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Campbell, Nola Harris

Double-neck pitcher, Nola Harris Campbell
Double-neck pitcher, Nola Harris Campbell

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By the age of 15, Nola Harris Campbell was well on her way to becoming a master potter. She learned how to make coil-formed pottery from another master potter, her sister-in-law Georgia Harris. Over the next 60 years, Mrs. Campbell followed the teachings of her mentor and produced some of the finest examples of Catawba pottery.

While her pots fall within the traditional Catawba forms, her work stands apart for its excellent craftsmanship. She shared her gift by providing support and teaching her techniques to the next generation of Catawba potters. Through demonstration at schools, museums, and festivals, Campbell also raised the general public’s awareness of the Catawba tradition. This tradition is the only surviving regional art from that can be traced to pre-Columbian times. Passed from one generation to the next, the Catawba ceramic tradition has a long historic connection to South Carolina. Campbell continued to gather, process, and coil local clay to form beautiful wood-fired pots as her ancestors did.

Nola Campbell did much to maintain the quality of this significant South Carolina art form while encouraging a new generation of master potters. Campbell received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 1999.

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bullet icon Steps in shaping a pot... (03:01)

Footage from Folklife Resource Center documentation in the late 1980s. Filmed in Campbell's home.

bullet icon Steps in shaping a pot.... (02:21)

Campbell builds up the sides of the pot with "coils" and uses the lid of a tin can to scrape the inside of the pot smooth - blending the individual coils together. Footage from Folklife Resource Center documentation in the late 1980s. Filmed in Campbell's home.

bullet icon Steps in shaping a pot... (02:35)

Harris finishes the outside of the pot by rubbing it with a corn cob. This "blends" the coils together and the pot is ready to cure or dry. Harris also demonstrates "scraping" a dried pot. After scraping the entire exterior surface, the pot is ready to "fired." Footage from Folklife Resource Center documentation in the late 1980s. Filmed in Campbell's home.

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