So, this week in art class....we have had a little CLAY THERAPY! Our hands are messy and our imaginations are soaring! I taught the students about African American Clay Face Jugs. Did you know that a Lanier Meaders' face jug can be worth up to $30,000 or more! Yep, that is allot of MOOLA $$$$. Mr. Meaders has his work in the Smithsonian. The South Carolina face jug artists are predominantly around Edgefield, S.C. If anyone has any pottery with Dave on it, it can be worth $140,000. He was a slave and his mark is on his work. This my friends is pretty amazing!
Though there are many gaps in historical data regarding the making, use and meaning of the face vessel pottery, there is no doubt that the vessels were original, functional artistic expressions of the African slave culture of the time. This all adds to the mystery of possible deeper meaning of the Face Vessels in the slave culture. Few of the skilled potters who made Face Vessels have been identified by name and their inspiration for making face vessels is really unknown. Researchers speculate that the vessels may have had religious or burial significance, or that they reflect the complex responses of people attempting to live and maintain their personal identities under cruel and often difficult conditions. Face Vessels have been found along the routes of the Underground Railroad and on grave sites, both indicating how highly they were valued and how closely connected they were with the enslaved African American’s own culture. I must admit one of my favorite stories about these vessels is that if the face was CREEPY and scary that usually meant that the adult had hidden moonshine in it! Yep, the thought was if the kids were scared of the jug / pot then they wouldn't want to play with it!
We are in week one of the lesson....check back soon and we will have them fired and glazed! Woop Woop...can't wait to see how they all turn out!