Folk Art

Face Jug by Harold & Grace Nell Hewell
  • Harold “Bull” Hewell was a 4th-generation potter at the Hewell Pottery, founded in 1850 in Gillsville, Georgia. Harold and his wife Grace Nell worked the pottery along-side Bull’s father, Maryland “Bud” Hewell, and Bull’s brothers through the Depression. Bull and Grace later worked along-side their son, grandsons, great-grandsons, modernizing the pottery but also continuing to hand-throw and wood-kiln-fire alkaline-glazed sculptural pieces such as this guy with wide blue eyes and protruding, crooked teeth. I love the crooked nose, the prominent cheeks and chin. Harold retired from the pottery in 1991 but continued to work at the pottery every day until his death in 2012. Grace Nell continued to work at the pottery until cancer kept her from the work she loved. She died in 2016. Harold and Grace Nell Hewell’s pottery has been and continues to be exhibited in many museums having collections of Southern stoneware.

    This jug appears to have been made for use as a lamp. The mouth of the jug has been made long enough to hold the rubber stopper for a lamp and, in fact, the jug now contains the stopper and threaded rod for a lamp socket. The jug has not been drilled so it would be easy to finish the intended use of this fun face jug. Signed on the bottom, "3-16-99 / Harold Hewell + Grace Nell Hewell". The jug is 12” tall x ~7” at widest point.

    #6603    $250

    Reference: Mooney, Claudia, Face Jugs: Art and Ritual, Milwaukee Art Museum blog; https://blog.mam.org/2012/05/02/face-jugs-art-and-ritual/ (In 1893, South Carolina plantation and pottery owner, Thomas Davies told author Edwin Atlee Barber that he remembered his slaves making face jugs during their free time in 1862.)