Due recognition has come slowly to the Catawba potters. The signing of Catawba pottery vessels is a relatively recent practice, and today collectors expect to see signatures on the bottom of the vessels they purchase. As is often the case, however, even the most modern Catawba innovations often have deep roots that reach into the past. Some Catawba began to write on the bottom of their vessels following the Civil War.
To date, the oldest example of a signed Catawba pot was found on the old Head family home site by Betty Blue. The signature consists of an awkward and misspelled attempt to put the word "Indian" on the bottom of a small water jar. So abstract and oddly placed is the word "inian" that it is difficult to decode it at first glance. Most likely the work of Martha or Pinckney Head, the vessel dates from some time between the Civil War and 1883 when the Heads removed to Colorado.
The signing of pottery may be directly linked to the first museum collections that were developed in 1884 when Edward Palmer gathered Catawba pottery examples for the Smithsonian Institution (then the National Museum). Palmer took his work seriously, and his arrival, with his professional interest and money to purchase, must have impressed the Catawba potters. The concept of the attribution of Indian arts was vague. The American people, including academics, had not begun to think of the Indians as individuals, and the Catawba were lucky to be called by their tribal tag. The Indians apparently acquiesced in remaining nearly anonymous tribal members. The knowledge that museum staff members collected their pottery for study has always filled the potters with pride. At the time, much, but not all, of what the Catawba produced was utilitarian ware that was used and discarded. With this fact in mind, the Catawba may have been amused by Palmer's purposes. The records are silent on the issue.
Unfortunately, museum documentation was in a developmental stage in 1884. For instance, at the turn of the century, Mann S. Valentine collected a number of fine utilitarian vessels for the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia, from Sallie Wahoo, a Catawba potter who lived among the Cherokee. Valentine neglected to obtain the potter's name and mislabeled the vessels as being the work of "a Cherokee squaw." Similarly, when A. I. Robertson began the University of South Carolina collection in 1908 (Fort Mill Times, 19 March 1908:2; Rock Hill Herald, 6 March 1908), she probably obtained examples from the work of Sarah Jane Ayers Harris. The unidentified pottery was merely put on the shelf. Most South Carolinians could identify the wares as Catawba in origin. Eventually, the vessels collected by Robertson were stored in the attic at the Caroliniana Library, where they remained apparently neglected for almost 50 years. Fortunately, one water jug contained a scrap of paper stating that it had been collected by Robertson. No mention was made of the potter. If acquisition records exist, they were not with the vessel in 1977. The Confederate Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, possesses a small but very fine pot labeled as the work of a nameless widow of a Catawba Indian Confederate veteran. The potter's name might have been Sarah Jane Harris, Nancy Harris, or Elizabeth Harris, to name three pottery makers of the time who were the widows of Confederate veterans. Since the entire male population of the Catawba Nation (14 men) fought for the Confederacy and most of these died, there were too many possible widows to make conjecture (Lake 1955; Blumer 1995b).
W. R. Simpson started his collection early in the twentieth century when documentation was hardly considered (Williams 1928). He had a very good eye for the best of Catawba pottery and assembled a fine array. As a rule, he failed to keep acquisition records, but on occasion he wrote the potter's name on the bottom of the vessel in pencil. As a result, he documented several exceptional vessels from two important nineteenth-century potters, Mary Harris and Martha Jane Harris. Simpson began to see the individual potters as holders of unique skills; however, most of the fine vessels he collected can only be attributed to any one potter by wild conjecture. Today this interesting collecting effort can be appreciated in the Catawba Cultural Center on the reservation.
Carrie Garrison of Rock Hill documented a rare masterpiece of Catawba work, only because she remembered that the potter was Martha Harris Sanders, the wife of John Sanders. The piece, to date, is the only known vessel from the hands of this talented potter. Unfortunately such instances are rare outside the Catawba Nation. The Catawba have heirloom vessels from such potters as Emily Cobb, Emma Brown,
Margaret Harris, Rachel Brown, Billy George, Rosie Wheelock, Rhoda Harris, Epp Harris, and Elizabeth Harris, to list only a few of the greats remembered in this way. Most of these vessels, however, are family pieces documented orally.
The practice of signing vessels started with the Catawba participation in the tourist trade in the mountains of North Carolina. Sometimes the buyers wanted an indication of the origin of the piece. Nettie Harris Owl, while she did not inscribe her name of the bottom of her vessels, sometimes labeled them as coming from the Cherokee Reservation. Oddly enough, her name or her tribal affiliation were apparently not important to her or her customers. Nettie Owl did, however, take credit for her work collected during this period by the Smithsonian. Or, perhaps more correctly, those collecting for the Smithsonian had begun to see the value in knowing the potter's name, hence, Nettie Owl's pieces were attributed to her. The same was true on acquisition file cards for the Museum of the American Indian. The majority of the Catawba pieces that form this respected collection are from anonymous Catawba potters. Both museums also gave Susannah Harris Owl credit for her work. She apparently had enough respect among the linguists of her day to warrant the honor of authorship.
The first Catawba potter to systematically sign her vessels was Lillie Beck Sanders, who was not a Catawba but a Cherokee who married into the Catawba tribe and learned to make pottery from her in-laws. On occasion, Lillie Sanders included the date the vessel was made. Unfortunately, this practice did not spread to the Catawba potters who knew Lillie Sanders and her work.
The real problems of attribution began when the Catawba sold pottery in the North Carolina mountains. A shop owner's purpose in carrying the pottery was to give tourists an opportunity to purchase genuine Indian crafts. Up until 1923, the year of Nettie Owl's death, Nettie and Susannah Owl satisfied this growing market. After Nettie's death, an aging Susannah worked alone. Wisely, her husband, Sampson Owl, enlisted the assistance of related Catawba potters in South Carolina. It did not take the Catawba long to realize that the tourists were buying Catawba wares and thinking the work was Cherokee in origin. This knowledge bothered the Catawba. Signing the pots would solve the problem of attribution. The merchants who bought Catawba work, however, wanted to pass Catawba vessels off to their customers as Cherokee. This issue pushed the Catawba potters in the direction of demanding professional recognition of some sort by signing the bottom of each vessel.
Fannie Harris Canty, later George, who worked almost exclusively for the North Carolina mountain trade and only made crude trade ware, began to sign some of her work during this period. By the 1930s, Early Brown began to sign some of Emma Brown's pottery. The real push for attribution did not happen, however, until the late 1960s. At this time, home decorator magazines began to show the non-Indian public the beauty of Indian art. Magazine after magazine pictured sophisticated homes with floors covered by Navajo rugs and shelves decorated with Indian pottery. The artisan became important. Buyers wanted signatures. The Catawba were forced to oblige if they wanted to make sales.
When I met Doris Blue in 1970, she was signing much of her work. Ironically, some potters had to be almost forced to claim their pottery with a signature. For instance, in 1976, Reola Harris flatly refused to sign her vessels. It took much coaxing but, in time, she reluctantly began to sign her pottery in 1977. The same was true for Viola Robbins, who began to sign her work in 1986. Today, all of the potters, even young children, proudly inscribe their names on their pots. The potters have learned the sales magic of putting a name followed by something like "made by a Catawba Indian" on the bottom of the vessel.
The Catawba have come a long way from incising the bottom of a pot with the word "inian." Even the smallest miniatures have initials and perhaps an abbreviated date incised in a discrete place. The attribution can be extensive: first and last name, full date, and tribe. Some pipe makers keep a hooked metal awl similar to a bent ice pick in their cache of tools. Such a simple device can be used to inscribe at least initials and a date inside a pipe bowl.
Professionalism is, however, more than being proud enough to sign the bottom of a vessel and thus mark it for all time as being from one's hands. Perhaps no Catawba potter has done more to bring professional recognition to her fellow potters than has Georgia Harris. Following the landmark exhibition at the Columbia Museum of Art, Georgia Harris continued to build museum-quality pieces. In 1977, Steve Richmond, of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Arts and Crafts Board, began promotional work with Mrs. Harris. She was highly responsive to his suggestions. His goal was to promote her pottery in museum circles. One could not, however, advance the work of one potter without inadvertently helping the entire Catawba community. Mr. Richmond's first effort was made in December 1977, when he arranged a show for the Museum of Art in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Later that same year, Mr. Richmond initiated a similar effort with the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina (Steve Richmond, interview, 21 April 1977, BC). He envisioned this prestigious museum presenting a joint Catawba pottery and Cherokee basketry exhibit (G. Harris to T. Blumer, letter, 20 September 1977, BC). A final date was set for No-
vember 5, 1978. Mrs. Harris demonstrated pottery making for two hours on opening day and came away from the event feeling quite satisfied. "This display was really good—pottery and baskets were displayed in one room. Each helped to enhance the other. She [the curator] displayed the smaller pieces of pottery in a glass [cabinet] on the walls. They really looked good" (G. Harris to T. Blumer, letter, 20 September 1977, BC). For the first time, the work of a solitary Catawba potter was singled out for its excellence of form and finish and presented in a museum setting as art rather than craft. This treatment had a profound effect on the close-knit community of Catawba potters who emulated Mrs. Harris. High professional goals were set.
Most importantly, after the Mint show closed, the BIA Arts and Crafts Board continued to encourage Mrs. Harris and to make important purchases of her work. "Mr. Richmond came down on Wed. and bought $425 worth for the Indian Arts and Crafts Board in D. C. Could have sold him more if I had had some larger pieces. When he called he didn't say what kind or how many and I told him so. He said to let him know when I had some nice larger pieces" (G. Harris to T. Blumer, letter, 13 August 1979, BC). Georgia Harris's next letter provided a more detailed list of the purchase: "Mr. Richmond bought 10 pieces: the Indian face wall mask, 1 loving cup, 1 tall pitcher, 1 cupid jug, 1 turtle, 1 duck, 3 pipes, and the 4 legged crimped vase that came back from Mrs. Gambaro. He wanted your snake pitcher the worst kind. He said, 'You can make him another one.' I told him you bought it and you knew exactly what it looked like" (G. Harris to T. Blumer, letter, 2 August 1979, BC).
During the summer of 1979, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the BIA's Arts and Crafts Board slowed down their formal efforts to assist the Catawba potters in marketing their wares. By this time, however, the potters had received enough direction to continue on their own. The Indians knew what they needed to do. The people of both Carolinas had a sharpened interest in the region's surviving Catawba pottery tradition. At this time, the McKissick Museum of the University of South Carolina began its ambitious acquisitions program. Representative pieces from each working potter were commissioned. The partial list of contemporary potters so honored includes: Sara Lee Ay-ers, Doris Blue, Mildred Blue, Edith Brown, Edna Brown, Louise Bry-son, Nola Campbell, Georgia Harris, Peggy Harris, Earl Robbins, and Viola Robbins (D. Blue to T. Blumer, letter, 6 July 1979, BC; G. Harris to T. Blumer, letter, 28 March 1979, BC). The Schiele Museum of Gas-tonia, North Carolina, soon followed the McKissick's lead and began an equally ambitious acquisitions program that has lasted from 1979 to the present with a promise to continue. Both museums were hon ored with important gifts of historic Catawba vessels. They also made major purchases of vessels that appeared on the antiques market.
The advances made during the late 1970s continue. Today the potters are eager to create pieces worthy of any museum's shelves and are doing so. They have gone beyond signing their work and often present the buyer with a business card and a short historical essay. Earl Robbins keeps a supply of photocopies of articles that have appeared in the local papers, and each of his customers goes away with a fairly good amount of written material on his career as a potter. Two Catawba potters, Faye Greiner and Caroleen Sanders, have had sales brochures professionally printed with illustrations. Each buyer takes home not only a vessel but also a handsome comment on the potter's art. As seasoned professionals, most of the potters also stand prepared to talk to what appears to be an endless parade of academics, journalists, school groups, and other interested visitors to the Nation. They are eager to participate in video presentations. A few of the potters have caught onto the idea of producing numbered editions of particular pots, an idea that collectors seem to like.
While this discussion has concentrated on the work of selected Catawba potters, the survival of the tradition and professional advances really belong to the community as a whole. The list of documented Catawba potters who dominated the last century is a long one but worthy of repeating as a sort of "Hall of Fame of Documented Catawba Potters." It is professionally significant that today the Catawba Nation has more master potters (17 in all) in the ranks of its pottery making community than at any time in the last two centuries. Indeed, the Ca-tawba Nation counts as many potters today as they did their entire population in 1849 (Census 1849; List 1849). The list presented below is an attempt to be inclusive, but it is impossible to count today's potters without the benefit of a time-consuming and costly census. Those listed below have dominated this pottery-making community from the nineteenth century to the present:
DOCUMENTED POTTERS, 1880-2002
Ayers, Amy (1987-) Produced small, signed pieces made under the supervision of her grandparents, Sara Lee and Foxx Ayers.
Ayers, Hazel (Foxx) (1924-1999) Produced small, signed pieces. Special interest in the pipe tradition.
Foxx Ayers put most of his energy into marketing his wife's pottery.
Ayers, Sara Lee Harris Sanders (1919-2002)
An award-winning master potter, produced the full range of the Catawba tradition. Known for her large vessels. Began signing her pottery in the 1970s. Large number of pieces marketed throughout the country over a long period of time.
Beck, Helen Canty (1920-) A master potter who produces the full range of the Catawba tradition. Pieces signed from ca. 1976 to the present.
Beck, Lula Blue (1905-1996) Produced trade ware for the Cherokee trade, mostly small pieces, and abandoned this market when it failed in the 1960s. Resumed making a limited number of pieces in the early 1990s, some signed.
Beck, Ronnie (1976-) Produces small pieces. Began work under the supervision of his grandmother, Lula Beck, ca. 1991.
Beck, Sallie Brown (1893-1993) An award-winning master potter, produced the full range of pottery for the Cherokee trade probably beginning in the 1920s. Some of these vessels may have been signed because of the influence of Lillie Sanders. Several years of inactivity followed the failure of the Cherokee trade in the 1960s. She resumed making a limited number of pieces after 1976, all signed including a number of family heirloom pieces.
Blackwelder, Lillian Harris Blue (1925-1991)
Produced small trade ware for the Cherokee trade. May have made a small number of pieces just before her death. No family heirloom pieces found to date. One vessel has been located. It was signed with the initials "LHB."
Blue, Andrew (1977-) Produces small pieces. Began work under the supervision of his aunt, Mildred Blue, in 1987.
Blue, Betty Harris (1934-) Produces miniatures made under the influence of her brother, Edwin Campbell. Began work in 1993. All signed.
Blue, Brian (1959-) Produces occasional pieces.
Blue, Doris Wheelock (19051985)
A celebrated master potter of great skill, Doris Blue produced the full range of the Catawba tradition. Known for her pipes and small vessels. Began to sign her pieces in the late 1960s. Made a limited number of larger vessels late in life.
Blue, Eva George (1910-1982) Produced small pieces for the Cherokee trade. No signed pieces found to date. Family heirloom pieces are not signed.
Blue, Louisa Canty (1883-1963) Produced small pieces for the Cherokee trade and for sale at home. Reservation sales were brisk because her husband, Chief Sam Blue, entertained many visitors and many of them desired pottery. No signed pieces found to date. No family heirloom pieces located.
Blue, Mae Bodiford (non-Indian) (1906-1993)
Learned to make pottery after her marriage to LeRoy Blue in 1933. Abandoned pottery making in the 1960s and resumed a limited production of signed pieces in the late 1980s. Family heirloom pieces signed.
Blue, Mildred (1922-1997) A master potter who worked with her mother, Doris Blue, for many years. She began to work independently in the late 1970s. All her work was signed. Known for small pieces and miniatures. Collectors made it nearly impossible for her to keep up with the demand. She was particularly fond of turtles.
Blue, Travis (1973-) A limited number of small pieces made under the supervision of Faye George Greiner in 1993. All signed pieces.
Branham, Anna Brown (1959-) A limited number of small pieces produced under the instruction of her mother, Ruby Ayers Brown Vincent. Anna Branham is better known for her fine beadwork.
Branham, William (1961-) Master potter who began to work in clay in 1994 and immediately began to produce vessels of museum quality. All signed.
Brindle, Jennie Canty Sanders Harris (1905-1987) Produced trade ware for the Cherokee trade and abandoned this business in the 1960s. Resumed production of signed pieces for a short time ca. 1978, many of which were signed and sold in the mountains of North Carolina.
Brown, Early (1891-1963) Extremely active in the pottery business for much of his life. Signed pieces for Emma Brown. To date none of his signed work has been found. Family worked at Schoen-brun, Ohio, in the 1930s. No family heirloom pieces have been found.
Brown, Edith Harris (1893-1985) A master potter who produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery. Filmed making pottery by Frank G. Speck in the 1920s. Worked for the Cherokee trade and quit work in clay when that market floundered in the 1960s. She resumed making pottery after 1976 and signed a limited number of pieces.
Brown, Edna Wheelock Thatcher (1911-1985)
Worked under the supervision of her mother, Rosie Harris Wheelock, during her early years of pottery making. Produced small pieces of trade ware from 1970 until her death. Some of these may have been signed.
Brown, Emma Harris Canty (1889-1961)
This master potter produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. After she married Early Brown, a limited number of her vessels were signed and sometimes dated by her husband. Worked at Schoenbrun, Ohio, during the 1930s.
Brown, John (1867-1927) Highly active in the pottery busi ness throughout his life. First Indian to buy a car and used it to peddle Rachel Brown's pottery. Although he worked in clay, no vessels are attributed to him, and no such vessel has been found in any collection to date. No family heirloom pottery has been located.
Brown, Keith (1951-) A master potter who began making and decorating pipes beginning ca. 1990. A limited number of small vessels produced, all signed. His demonstration work for the Catawba Cultural Center has brought him much positive attention.
Brown, Margaret George (18371922)
Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery at the master's level throughout her life. A limited number of these are in museum collections with acquisition records that include her name. To date, no signed pieces have been found.
Brown, Rachel George (18741960)
This master potter produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. Demonstrated for Harrington in 1907, and some of the undocumented Harrington pieces in the Museum of the American Indian may be from her hand. A small number of unsigned vessels are treasured by family members. No signed pieces have been found to date.
Bryson, Blanche Harris Campbell (1926-)
Catawba pottery. Worked for the Cherokee trade during the 1940s and 1950s with her mother, Artemis Harris. When this market failed, she abandoned pottery making. Resumed work in the late 1980s; all of her work has been signed since that time.
Bryson, Lillie Beck Sanders Saunook (Cherokee) (1876-1951) Pottery-making career began in 1913 when she married Catawba traditionalist Joe Sanders. Vessels have been identified with the names Sanders and Bryson. She made pottery at both Catawba and Cherokee where she was recognized as a master potter of great skill. It can be assumed that all her vessels were signed.
Bryson, Louise Beck (1931-1984) A member of the Class of 1976 and worked in clay from 1976 to 1980. Produced a steady supply of small pieces that quickly went from trade ware quality to museum quality. All of the work of this master potter was signed.
Bryson, Mohave Sanders (1937-) Began working in clay around 2000 and reportedly is working at the master level.
Byrd, Marsha Ferrell (19502003)
Began working with her mother, Alberta Canty Ferrell, in 1992. Limited number of small trade ware vessels produced. All signed.
Campbell, Edwin (1954-) Began work in 1992 when poor health forced him to abandon carpentry. This master potter produces a large number of miniatures that mimic the work of his mother, Nola Campbell. All signed.
Campbell, Nola Harris Harris (1919-2001)
An award-winning master potter. She produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery for most of her life. Began signing her work in the 1970s. Known for her large vessels and her grand demonstration style.
Canty, Allen (1911-1980) One signed small bowl located to date. Probably made under the supervision of his mother, Emma Brown. Not known as a potter, and this signed vessel may be unique.
Canty, Catherine Sanders (19171999)
Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery. Worked at Schoenbrun, Ohio, during the 1930s and for the Cherokee trade until this market faltered in the 1960s. Resumed working in clay and began signing her work ca. 1976.
Childers, Paige (1992-) Learned from her grandparents and her mother, Earl and Viola Robbins and Margaret Tucker. Makes an occasional vessel.
Collins-Bucca, Connie Williford (1955-)
Grew up watching her grandmother, Arzada Sanders, working in clay. Began building pottery indepen dently in the 1970s. Makes an occasional vessel.
Estridge, Betsy Crawford Harris (ca. 1860-?)
Reportedly made pottery all her life but no signed pieces or pieces attributed to her have been found to date. No family heirloom vessels have been located.
Ferrell, Alberta Canty (19291998)
Produced the full range of traditional Catawba ware for the Cherokee trade off and on throughout her life. Some pieces signed. After some years of inactivity, resumed work for a short time in 1992.
Garris, Beckee Simmers (1947-) Works occasionally in clay and produces a trade ware quality work of a traditional nature.
George, Elsie Blue (1914-) Produced small pieces for the Cherokee trade until that market failed. No signed pieces found to date. Resumed limited production of pottery in the late 1990s.
George, Evelyn Brown (1914-) This master potter began work at Schoenbrun, Ohio, in the 1930s and later produced for the Cherokee trade. Some signed pieces have been located from her Schoenbrun period. Abandoned making pottery when the Cherokee trade failed and resumed work in clay in 1976. All signed after 1976. Has taught numerous classes in pottery making to tribal members.
George, Fannie Harris Canty (1900-1951)
Full range of traditional Catawba pottery produced for the Cherokee trade throughout her life. Signed some vessels. Also was known to sign her work with the names of her children.
George, Hattie Millings (non-Indian) (1893-1993) Began to make Catawba pottery after her marriage to Moroni George in 1912. None of her work has been located in any collection to date.
George, Isabelle Harris (19041989)
Full range of traditional Catawba pottery produced for the Cherokee trade until the 1960s. Resumed pottery making in the late 1970s. Some pieces signed.
George, Kristen (1985-) Inspired to make pottery for the annual Yap Ye Iswa Festival and offered her wares at the Festival for several years. The author purchased from this potter in 1996.
George, Mandy (1987-) Began limited work in clay in 1993 under the supervision of her grandmother, Evelyn George. All pieces signed.
George, Rebecca Marsh (? -1882) The legendary creator of the Rebecca pitcher. No pieces either attributed to her or signed by her have been found.
George, Susan (1947-)
Began work under Catherine Canty in 1992 and occasionally works in clay. All work signed.
George, William (1800-1896) Full range of traditional Catawba miniatures produced throughout his life. No signed pieces by this master have been located to date but several pieces attributed to him are in collections. None of the museum collections examined to date have pieces attributed to him. Two family heirloom vessels have been located.
Gordon, Eliza Harris (19021960)
A master potter of great skill. Extremely active in making museum-quality pottery throughout her life. Worked in Tannersville, New York, in the 1930s. No signed work has been found to date. One family heirloom vessel reportedly exists.
Gordon, Sallie Brown (18751952)
This master potter was extremely active in making traditional Ca-tawba pottery throughout her life. No signed or family heirloom pieces have been found.
Gordon, Sheryl Mackie (1959-) Began to make small vessels following her participation in the Class of 1987. All work signed.
Hall, Victoria Shelee Harris (i974-)
Learned to make pottery from Georgia Harris. Makes an occasional vessel.
Harris, Absalom (Epp) (18301916)
A celebrated master pipe maker. Sev eral pieces attributed to him have been found in museum collections. Known within the tribe for his shoe pipe molds. No signed work has been located.
Harris, Artemis Harris (18961959)
Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. No signed pieces have been located, but several heirloom pieces are treasured by her family.
Harris, Betsy (1861-1921) Reportedly made pottery throughout her life. No signed pieces or vessels attributed to her have been found to date.
Harris, Bertha George (1913-) A master potter who produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery for the Cherokee trade until that market failed in the 1960s. Resumed work in 1976 and began to sign her work at that time.
Harris, Beulah Thomas (1929-) Worked to produce pottery for the Cherokee trade until that market floundered in the 1960s. Resumed working in clay in 1993.
Harris, Curtis Douglas (1956-) Occasional signed pieces produced. Learned from his grandmother, Georgia Harris.
Harris, Donald (1950-) Began work in clay ca. 1993 under the influence of his mother, Beulah Harris. A master pipe maker of note who produces museum-quality vessels.
Harris, Dorothy Price Canty (non-Indian) (1883-1961) Produced the full range of Catawba traditional wares throughout her life. No signed pieces or family heirloom vessels have been found.
Harris, Elizabeth (ca. 1830-ca. 1890)
Made traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. No pieces attributed to her or signed by her have been found. One heirloom vessel has been located.
Harris, Garfield C. (1914-1994) Made traditional Catawba pottery for the Cherokee trade until that market floundered in the 1960s. One small, unsigned heirloom vessel has been located. One lost squirrel effigy has been reported.
Harris, Georgia Harris (19051997)
An award-winning master potter. Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery until she obtained her practical nurse's degree in the early 1960s. Resumed working in clay in 1976 and began to sign her work at that time. Known for her large vessels and pipes. Georgia Harris is the only artisan to receive the National Endowment for the Arts prestigious National Heritage Fellowship Award posthumously.
Harris, Ida (1904-1983) Worked for the Cherokee trade until that market floundered in the 1960s. No signed pieces or heirloom vessels have been found.
Harris, Loretta (1946-) Inspired to make pottery by the Yap Ye Iswa Festival and has sold there every year since 1997. Makes small traditional pieces.
Harris, Lucinda (1839-1880) Produced traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. No signed or attributed work has been found.
Harris, Margaret Harris (18791926)
Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. One family heirloom has been located. Not known to have signed her work.
Harris, Margaret Price (non-Indian) (1892-1968) Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. No family heirlooms or pottery attributed to her has been located. Did not sign her work.
Harris, Martha Jane White (1860-1936)
A celebrated master potter who worked in clay all her life. Known for her large vessels and pipes. Several examples of her work have been located in museum collections. Most of the heirloom pipe molds owned by tribal members are from her hand as are most of the pipe molds found in museum collections.
Harris, Martin (1941-2002) Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery. This master potter began to sign his work in the 1970s. Known for his large pieces.
Harris, Mary (ca. 1829-1904) Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. Two examples of her work have been located in museum collections. No work signed by the potter has been found.
Harris, Mary George (Dovie) (1877-1962)
Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. No signed work or family heirloom vessels have been located.
Harris, Minnie Sanders (19091979)
Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery for the Cherokee trade until the market failed in the 1960s. Resumed work with Martin Harris in the late 1970s. Several family heirloom vessels have been located. No signed work has been located.
Harris, Nancy (ca. 1829-cA. 1908) Reportedly produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. None of her work has been located in museum collections and no heirloom pieces have been found in the tribe.
Harris, Nancy (October) Harris (1899-1975)
Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery for the Cherokee trade until that market floundered in the 1960s. Not known to have resumed work. No signed pieces or family heirloom vessels have been located.
Harris, Nettie Harris Owl (1872-1923)
A celebrated master potter of unusual skill. Began work at Cherokee probably under the influence of her aunt, Susannah Harris Owl. Produced most of her work at Cherokee and for the Cherokee trade. Several family heirloom vessels have been located, and her work is well represented in museum collections. Did not sign her vessels but may have written the place of origin on the bottom.
Harris, Peggy Thatcher (1927-) Began work following the Class of 1976. Made small pieces under the influence of her mother, Edna Brown. Much of her work is signed. Has not been active since ca. 1985.
Harris, Reola Harris (1921-1991) Produced traditional Catawba pottery for the Cherokee trade throughout her life. Began to sign her vessels ca. 1979. Known for her surrealistic animal effigies.
Harris, Rhoda George (non-Indian) (ca. 1829-1918) A master potter who produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. Remembered for her pipe molds, which are still used by her descendants. Numerous pipes from Rhoda Harris's molds have been located in private and museum collections but none have been attributed to the potter.
Harris, Robert Lee (1867-1954) Not remembered as a potter, but during the Corn Exposition of
1913, he claimed to be a potter. Figure 1 may be an example of his work.
Harris, Sarah Jane Ayers (ca. 1839-1918)
The full range of traditional Catawba pottery was produced by this master potter throughout her life. Several vessels attributed to her form the nucleus of the McKissick Museum collection. Several photographs show her working in clay. No signed vessels have been located.
Harris, Walter (1946-) Inspired by the Yap Ye Iswa Festival and has sold there since 1993. Makes a full range of traditional pieces. An odd piece that he makes is a so-called buzzard pot taken from drawings and photos of archaeological pieces given to the potter by collector Larry Ware of Gastonia.
Harris, William (Billy Bowlegs) (1857-1922)
Reportedly made horse effigies. May be the maker of a horse effigy pot in the Museum of York County collection. Two horse effigy pipes in the Simpson Collection of Rock Hill may be from his hands. No signed pieces or pieces attributed to him by museum acquisition records have been located.
Harris, Floyd William (1953-) Made an occasional piece, beginning about 1977, under the tutelage of his grandmother, Georgia Harris, a master potter.
Head, Martha Jane Patterson (1868-1970)
Reportedly made traditional Catawba pottery until her family removed to Colorado in the 1880s. One turtle effigy pipe found at her old home site has been attributed to her hands. Did not make pottery in Colorado.
Henderson, Nick (1978-) Learned under the tutelage of his mother, Anita Hinson, and his great-grandmother, Catherine Canty.
Hinson, Anita Canty Henderson
This new potter is already making a reputation for herself. Learned from her grandmother, Catherine Canty. She also grew up watching Arzada Sanders work in clay.
Jones, Gail Blue (1947-) Began to make traditional pottery following her participation in the Class of 1987. All work signed.
Leach, Miranda (1984-) Learned the rudiments of pottery making from her mother, Cheryl Sanders. The subject of a video made by the Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina.
Lear, Faye Robbins Bodiford (1930-2000)
Worked in clay with the Robbins family until she married and left home. Made some signed vessels just before her death.
McKellar, Billie Anne Canty
Began to make traditional pottery following her participation in the
Class of 1976. This master potter worked under the influence of her mother, Catherine Canty, and Georgia Harris. All work signed.
Morris, Anne Sanders (1949-) Began work in the Class of 1976 and produced a limited number of signed pieces for several years thereafter.
Nichols, Denise Ferrell (1954-) Began to make traditional pottery following her participation in the Class of 1976. All work signed.
Osborne, Dawn McKellar (1971-) Began to make a limited number of vessels under the influence of her mother, Billie Anne McKellar, and her grandmother, Catherine Canty, ca. 1992. All signed.
Osborne, Sherry Wade (1942-) Produced a limited number of traditional pieces in the mid-1970s. All signed.
Owl, Susannah Harris (18471934)
A celebrated master potter. Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. No signed vessels have been located but museum acquisition records show many vessels from her hands. Several heirloom pieces are treasured by her family.
Oxendine, Della Harris (1944-) Began to produce small traditional Catawba pottery vessels under the influence of her mother, Nola Campbell, ca. 1987. All work by this master potter is signed.
Plyler, Donnie (1959-) Began to produce small traditional Catawba pottery vessels in the 1990s. All work signed.
Plyler, Elizabeth (1928-) Began to produce traditional Catawba pottery vessels following her participation in the Class of 1987 and quickly moved to the rank of master potter. All work signed.
Plyler, Leonard (1934-) Makes occasional pieces, especially for the annual Yap Ye Iswa Festival.
Plyler, Mary Rachel Brown (1907-1955)
Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. Several family heirloom pieces have been located. Known by her contemporary Catawba to have been a master potter.
Plyler, Phillip (1964-)
Makes occasional vessels, especially for the annual Yap Ye Iswa Festival.
Robbins, Earl (1921-) A celebrated master potter known for very large vessels and pipes. Made pottery for the Cherokee trade until that market faltered in the 1960s. Resumed work in clay in 1987. Known for his pipe molds and sought out by the Catawba who wish to obtain molds. He has taught the making of pipe molds to a number of young potters, insuring the survival of this skill well into the twenty-first century. All work signed. Several museums have acquired his work.
Robbins, Effie Harris (1892-1972) Produced the full range of traditional
Catawba pottery for the Cherokee trade until that market floundered in the 1960s. Not known to have signed her work. No museum collection is known to have any of her vessels listed in its acquisition files.
Robbins, Viola Harris (1921-) Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery for the Cherokee trade until that market floundered in the 1960s. Resumed work in clay in the early 1980s and began to sign her work at that time. Several museums have acquired her work.
Sanders, Arzada Brown (18961989)
A celebrated master potter. Produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. Began to sign her work in the 1970s. Several museums have acquired her work. She is the only contemporary Catawba potter with examples of her pottery in the Smithsonian collection.
Sanders, Brian (Warren) (1951-) A master potter who produces both museum quality pieces and vessels of trade ware quality for quick sale. Learned from his grandmother, Arzada Sanders.
Sanders, Caroleen (1944-) This master potter began work ca. 1992. Gaining a reputation as a sculptor of note with a concentration on busts of historic Catawba figures. Also produces traditional Catawba vessels. All work signed. Caroleen Sanders is the first Catawba potter to have a Website.
Sanders, Cheryl Harris Leach (1958-)
The wares of this master potter are exceedingly thin and of exceptional grace. Her work is much sought after by both collectors and museums. Learned from a number of master potters including Nola Campbell and Earl Robbins.
Sanders, Clark (1947-)
Began work ca. 1992. Small signed pieces produced.
Sanders, E. Fred (1926-) Learned pottery making from his mother, Arzada Sanders. Produces an occasional signed vessel.
Sanders, Freddie (1958-) A master potter who began by carving traditional Catawba shapes in stone. He produces a regular succession of high quality ware.
Sanders, Marcus (1960-) This master potter works in mediums other than clay including wood. He has never sold at any market. His work is in great demand among the Catawba.
Sanders, Martha Harris (ca. 1859-cA. 1900) A celebrated master potter who produced the full range of traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. One vessel has been documented as hers. No heirloom or museum pieces attributed to her through acquisition records have been located.
Sanders, Vera Blue (1909-1990) Produced small vessels for the North Carolina mountain trade. Probably stopped making pottery in the 1960s.
Made a limited number of pieces for family members in the late 1980s. No signed pieces have been located.
Sanders, Verdie Harris (19021996)
Produced pottery for the North Carolina mountain trade until the 1960s. Resumed making pottery again in the late 1980s. All late pieces were signed.
Simmers, James (1950-) Produces an occasional vessel. His work is praised by his fellow Ca-tawba.
Strickland, Pearly Ayers Harris (1907-2001)
Produced pottery for the North Carolina mountain trade until the 1960s. No signed pieces have been located. No family collections have been located.
Thomas, Gladys Gordon (19211972)
Worked with her mother, Eliza Harris Gordon, for many years. The Thomas family may have examples of her work. No signed pieces or pieces attributed to her have been located.
Tucker, Margaret Robbins (1957-) This master potter has always worked with her parents, Earl and Viola Rob-bins. Began to sell her wares in the early 1990s. All work signed.
Tucker, Matthew (1979-) Began working with his mother and his grandparents, Earl and Viola Rob-bins, as early as 1987. Began to produce more serious efforts in 1994. All work signed.
Tucker, Shane (1982-) Began working with his mother and his grandparents, Earl and Viola Rob-bins, as early as 1987. Began to produce more serious efforts in 1994. All work signed.
Vincent, Ruby Ayers Brown (1928-1997)
Produced pottery for the North Carolina mountain trade until the 1960s. Resumed work in clay ca. 1989. All work signed from this point on.
Wade, Florence Harris Garcia (1922-)
Produced pottery for the North Carolina mountain trade until the late 1950s. Resumed work in clay in 1989. All work signed from this point on. Extremely active in school demonstrations.
Wade, Frances Canty (1924-) Worked with her mother, Fannie Canty, as a child. Began some serious work in clay as early as 1975. Produces a limited number of signed pieces.
Wade, Sallie Harris (1895-1990) Produced small pieces for the North Carolina mountain trade. Stopped working in clay in the 1960s and did not resume. Several damaged discards are treasured by tribal members. No signed pieces located and no vessels have been found attributed to her in museum collections.
Wahoo, Sallie (Catawba surname unknown) (ca. 1810-cA. 1889) Married into the Cherokee tribe and continued to make very traditional Catawba pottery throughout her life. Mann S. Valentine collected a number of her large cooking pots for the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia. Today these vessels are divided between the Museum and the Department of Archaeology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sally Wahoo did not sign her work, but it is distinctly noticeable for its lack of European influences.
Wheelock, Rosie Harris (18801935)
Began serious work in clay ca. 1900 and maintained a pottery trade until her death. No signed pieces have been located, but a large number of vessels by this potter are in museum collections. Family members treasure several examples of her work.
Whitesides, Charlie (1976-) This beginning potter learned to work in clay under the watchful eye of his grandmother, Ruby Vincent.
Wilson, Claire Sanders Amanes (1941-)
Makes pottery on occasion. Learned from her mother, Sara Lee Ayers.
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