Based on 20 years' research and experience with potters and their wares, folklorist Joey Brackner presents a definitive, comprehensive survey of folk potters and the folk pottery tradition in Alabama from the early historic period to the present. Illustrated with hundreds of color and black-and-white photographs, the book examines much admired and sought-after ceramics (such as crocks, face jugs, bowls, churns, and garden pottery) appreciated the world over for their originality, beauty, and utility. The book's publication coincides with a major exhibition of Alabama folk pottery curated by Brackner and set to open at the Birmingham Museum of Art September 30, 2006. This volume places historic Alabama pottery making into a national and international context and describes the technologies that distinguish Alabama potters from the rest of the southeast. It explains how a blending and borrowing among cultural groups that settled the state nurtured its rich regional traditions.
In addition to providing a detailed discussion of pottery types, clays, glazes, slips, and firing methods, "Alabama Folk Pottery" presents a geographic survey of the state's pottery regions with a comprehensive list of Alabama folk potters, historic and contemporary - a valuable resource for collectors, scholars, and curators. Most important, in the pages and photographs of "Alabama Folk Pottery", Brackner introduces - largely through their own words - the dynamic communities and families of Alabama potters who have carefully and proudly passed on their methods and styles from generation to generation. As Mobile archaeologist, Greg Waselkov declares, "Alabama Folk Pottery reveals the humanity behind the artistry and the technical sophistication of this historic craft. Starting with magnificent ceramic churns, jugs, braziers, and grave markers found today largely in museums and private collections, this book pieces together the story of the talented men and women who have transformed Alabama clay into objects of great functionality, beauty, and personal expression."