"Like their ancestors for thousands of years, Catawba potters of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries have continued to adapt their material traditions to ever-changing modern contexts. In the process, they create remarkably contemporary works of visual and tactile art."
The Catawba Indian community of York County, South Carolina, is renowned for its elegant, traditional hand-built pottery. Catawba wares reside in major national and international museum collections—one Catawba jar even graces the White House library. The distinctive burnished earthenware vessels have come to symbolize “Catawbaness” to the world. Within the Catawba community, pottery—and potting—represent group identity to a remarkable degree. Catawba families recite lineages of master potters and treasure heirloom potter’s tools, especially the “rubbing rocks” or burnishing pebbles that produce the distinctive polished surfaces of Catawba vessels.