Sara Ayers

Sara Ayers was a highly accomplished Catawba potter who exemplified the major artistic tradition of South Carolina's earliest residents. Daughter of David A. Harris, chief of the Catawba Nation from 1905 to 1917, Ayers learned to make pottery from her sisters and under the influence of her grandmother.  She made pottery in the traditional Catawban manner, gathering several types of clay in locations that have been the customary digging sites for generations. She formed the pieces by hand and rubbed them smooth using stones and tools that were used by her grandmother. 

Ayers' skill allowed her to build the large wedding jugs, water jugs, and cooking vessels in which her grandmother and earlier Catawba potters excelled. She also decorated her pottery with animal effigies and faces that are traditional within her family and community.  For over 40 years she and her husband, Foxx Ayers, also a Catawba, sold Catawba pottery to people in South Carolina and other eastern states. Ayers passed away in 2002. Ayers received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 1989.

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Photo of Sara Ayers holding a piece of her pottery