AUBURN – The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University will open a new exhibition, “Bacon Level, Hickory Flat, and the Illustrious Potteries of Randolph and Chambers Counties, Alabama,” to be on display from Aug. 6 – Nov. 26 in Gallery C.
From the mid-19th through the early 20th century, a collection of neighboring towns in southern Randolph County and northern Chambers County was home to some of the South’s foremost potteries. The high-quality clays native to that area attracted numerous pottery-making families who emigrated from South Carolina and Georgia following the opening of Creek territories in east Alabama.
The museum’s exhibition draws attention to the area’s potters and their achievements and sheds light on an important chapter in Alabama history.
Shops in communities such as Rock Mills, Bacon Level, Cedric and Hickory Flat produced an abundance of distinctive ceramic vessels that were purchased by settlers in Alabama and travelers across the state. These carefully handcrafted items were used as household implements for food storage and preparation and as highly decorated objects of fancy.
Well regarded in their day, the Randolph-Chambers potteries have since been overshadowed by more familiar sites in Edgefield, SC; Catawba Valley, NC; and north Georgia.
Organized by the museum with the assistance of collector Gary Price, the exhibition celebrates the work of William Hudson Boggs, “Charley” Brown, Cicero Demosthenes Hudson, John Frederick Lehman, John Davis Leopard, William Davis Pound, Zachary Taylor Ussery, Jesse James Weathers and several others who left a colorful legacy of ceramic production.
Price will give a gallery talk about the pottery Saturday, Aug. 20, at 10a.m.
For more information about the museum or this exhibition, go to http://jcsm.auburn.edu/index.php or call (334) 844-1484.
(Contributed by Colleen Bourdeau.)
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