Catawba pottery is recognized as one of the oldest and purest traditional art forms in America. Potters such as Billie Anne McKellar, a fourth generation potter, are often ancestors of a long line of Catawba potters. Transfer of tradition through a family line is a critical step in retaining the purity of the form.
Clay digging, preparation, building, scraping, rubbing, burning and finishing techniques remain relatively unchanged throughout centuries of the Catawba tradition. Styles of pottery range from pre-colonial, to European influenced, to original or contemporary designs. Master potters are generally elders of the community who learn and become comfortable with tribal traditional forms as they develop their own unique style.