Friday, March 9, 2012

Burlon Craig large face vessel

Burlon Craig was a potter from Vale, N.C., who began making face jugs in the late 1970s. In 1984 he was named a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow because of the beautiful pottery he created using traditional methods. The NEA describes Craig's technique this way: "Craig shoveled his clay from the bottomland along the South Fork of the Catawba River, and then trucked it home to grind it in a pug mill. Next, he turned his jugs, jars, pitchers, and other forms on his foot-powered treadle wheel, pulling up the walls of the pots as he pumped the flywheel with his left foot. His alkaline glazes were made from local materials — usually crushed glass bottles, wood ashes, iron cinders, water and clay — and then finely ground in a hand-turned, water-powered stone mill. Finally, he 'burned' his wares in a huge wood-fired groundhog kiln, a long and arduous task lasting eight to 10 hours." The description continues: "There is a purity to Craig's work: His shapes are elegant, the textures of his glazes rich and earthy. His long experience shows in the deceptively simple forms he has favored." The blue tint often seen in Craig's pottery is from the titanium oxide found in the clay near the Catawba River. Craig died in 2002 at age 88. This vessel is 15.6 inches tall.

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