American Folk Art & Framing’s “Second Annual Face Jug Show,” April 3-23
Living Southern Cultural Icons.
Highly anticipated by collectors, American Folk Art has assembled a wild and wonderful collection of regional face jugs for its second annual Face Jug Show. Coincidence or not, the show opens on April Fool’s Day this year. Lore has it that April Fool’s day sprang out of calenderic changes of the 16th – 17th centuries… with traditions linking this time of year to merriment and tomfoolery dating all the way back to antiquity. With our own notion of tomfoolery….merriment….general mischief and mayhem…we bring you American Folk Art’s Second Annual Face Jug Show.
With help from the likes of the most creative and renowned face jug potters of our region; Kim Ellington, Stacy Lambert, A.V. Smith, Walter Fleming, Wayne Hewell, Mike Ball, and Charlie Brown, we are delighted to celebrate and honor the tradition of Face Jugs.
A bit of background on the tradition of Face Jugs:
The use of pottery containers can be traced back to the Roman Empire. In a region like ours, where histories are often oral, tracing the origins of our traditions is tricky. Face jugs are one of the traditions that are an amalgam of many cultural influences.
Amongst that rich history is the port of Charleston; the African tradition of using jug pots as headstones was brought to our culture through this port. Highly prized red glaze recipes from China also made their way to our region from the Charleston port. And even from the pubs of England came a long history and influence through their ever-charming Toby mugs.
Face jugs combine the utilitarian influences of early regional pottery with the unique imagination of individual pottery makers. In the mountains of Georgia, and the Catawba Valley, North Carolina, ugly faces, snakes and devils were added to Market Jugs beginning in the late 1800’s. These embellished pots were used to buy & store liquor; the ominous features would scare children so they would not be tempted to try the contents.
“Face jug makers are an expressive lot; because they know this is an annual event, many have pushed their boundaries. I gotta say I’ve encouraged that,” declares Betsey-Rose Weiss, owner of American Folk.