Av’s friend Al Benn wrote a piece about Camden’s Black Belt Treasures in the Montgomery Advertiser last week. Well, BBT is only my favorite shop in all of Alabama so of course (well, and plus my beautiful friend Sulynn is the director) I was just tickled about it.

Al writes that they are now up to 300 artists that have shown in the gallery – and that’s with the requirement that the artists all reside in the Black Belt region of the state.

These are some pics from my last visit, about three weeks before the holidays – pottery (oh the pottery!), baskets, paintings:

Face jugs!:

Quilts, quilts, quilts:

I just got an email from Black Belt Treasures about some classes they will be hosting:

The non-profit gallery and art education facility is kicking off the New Year with four initial offerings – Chair Caning, Ceramics, and two painting classes, Art Escape for adults and Art Zone for youth. Chair Caning is instructed by Joyce Huizinga of Demopolis, who has won many awards and honors for her unique creations and teaches classes to adults and children in America and abroad. Several of her current students have gone on to open their own chair caning businesses. Ceramics classes are being offered by Kristin Law of Camden, who previously taught ceramics and jewelry making at the Hermitage Museum & Gardens Visual Arts School in Norfolk, VA where she also served the Curator of Collections. Kristin, who holds a degree in Ceramics from the University of Montevallo, has received awards for her pottery and sculpture throughout the south. Emilie Nan Oglesby of Monroeville will be teaching painting to both adults and youth through the regionally popular classes Art Escape and Art Zone. A graduate of Auburn University, Emilie Nan Oglesby creates art and teaches art from her Monroeville studio named The Hole In The Wall.

To register for classes, please call (334) 682.9878, email info -AT- blackbelttreasures .DOT. com, or register in person at 209 Claiborne Street in Camden. These classes are made possible by the generous support of the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

It’s all just so very nice and if you’re in that part of the state, you can make a day of it and go to Black Belt Treasures *plus* ride the ferry over to Gee’s Bend.

Okay! One more treasure I have to mention:
Kathryn Tucker-Windham, with tradition, opened her doors to friends, family, and complete strangers on New Year’s Day, feeding anyone who came by blackeyed peas and cornbread. All the guests ate from her china with her silver. What a precious lady. The Selma paper wrote about it and mentioned this theory behind why blackeyed peas are considered good luck:
The tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day started during the Civil War, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Union soldiers swept though the countryside, burning almost everything in their paths. Black-eyed peas were overlooked because they were a staple of a slave diet. Southern slave-owners and slaves turned to the peas for sustenance. The legend of luck from these foods spread from this time in history.

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