Alabama Folk Pottery Exhibit

My friend Suzanne (who is an incredible pottery artist) and I went to the “Alabama Folk Pottery” exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art today. We’ve really been looking forward to it and had all kinds of ideas about what might be included in the show.

The museum doesn’t allow pictures to be taken in their special exhibits, so the next two pics are from their press release:

This one above is Bowl, Shop of John Alexander Rogers, (1857-1936), Mark: “J.A. Rogers / Oak Level, Ala.” ca. 1890, 6.5×8.25×8.25 inches, Loan from Ron Countryman.

…and this one, above, is Large jug, Attributed to the Joel Falkner shop, Sterrett (Shelby County), ca. 1870, 18 X 11 X 11 inches, Anonymous loan.

I was so happy to see so many examples of older Alabama pottery – the pottery done by John Frederick Lehman, who moved to Alabama from Germany, was *very* interesting (there’s a pic of one of his pieces in this middle of this page).

The exhibit included pieces from the 1800s through mostly the mid-1900s. We saw Jerry Brown pieces, and a piece or two from the Miller family, but I don’t remember seeing much more than those two more contemporary artists. I have pieces by both of those potters, but I think Suzanne and I both were hoping that since it was a folk pottery exhibit, the museum would have found some other family somewhere in Alabama who had been doing this for generations and generations, more or less undiscovered, that was still going. Well, we loved the exhibit anyway! There’s also a book that goes along with the exhibit, written by Joey Brackner, and I ordered it too (I have to admit, I got it through Amazon – it was almost $23 less than at the museum shop!).

Right next to the pottery exhibit was the “William Christenberry Photographs, 1961-2005” exhibit, and that was excellent, too.

I did take some pics of some of the permanent collection items at the museum:

This is by Lonnie Holley, and it’s called The Pointer Pointing the Way of Life on Earth:

This is one by Mary Lee Bendolph, one of the Gee’s Bend quilters:

What I *did* get at the museum shop is this book, Do We Think Too Much? I Don’t Think We Can Ever Stop about Lonnie Holley and his art from last year’s exhibit:

…AND they had this great Gee’s Bend t-shirt, which I *of course* had to get!!

Last night after visiting the museum, Suzanne and I went to supper and we were talking about football when she mentioned that her parents are big Alabama fans and how when she was little they took her to see Bear Bryant, and she was a little shy to have her picture taken with him but they bribed her with a $5 bill so she did it! hahaha! Well, of course I was like “ohmyGOODNESS!! I am so jealous!”. Anyway, here’s the pic Suzanne when she was a little girl. Isn’t she just precious?

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