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The art of sculpting clay into usable form by hand is perhaps one of our oldest human traditions.  Buried underneath the top layer of our concrete and technological modern detritus are the collected shards of our hand-formed story, hidden in the dirt.  We make things well; we are a breed of animal that enjoys a dose of beauty blended with our function, and this aesthetic pre-dates remembered history.  With a nod to the past, authors Warren and Julie Payne focused their attention on the clay works of the last century chronicled in their new book, Clear as Mud: Early 20th Century Kentucky Art Pottery.  Join them at The Filson Historical Society tomorrow, Tuesday, December 13th, at 12pm for a discussion about pottery, history and the art of the hand-crafted.

Clear as Mud, the first and only history on the subject of Kentucky-fired pottery, was the brain child of author Warren Payne and his wife, designer and photographer, Julie Payne.  Struck by the lack of information about Kentucky’s pottery heritage, the Louisville couple sought to clear the shadows and bring the work of historical potters to light.  The Paynes, both collectors and private art dealers themselves, contacted other local pottery collectors and scholars to contribute their knowledge to print.  The organized end-product, Clear as Mud, focuses on the work of local pottery names such as Bybee, Waco and Hadley.  With national acclaim following the book’s release this year, Clear as Mud: Early 20th Century Kentucky Art Pottery won the 2011 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Book Awards Bronze for the Best South-East Regional Non-Fiction, as well as a Kentucky History Award for a publication in its class.

Stop by The Filson tomorrow during your lunch break to meet with the authors and explore Kentucky’s art heritage through the hands of its potters.  Whether crumbled or whole, history is always best when it can be shared; unearth our local past and revisit the flames of our region’s best kilns.  This event is free to the public, but reservations are suggested.

For reservations, click here or call 502-635-5083

The Filson Historical Society is located at 1310 S Third St

For more information visit The Filson’s website

Photo: Courtesy of Louisville Free Public Library Website

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About Erin Day

I currently spend most of my days sequestered in a dark and secret room projecting IMAX films for an adoring public. In my spare time I read books (a lot) and contemplate ever more devious ways to become a professional Blacksmith. I love words, paper, fashion, trees, Charlie Chaplin, useless knick-knacks and my beloved turquoise 1994 Ford Ranger - Daniel. I totally believe in the Loch Ness Monster. Books are culture; my goal is to tell you a story.

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