Swag & Tassel: The Innovative Stoneware of Thomas Chandler

In August 2018, McKissick Museum will present Swag & Tassel: The Innovative Stoneware of Thomas Chandler, the first retrospective exhibition of a 19th century Edgefield, SC, potter since I Made This Jar: The Life and Works of the Enslaved African-American Potter, Dave. The show will open on August 6, and there will be an opening reception on August 30. South Carolina Humanities supported this exhibit with a Major Grant.

Building upon the research in Philip Wingard’s 2014 Ceramics in America article, “From Baltimore to the South Carolina Backcountry: Thomas Chandler’s Influence on 19th Century Stoneware,” the exhibition will bring new archaeological and archival research to bear on our understanding of the nature and scope of Chandler’s technical and aesthetic innovations within the context of mid-19th century Edgefield District pottery manufacturing. Chandler’s significant additions included developing new pottery forms, using new techniques for mixing clays, and new methods of iron and kaolin decoration using a brush or a slip cup. Chief among Chandler’s accomplishments was his celadon glaze, which he developed in Edgefield and perfected in 1850.

Swag & Tassel will be the most comprehensive presentation of Chandler’s work to date, with over seventy pieces of his pottery, a catalog featuring articles from leading pottery scholars, and companion programs throughout the run of the exhibition.

For more information about the McKissick Museum, visit the website.

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 20-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.