North Carolina was home to a number of earthenware potters in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The potteries in Bethabara and Salem were some of the most profitable businesses in the North Carolina Moravian communities. Master potters Gottfried Aust (1722-1788) and Rudolph Christ (1750-1833) and their successors made a large variety of utilitarian and slip decorated wheel-thrown wares including dishes, storage and cooking vessels, lighting devices, mugs, and bowls. They also made exquisite press-molded forms including animal bottles, dishes, and distinctive little plates called “pickel [sic] leaves.” The leaf-shaped plates were probably for serving treats like sweetmeats and pickled vegetables. Just down the road, a group of inter-related members of the Loy and Albright families who settled in what is now Alamance County established their own pottery tradition which included many of the same forms made by the Moravians. Unlike the Moravians, however, the Loy-Albright potters, used slip decoration on hollowware forms like storage jars and bowls.
Today potters working in the Old Salem Museums & Gardens Pottery Shop reproduce many of the distinctive forms made by potters working centuries ago in North Carolina. Using a mold copied from the original plaster “pickle leaf” mold in the Old Salem collection, potters today carefully mold, glaze, and fire faithful reproductions of the originals. The reproduction bowl and preserve jar from the Alamance pottery tradition are copies of original objects exhibited by Old Salem and MESDA.
Our “Handcrafted Salem 1766” line is produced in small quantities in our Pottery Workshop in Old Salem Museums & Gardens. Each piece created is unique and special and will arrive with a “Handcrafted Salem 1766″ tag. The Green Leaf Plate may be displayed purely as decoration or serve as a candy or nut dish or to hold trinkets. The plate is created using food-safe glazes. Not dishwasher safe; gentle hand washing only is recommended. Our Green Leaf Plate measures 8″ x 6.5″ x 1”.