South Carolina, with its rich clay deposits, is the home to two different, but very important ceramic traditions - Catawba earthenware and alkaline-glazed stoneware. Before European contact in the 16th century, the Catawba Nation controlled much of what is now South Carolina and most of the North Carolina Piedmont. This tradition has continued through elder potters sharing their knowledge and skills with younger generations. While their techniques remain ancient, they have adapted their forms to changing markets. Kinship and community were also important in the development and diffusion of the alkaline-glazed stoneware tradition during the nineteenth century. Using European and African forms and labor the Edgefield, South Carolina, potteries produced containers used primarily for food preservation and preparation. As some potters migrated west and to other areas in the southeast, they spread the alkaline-glazed tradition into Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi.
Content is provided by McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina.