before visiting.
Teapots, coffee pots, face jugs. 7703 W. County Line Road, Lula. 706-677-4328 or 706-677-1385. Call before visiting.
Hewell's Pottery, Chester Hewell, Harold Hewell, Grace Hewell, Nathanial Hewell, Matthew Hewell, Eli Hewell
Face jugs, rooster bowls, grape pots, utilitarian ware.6035 Georgia Hwy. 52, Gillsville. 770-869-3469. Mon-Thu 7:30am-5pm; Fri-Sat, 7:30am-4pm; closed Sunday.
Mary Ferguson, Stanley Ferguson
Face jugs, roosters, pigs, jugs with snakes and spiders. 7468 Old Gillsville Road, Gillsville. 770-869-3262. Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm; Sun 1-5pm.
Dwayne Crocker Folk Pottery
Roosters, face jugs, decorated ware. 6717 Diamond Hill Road, Gillsville. 770-869-0088. Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm; Sat noon-4pm; closed Sun.
RETAIL OUTLETS CARRYING GEORGIA FOLK POTTERY
Folk Pottery Museum of North Georgia director Chris Brooks recommends these retail outlets for viewing and purchasing northeast Georgia folk pottery.
2047C Helen Highway (GA Hwy 75N), Cleveland. 706-348-8236
15 Courthouse Square, Cleveland. 706-865-2713
Little Bit of Everything
Just off the square in Cleveland. 56 Bell Street, Cleveland. 706-348-7312
150 Burton Dam Road (GA Hwy. 197), Clarkesville. 706-947-1351.
In addition to the folk potters on the tour and retail outlets that sell folk pottery, Chris also recommends these studio potters in the area.
Mark of the Potter
9982 GA Hwy. 197N, Clarkesville. 706-947-3440.
2319 Duncan Bridge Road, Sautee. 706-865-4048.
Hickory Flat Pottery
13664 GA Hwy 197 N, Clarkesville. 706-947-0030.
Willows Pottery Nacoochee
The Willows Pottery is a working studio featuring decorative, functional stoneware pottery, including mugs, serving pieces, accessories, custom dinnerware sets and handmade vessel sinks. 7275 South Main Street, Helen. 706-878-1344.
CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE MAP OF THE FOLK POTTERS TRAIL This do-it-yourself driving tour and map of the Folk Potters Trail of Northeast Georgia, includes the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia in Sautee-Nacoochee and the Northeast Georgia History Center in Gainesville, as well as retail outlets and galleries where folk pottery can be purchased.
Tagged with: Pottery in Georgia Tours in Georgia Potters in Georgia
Interview with John Burrison, curator of the Georgia Folk Pottery Museum
John Burrison is a nationally known expert on folklore and folk pottery. He is a professor at Georgia State University as well as the curator of the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia. He was interviewed at the Folk Life Festival at Sautee Nacoochee Center, September 3, 2011. Produced by Sherri Smith Brown
Interview with Georgia folk potter Mike Craven
Georgia folk potter Mike Craven interviewed at the Folk Life Festival at the Sautee Nacoochee Center. The Interview was conducted in the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia. Produced by Sherri Smith Brown
Interview with Georgia folk potter Steve Turpin
Georgia folk potter Steve Turpin interviewed at the Folk Life Festival at the Sautee Nacoochee Center, September 3, 2011. The interview was conducted in the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia. Produced by Sherri Smith Brown
Interview with Welchel Meaders, a 4th generation Georgia folk potter
Georgia folk potter Welchel Meaders interviewed at the Folk Life Festival at the Sautee Nacoochee Center, September 3, 2011. The Interview was conducted in the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia. Produced by Sherri Smith Brown
Interested in folk pottery? In this BG, EXPERIENCE IT! editorial package, you’ll find everything except a potter’s wheel and a do-it-yourself manual. Take a self-guided driving