African American Ceramics Of The 1800s And African Ceramics Of A Contemporary Style

911 words - 4 pages

One of the more famous African American potters during the Civil War times in the United States was David Drake (Burrison, 2012). Until he became emancipated he was known simply as Dave or Dave the Slave (Burrison, 2012). In 1801, Dave was born in the United States under his first owner Harvey Drake (Burrison, 2012). Harvey Drake is the most probable person to have taught young Dave how to read and write because of his belief that God gave him the responsibility to help his servants, or slaves how to read the word of God (Burrison, 2012). Many of his pieces are signed and dated, some have short facts about the piece, and others have short poems (Burrison, 2012). The words written on the pottery seems to have been inscribed while it was barely damp greenware (Burrison, 2012). Harvey Drake died in 1832 and in 1834, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a regulation that made it illegal for slaves to be taught how to read and write (Burrison, 2012). In 1840, after passing from one master to another Dave was finally given to Lewis Miles (Burrison, 2012). Dave was one of the few enslaved potters to be allowed to sign the ceramic pieces he produced during his enslavement under Lewis Miles (Burrison, 2012). On one piece Dave inscribed the words "LM says handle will crack" (Chaney). These words mean much more than what is written. It shows that Dave knew what he was doing and possibly even knew more than his master LM, Lewis Miles (Chaney). It seemed that Dave who was an enslaved man was the master, and his master was the fool because the handle, to date, has never cracked (Burrison, 2012). Dave Drake continued to sign his name and sometimes writing poetry on his pottery even though the law had been passed that made it illegal (Burrison, 2012). The piece looked at in class was a stoneware vessel signed and dated by Dave the Slave in 1856 (Image ID: 5LI5). The vessel coated in a brown glaze that almost gives the piece a gritty look with dripping going from the rim down the side of the vessel almost like honey dripping from a pot.

Magdalene Odundo was born in 1950 in Nairobi, Kenya (British Museum, 2000). In 1971, Odundo moved to Britain and began training to become a graphic designer (Slayter-Ralph). The Odundo began going to school to learn about ceramics (British Museum, 2000). Between 1973 and 1976, Odundo attended West Surrey College of Art and Design and recieved her bachelor's degree (Slayter-Ralph). Then in 1976, she began teaching in London at the Commonwealth Institute for 3 years (Slayter-Ralph). Odundo began pursuing her master's degree at the Royal College of Art in...

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