June 8, 2016

Face Jug Workshops at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum

June 24, 2016 two sessions: 1:00-3:00 PM and 5:30-7:30 PM at The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, 159 Chestnut Street in Blowing Rock NCFace Jug Workshops with Michael Ball.

In “Decorate a Face Jug,” participants will explore the elements of traditional face jugs. Then, participants will customize a blank jug (formed by Michael) with features such as broken plate teeth and glaring eyes. Jugs will then be fired and glazed back at Michael’s studio, and returned to the museum for participants to take home. 

The tradition of face jugs dates back well over a hundred years, when potters began adding snakes, and devilish facial features to jugs used to store liquor. These are thought to have served as a deterrent to household children who might otherwise be tempted to sample the jug contents. Earlier face jugs were used as grave markers for African descendants. These were created with frightening features to scare the devil away from a grave.

Today, face jugs are a rich part of Southern Appalachian and Piedmont tradition. Michael Ball lives and works in Western North Carolina, home to rich traditions in the making of pottery. Many potters including Mike, are still hand digging their clay and wood firing in groundhog kilns, just as potters did in the 19th century. Mike learned his trade both from Kim Ellington and Charlie Lisk who in turn learned directly from local master Burlon Craig, the last potter experienced in the earliest traditions of the region. 

Mike's face jugs are expressive, each one unique in its facial features and fanciful flair. Following local tradition, he incorporates beautiful glass drips and uses broken plates for teeth. Mike also creates an assortment of utilitarian ware. This workshop is a special chance to work closely with a well-known, master potter and to craft your own personal face jug. 

Registration for these workshops will close this upcoming Monday, June 13th! Please call 828.295.9099 to reserve your spot  THIS WEEK!


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