Size: 8.5 x 11
Pages: 228
Illustrations: 40 b&w photos, 55 color photos

Art & Photography
African American Studies
South Carolina History & Culture
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The Words and Wares of David Drake

Revisiting "I Made This Jar" and the Legacy of Edgefield Pottery

edited by Jill Beute Koverman and Jane Przybysz

Published: Feb 6 2024




Published: Feb 6 2024

OA Ebook
Published: Feb 6 2024


The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

A celebration of the remarkable poem vessels of Dave the Potter

David Drake, who often signed his work simply as "Dave," was an enslaved potter who lived and worked in Edgefield District, South Carolina. Despite laws prohibiting
enslaved people from learning to read or write, Drake was literate and signed some of his pots. His practice was not only to add his name and a date but also to embellish his work with commentary or verse—a powerful statement of resistance.

The Words and Wares of David Drake collects multifaceted scholarship about David and his craft. Building on the 1998 national traveling exhibit catalog, I Made This Jar: The Life and Works of Enslaved African-American Potter, Dave, and featuring more than one hundred beautiful images and six new essays, this authoritative volume presents the diverse perspectives of scholars, artists, and collectors.

The Words and Wares of David Drake adds important depth and context to our understanding of both Edgefield pottery and Drake's life.

David's work is now so highly prized it is the cornerstone of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's traveling exhibit of nineteenth-century ceramic art from Edgefield.
• Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (September 8, 2022-February 5, 2023)
• Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (March 6, 2023-July 9, 2023)
• University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor (August 26, 2023-January 7, 2024)
• High Museum of Art, Atlanta (February 16, 2024-May 12, 2024)

Jane Przybysz has served as executive director of McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina since 2011. She lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

Jill Beute Koverman was chief curator of collections at the McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina when she died in 2013.

"Much of what the world knows about the enslaved Edgefield potter, artist, and poet David 'Dave' Drake is the direct result of ceramic scholar Jill Koverman's original 1998 groundbreaking publication. This updated and greatly expanded volume—with essays contributed by a legion of Koverman's acolytes—now reflects the most comprehensive thinking on Dave and his important place in American social history and culture. It is essential reading for all students of American ceramics history."—Robert Hunter, coeditor, Ceramics in America

"Combining exceptional potting skills with inscribed verses, names, dates, and symbols, David 'Dave' Drake is recognized as one of the most consequential Black artisans of the nineteenth century. This collection of essays sheds light on Dave's life and pottery and is a valuable contribution to our understanding of Southern folk art and Black potters of the Edgefield District."—J. W. Joseph, PhD, RPA, New South Associates, Inc.

"Like I Made This Jar before it, The Words and Wares of David Drake presents an excellent spectrum of perspectives attesting to African American creativity, perseverance, and accomplishment. Artists and experts present new, distinct, and fascinating insights into David Drake's intellect and artistry within cross-currents of African, European, and Asian legacies."—Christopher Fennell, professor of anthropology and law, University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign, author of The Archaeology of Craft and Industry,and founding editor, Journal of AfricanDiaspora Archaeology and Heritage

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