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Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina

Spinozzi, Adrienne, with contributions by Michael J. Bramwell, Vincent Brown, Katherine C. Hughes, Ethan W. Lasser, Simone Leigh, and Jason R. Young
2022
200 pages
154 illustrations
8 x 10 in.
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A reckoning of the central role of enslaved and free Black potters in the long-standing stoneware traditions of Edgefield, South Carolina

Recentering the development of industrially scaled Southern pottery traditions around enslaved and free Black potters working in the mid-nineteenth century, this catalogue presents groundbreaking scholarship and new perspectives on stoneware made in Edgefield, South Carolina. Among the remarkable works included are a selection of regional face vessels as well as masterpieces by enslaved potter and poet David Drake, who signed, dated, and incised verses on many of his jars, even though literacy among enslaved people was criminalized at the time. Essays on the production, collection, dispersal, and reception of stoneware from Edgefield offer a critical look at what it means to collect, exhibit, and interpret objects made by enslaved artisans. Several featured contemporary works inspired by or related to Edgefield stoneware attest to the cultural and historical significance of this body of work, and an interview with acclaimed contemporary artist Simone Leigh illuminates its continued relevance.

The Last Moments of John Brown, Thomas Hovenden  American, born Ireland, Oil on canvas, American
1882–84
John Brown, John Steuart Curry  American, Oil on canvas
1939
Large Storage Jar (Ōtsubo), Stoneware with natural ash glaze (Tokoname ware), Japan
Japan
16th century
"An Aesthetic Darkey" from the "Aiken and Vicinity" series, James A. Palmer  Irish-American, Albumen silver print from glass negative, American
1882
"The Wilde Woman of Aiken," from the "Aiken and Vicinity" series, James A. Palmer  Irish-American, Albumen silver print from glass negative, American
1882
Mangaaka Power Figure (Nkisi N’Kondi), Kongo artist and nganga, Yombe group, Wood, iron, resin, ceramic, plant fiber, textile, pigment, Kongo
Second half of the 19th century
Untitled, Magdalene Odundo  British, Red clay
1997
Unrecorded  Edgefield District potter  American, Alkaline-glazed stoneware with kaolin slip
Multiple artists/makers
ca. 1850
Unrecorded  Edgefield District potter  American, Alkaline-glazed stoneware with kaolin, American
ca. 1867–85
Dave (later recorded as David Drake) ; made at Stony Bluff Manufactory, Old Edgefield District, Sout American, Alkaline-glazed stoneware, American
1858
Unrecorded  Edgefield District potter  American, Alkaline-glazed stoneware with kaolin, American
ca. 1850–80
Unrecorded  Edgefield District potter  American, Alkaline-glazed stoneware with kaolin, American
ca. 1850–80

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Spinozzi, Adrienne, Vincent Brown, Michael J. Bramwell, Ethan W. Lasser, Jason R. Young, Simone Leigh, Dave, et al., eds. 2022. Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.