tour info
folk potters trail
sautee nacoochee center

Folk Pottery Museum
Photo by Rob Karosis © 2006-2007

The Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia showcases the handcraft skills of one of the South’s premier grassroots art forms, and explores the historical importance and changing role of folk pottery in southern life.

Lanier Meaders face jug Northeast Georgia’s pottery tradition is nationally known. The Meaders family of White County was featured in Allen Eaton’s 1937 book, Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands, and was honored with a special event at the Library of Congress in 1978, when the Smithsonian Institution’s documentary film on the Meaders Pottery was released.

In the year 2000, northeast Georgia received a Library of Congress "Local Legacies" designation for its pottery heritage. The tradition also has been featured in magazines, books, videos, exhibits, and festivals such as the Southern Crossroads Marketplace at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Until now there’s been no institution devoted to Northeast Georgia folk pottery, not even in its home area. Dean and Kay Swanson, former owners of the Standard Telephone Company, have committed to erect this museum as their way of giving back to the people of the area. Collector and folk potter Michael Crocker helped them assemble the core collection on which this exhibition is based.

FOLK POTTERY SHOW AND SALE Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia will hold its sixth annual Show and Sale on Saturday, August 30, also marking the Museum's eighth anniversary as the only museum in the southeastern United States devoted exclusively to displaying the 200-year heritage of folk pottery. The event will operate from 10 am to 4 pm throughout the Museum and the campus of the Sautee Nacoochee Community Center, where the Museum is located.

“We will present northeast Georgia folk potters in the historic gymnasium and have studio, art and self-taught potters from the region on the grounds,” announced Museum Director Chris Brooks. “Lunch and refreshments will be available, and there will be music throughout the day. Our Heritage Site will feature the only known restored slave cabin in the northeast Georgia mountains, with demonstrations of 19th-century skills. This year we offer a new heritage attraction, a working blacksmith forge and shop.”

Featured this year are the African-American functional ware potters Winton and Rosa Eugene at the Heritage Site along with the other folk craft demonstrations.

Winton and Rosa Eugene


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 Carolina.

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 cbrooks@snca.org or telephone 706-878-3300.

Folk Pottery exhibit
Folk Pottery exhibit
Folk Pottery exhibit

Folk Pottery Museum Brochure

View/download our brochure, pages 1 and 2:
Folk Pottery Museum.pdf

Around the Museum

Folk Pottery Museum Sign

Folk Pottery Museum

Folk Pottery Museum

Photos by Rob Karosis © 2006-2007


Currently on Loan from the National Museum of the American Indian

Nacoochee Bowl



This ceramic bowl was excavated in 1916 by the Smithsonian Institution and the Heye Foundation (Museum of the American Indian) from the Nacoochee Indian mound at the junction of Georgia Highways 17 and 75, just 2 miles from the Folk Pottery Museum, and housed in New York and Washington with other Smithsonian collections. The Nacoochee mound site dates from the 1400s, late in the mound-building culture of the Mississipians, making the bowl more than 600 years old. The bowl is now on special loan for display at the new Folk Pottery Museum. The upper portion of the design is incised, while the lower design pattern was pressed into wet clay with a carved wooden paddle.

From the Permanent Collection

Edwin Meaders figural rooster
Figural rooster,
Edwin Meaders,
White County

R V (Russell Vann) DELAY
(signed using his maker’s mark stamp)
Jackson (now Barrow) County,
ca. 1870

Pictured at the top of the page:


Top Left: Decorated syrup jug, Cleater Meaders, Sr.,
White County, circa 1920s


Left Below: Face jug, (rock tooth), Lanier Meaders,
his first production style, 1969


Folk Potters trail featured on Brown's Guide


Brown's Guide to Georgia - Folk Potters of Northeast Georgia

The folk potters included below are shown on the Folk Potters Trail of Northeast Georgia Map. In addition, Chris Brooks, the director of the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia, has provided the names of retail stores in the northeast Georgia region that sell locally produced pottery, and those are included at the end of the tour, along with addresses and contact information; they are also on the tour map. The Folk Pottery Museum also sells pottery in the Museum Shop.

Folk Pottery Museum in videos . . .
Channel Icon


YouTube - Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia
Copyright 2008

A short video presentation on the history of folk pottery in Northeast Georgia
and an introduction to the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia.

travelogue link


PBS - Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia

A travelogue by Tennessee Valley Public Broadcasting



FPM Logo
Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia
Sautee Nacoochee Center
P.O. Box 460
Sautee Nacoochee, GA 30571
283 Hwy 255 N
Four miles southeast of Alpine Helen
706-878-3300 ext 307
Folk Pottery Museum Director, Chris Brooks

NOTE: Please address all mail to our P.O. Box. 460
Our street address is provided for the purpose of driving directions only.

Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday, 1 – 5 pm
Check opening hours on major public holidays by calling 706-878-3300

$5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $2 for children.

Sautee Nacoochee Center For a Visit to Sautee Nacoochee Center Click Here

Nestled in the Appalachian foothills of Northeast Georgia, the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing creativity and protecting the natural and historical resources of the Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys and surrounding area. The SNCA maintains Sautee Nacoochee Center, a thriving cultural and community center housed in a restored rural schoolhouse, offering a Folk Pottery Museum, Theatre, Gallery, Art Studio, History Museum, Heritage Site, Nature Preserve, Environmental Studies Room, and Conference Facilities. The Association has established Sautee Nacoochee as an official Historic District and one of "The 100 Best Small Arts Towns in America."

home | news | tour info | directions | contact | folk potters trail | sautee nacoochee center

Sautee Nacoochee Center
Copyright © 2013 Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia and Sautee Nacoochee Community Association, Inc. All rights reserved.
No images on this page may be reproduced without the explicit permission of the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia.
Photos by Rob Karosis copyright © 2007 Rob Karosis. All rights reserved.
Photo credits: David Greear Silver Image Studio

  Folk Potters Trail