Evelyn George was designated a master potter of Catawba pottery by the Catawba Indian Nation. Born in 1914, Ms. George learned as a child from her great-grandmother. She was influenced by individuals whose lives span nearly two centuries, from the early 1800s to the present day.
Ms. George learned and practiced in a manner that is typical not only to Catawba pottery, but for traditional arts in general. She first learned with an elder when she was a child. Then pottery making competed with raising children and work and was continued on a less frequent basis. As Ms. George’s responsibilities began to subside, she began to make pottery with increased frequency. This was in the 1970s. Since then Ms. George not only earned the status of master potter from her peers at the Catawba Nation, but worked with all aspects of cultural life on the Catawba Indian Reservation. In addition to serving as a pottery instructor at the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project, she served as the dance coordinator for the Catawba youth dance group and she was the oldest member of the adult dance group. It was important to Ms. George that Catawba youth begin to learn their traditions at a young age. She taught pottery to students as young as six years of age.
Ms. George stated, “I think the next generation will be coming along and taking [pottery] up. It almost died before, but I don’t believe it will die down too much anymore.” George received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 2004.