Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia
The Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia is a unique resource unlike any in the southeast. It showcases the handcraft skills of one of the South’s premier grassroots art forms, folk pottery. Some of the pieces in the museum’s collection, dating from the 1840s, stand 4 feet tall. All the work on display is awe-inspiring in its functionality and often reflects the humor of life.
A major purpose of the Folk Pottery Museum is to provide a space where folk pottery from across north Georgia can be seen at one time. The collection is complemented by audio-visual presentations, programs, demonstrations by local potters, seminars and special tours. Dr. John Burrison, Georgia State University folklorist and author of Brothers in Clay: the Story of Georgia Folk Pottery, serves as Curator of the Museum. He notes that “Northeast Georgia is one of the few areas of the United States with a living, and thriving, tradition of folk pottery…the Museum interprets both the artistic and historic dimensions of this heritage, offering a unique understanding of the importance of craftsmanship in the lives of ordinary Southerners of both the past and present.”
According to Dr. Burrison’s research, north Georgia’s pottery tradition was, and still is, concentrated in two communities near the Sautee-Nacoochee Valley location of the Museum: Mossy Creek south of Cleveland in White County and Gillsville, just north of Gainesville in Hall County. Visitors enthused after a visit to the Folk Pottery Museum will find a variety of shops and galleries nearby to follow-up their interests.
“Education and preservation are our main goals,” said Museum benefactor Kay Swanson, who fondly recalled her first exposure to northeast Georgia folk potters as a child while accompanying her dad on what he called “over the mountain rambles” in his 1939 Dodge. “Sometimes we take for granted that these things will be here for our grandchildren,” she concluded, “and we shouldn’t.”
The Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia welcomes all. It is open year-round and is free of charge.
Monday – Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM Sunday 1 – 5 PM