His story was one that captured a lot of attention when we brought it to you back in February. Dave the Potter, a slave in Edgefield County, who became known for his pottery. Until recently, not much was known about Dave, but some are starting to shed some light on his past. WJBF News Channel Six's Dee Griffin has a look at the documentary and why the men chose to bring to life a man who has been dead for more than a hundred years.
Dave the Potter was born a slave in the early 1800s. He was taught how to read and write as a young boy. Over his life, he put those words to clay which gave him a voice that is heard more than a hundred years later. Documentary Producer Mark Albertin of Scrapbook Video Productions explains, "he could not control his own life. He was being told when to get up and work and when to go to bed. He couldn't leave. But yet here's a man who is producing a piece of art."
His clay jars are being found across portions of South Carolina near Edgefield and Aiken where he lived and worked for various slave owners. Each piece is garnering thousands of dollars while raising interest in the man and his craft. So much so, Dave the Potter is now the focus of a documentary produced by two local men on a mission to unearth the man behind such a rich history that has been buried over time. Albertin spent more than two years working on the documentary. He says, "the goal with the DVD for us is outreach. For people to learn the story on Dave, to understand what he went through and to understand about the Savannah River Archeological Research program and their mission."
Mark Wingard with the Savannah River Archeological Research program found one of Dave's pots on the Savannah River Site and ignited a flame of interest in the man behind work that is now being studied as an example of great artistry. "All of his early pots when he was younger, before he was older and probably had arthritis, the dimension was consistent throughout the pots from top to bottom. They were perfectly made," Albertin says.
Through their documentary, producers hope Dave's story can help reshape other lives. "This gives a lot of kids somebody to really look up to in a lot of ways because he persevered and kept doing what he needed to do and he wanted to do," adds Albertin.
"Discovering Dave: Spirit captured in clay" will be shown tonight at 7pm at the Etherredge Center on the University of South Carolina Aiken campus.
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