I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Watford, local potter and historian, last year when he gave me a tour of the Crockett-Miller Slave Quarters.
Prior to meeting him, I didn’t know he was a well known potter. I was fascinated when he told me the story behind the “face jugs” that he’s known to create, among many other beautiful pottery items.
During the days of slavery, slaves were dehumanized and when they died, they weren’t allowed to be respected with a tombstone or grave marker. Their family would place pottery jugs with trinkets in memory of their loved ones. Then, “face jugs” were created to scare away the devil. The scarier the face jugs were, the greater chance the devil would leave their loved one alone and let them move on to Heaven.
I met Ben again during the Craven Arts Festival in September when I took this video. During a trip to the new “Le Bistro and Fine Art Gallery” with Thea Kincaid, we noticed Ben’s “face jugs”. Then I remembered the video and realized I hadn’t posted it. Everything happens for a reason!
If you’re interested in seeing or purchasing one of Ben’s “face jugs”, please visit the Bank of the Arts, 317 Middle Street, 252-638-2577 where I bought mine last year!
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