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Contemporary study of traditional Georgia folk pottery

Girl at pottery wheel
Hands forming pottery on pottery wheel
Photos by Mary Bricker

During their six-week FUSE experience, Abigail Thomas and her faculty mentor Jorie Berman researched and documented traditional folk pottery significant to the region of north Georgia. This included interviewing several potters in the region, including fourth-generation potter David Meaders. After compiling the data to gain an understanding of the style and methods, Thomas and Berman collaborated to produce a series of works in direct response to the research.

“Conceptualizing a solid idea and plan for an exhibit, creating a cohesive body of work, booking gallery dates, and meeting various deadlines all within a short period of time has been tremendously beneficial to me in my growth as an artist and as a member of the North Georgia artistic community,” Thomas said.

Following the research phase, Thomas began the working process to stimulate ideas rather than composing a plan beforehand, a decision that allowed for spontaneous creativity that could still be adjusted to the guidelines her research had established earlier.

“We accomplished a great deal in a very short time period because of the focus and energy we could devote to our project,” Berman said. “This experience was rewarding as both a teacher and an artist. I was able to see Abigail progress daily as well as create and respond to the same challenges as she did.”

After successfully completing the creation phase, Thomas and Berman began planning an exhibit to showcase their work alongside historical examples of Georgia folk pottery. This exhibit will be proposed to galleries and art exhibits. They also promoted the work through a press release and website.

“FUSE is a wonderful program to provide such great opportunities for students and faculty alike,” Berman said. “We learned a great deal within our own field and also engaged with faculty and students from other departments to learn about their research.”

To view more, visit their CURCA project website.

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