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Alabama Folk Pottery Exhibition
Bowl, Shop of John Alexander Rogers, (1857-1936), Mark: "J.A. Rogers / Oak Level, Ala." ca. 1890, 6.5x8.25x8.25 inches, Loan from Ron Countryman.
BIRMINGHAM, AL.- The exhibition Alabama Folk Pottery, on view at the Birmingham Museum of Art from October 1 through January 2, 2007, traces the evolution of the Alabama pottery tradition from the early historic period through the mid-twentieth century. Guest curator, Joey Brackner, Director of the Alabama Center for Traditional Culture, a division of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, has invested more than twenty years in the research of Alabama folk potters culminating in a book titled Alabama Folk Pottery published by The University of Alabama Press. The exhibition and book present a comprehensive overview of Alabama’s traditional pottery heritage.

“My research is based on historical records, interviews with traditional potters and their descendants and an analysis of the pottery itself,” explains Brackner. “The work of Alabama folk potters reflects the many cultural influences that have come together in Alabama over the last two hundred years. During that time, the state developed several unique pottery regions and produced individual potters with enormous skill and creativity.”

Based on Brackner’s findings, the exhibition will follow three major threads: migration, diffusion of knowledge, and the establishment of pottery regions in historic Alabama; the importance of kinship in the formation of distinct traditions; and artistry, creativity, and craftsmanship.

The approximately 70 pieces of 19th- and 20th-century Alabama pottery will be accompanied by period maps and photographs. Anne Forschler-Tarrasch, Ph.D., the Museum’s Marguerite Jones Harbert and John M. Harbert III Curator of Decorative Arts, is excited the museum is hosting this first major exhibition of Alabama pottery. “The exhibition will bring together objects from throughout the state for the first time,” she explains. “We are thrilled that Joey Brackner is curating the exhibition because he is the foremost expert in the field.”

Also planned is an array of programming beginning with the Southern Pottery Symposium, a gathering of professionals and collectors from across the region. The exhibition is sponsored in part by The Birmingham News, the City of Birmingham and the Cultural Alliance.

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