The 2013-14 special exhibit at the
Folk Pottery Museum features pieces of middle Georgia stoneware from the collection of Tommy and Sheila Gandy.
The Folk Pottery Museum wishes to thank the Gandy family for their generosity in sharing their collection through this exhibit.
Tommy began collecting salt glazed water coolers
from the Northeast and eventually became interested in the wares of the Edgefield District of South
Carolina. While researching the pieces he was collecting, he discovered the stoneware traditions
of his native state and vowed to pursue pieces from two of the earliest Georgia pottery centers,
Washington and Crawford counties. Among his favorite forms are large double-handled syrup jugs,
utilitarian bowls and pitchers, small jugs and unusual pieces like spittoons.
A brief history of the Middle Georgia Pottery tradition as an introduction to the 2013-14 exhibit by John Burrison
Middle Georgia's stoneware tradition arose about the same time as Northeast Georgia's, or perhaps
a few years earlier. While pioneer potters of Mossy Creek in White County had North Carolina origins,
those of Middle Georgia began across the Savannah River in the old Edgefield District of South
Cyrus Cogburn and Abraham Massey worked in the Edgefield shops of brothers Abner and John Landrum, who in about
1810 had developed the woodash- and lime-based alkaline glazes that we now think of as
characteristic for Southern stoneware. By 1818 Cogburn and Massey had moved to Washington
County, where the 1820 Manufacturing Census lists them as "Stone ware manufacturers" producing
"Jugs, Jars, Coffee boilers, etc". The two pioneer shops were active for at least a decade, employing others
who would carry on as the next generation of Washington County potters.
Potters James Long and John Becham migrated from Washington County to eastern Crawford County
(about ten miles west of Macon) in the late 1820s, establishing the first shops in what would become
Middle Georgia's largest pottery center and beginning two "clay clans" that would rival those of North
Georgia. Crawford County glazes are among the most beautiful to be seen on Georgia folk pottery.
In the 1860s the potters began to mark their work in a locally distinctive way by stamping their initials in
relief at the top of the loop handles.
The collection of Tommy Gandy, from which this exhibit is selected, emphasizes Washington and
Crawford County wares. But there was a third Middle Georgia pottery center, appropriately named
Jugtown, on the Upson-Pike County line near Thomaston.
The Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia is located four miles southeast of Alpine Helen on Georgia Highway
255 in Sautee Nacoochee, ¼ mile north of the junction with Georgia Highway 17.
The Museum is open Monday-Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday 1-5 pm. Admission is $5 adults, $4 seniors, $2 children. For
further information contact email@example.com or telephone 706-878-3300.