Face Jugs

Face Jug Folk Art Pottery

Of the many crafts indigenous to the mountains of north Georgia and Western North Carolina , the most interesting is the face jug. No one is 100% certain of how it originated, but two stories in particular seem to capture some of the mystique surrounding these oddly humorous creations. The first is that folks of Appalachia keep their moonshine in jugs designed with scary faces to keep kids from sampling the jugs contents. The second story has to do with devil jugs, or scary faces jugs with devil horns. The story is that these devil jugs originated in slave communities and when someone died, a devil jug was made and placed on the grave for one year. (Story continues below listings)

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If the jug broke sometime during the year, it meant that the deceased was wrestling with the devil. Generations of families in North Georgia and Western North Carolina farmed and threw pots for their livelihood. Today, contemporary potters such as William Flowers, have resurrected the interest in face jugs and some of the face jugs of the older generation of potters, (such as Craig, Meaders and Brown all now deceased), who at one time could hardly get 25 cents for their jugs are now selling for up to five figures. A face jug is a thrown potter jug made from earthware, stoneware or porcelain with the addition of pieces of formed clay to give the jug the appearance of a face. The face can be very primitive or very sculpture like in appearance. Most jugs are based on traditional utilitarian jug shapes which go back many hundreds of years. You will see face jugs also referred to as “ugly jugs” or “grotesques jugs” for obvious reasons.