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Georgia State Professor Presents Folk Pottery’s Global Roots

Lois Reitzes spokewith Regents Professor of English at Georgia State University, Dr. John Burrison about his new book, "Global Clay: Themes In World Ceramic Traditions."
Credit Myke Johns / WABE
Audio version of this story here.

Folk traditions in the South, from quilts to distilling to music, all have roots around the globe. A new book by a Georgia State University professor illuminates the humble practice of pottery in that context.

“Global Clay: Themes in World Ceramic Traditions” is the result of years of research by the noted scholar of folklore and regents professor of English, Dr. John Burrison. He also serves as curator of the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia. In the past, Burrison’s studies have focused on Southern folkways, but in this latest book, he expanded his study to include the rest of the world.

He tells City Lights host Lois Reitzes that his interest was sparked by several trips to England and Germany to observe traditional potters at work there.

“I got intrigued by the connections with American pottery,” he says, “and also just fell in love with those pottery traditions for themselves.”

The book explores the recurring artistic themes apparent in these traditions that tie humanity together.

Burrison will give a lecture on the book and his findings at the Atlanta History Center on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m.