Alabama’s director of the Alabama Center for Traditional Culture spoke at the Albertville Public Library on the rich history of Alabama pottery.
Joey Brackner wrote “Alabama Folk Pottery,” which is considered the pottery collector’s bible in the state. Brackner has a bachelor of arts in anthropology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, Texas.
Brackner said he was working on a pottery dig in Texas for his master’s thesis and one of the members of his thesis committee told him he should go back to Alabama and do the same research because all of the Texas potters came from Alabama.
So, Brackner said he did just that. He said over the years of research that went into the book, he had a lot of input from pottery collectors like Joe Forbs, Ron Countryman and Danny Maltbie.
Brackner spoke to a group of people Friday night at the library about Sand Mountain pottery, which was made at Belcher’s Gap. Brackner said there were two different time periods pottery was made at the site. The Davidson family made pottery at Belcher’s Gap before the Civil War, but moved to Brindlee Mountain. After the Civil War, the Henry, Belcher and McPherson families established a pottery at Belcher’s gap.
Brackner said the families made utilitarian pottery, such as churns, cream risers, whiskey jugs and storage jars. As the railroad network expanded after the Civil War, people began to have access to a greater variety of goods and many potters moved on to the frontier areas, first to Mississippi and later to Texas.