Collections › MESDA Collection › Jar

Jar

Artist/Maker:
Lefever, Isaac
Place Made:
Lincoln County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
1850-1860
Medium:
stoneware –alkaline-glazed
Dimensions:
HOA: 16″; WOA: 18″
Accession Number:
5813.45
Description:
This large, bulbous jar is one of the finest extant examples of Catawba River Valley alkaline-glazed pottery. Made by Isaac Lefever in Lincoln County, North Carolina, the jar is graceful with its bulbous belly and delicate, tight foot profile. Both sides of the jar speak to the highly variable nature of alkaline glazing and the temperature fluctuations in wood-fired kilns. Coated overall in an alkaline glaze, one side has a heavy, undulating white crystalline surface, while the opposite side has primarily a clearer, green-hued glaze with only a crescent of the white crystalline glaze. Alkaline glaze is a mix of clay and ash or lime that acted as a flux. As on this jar, Isaac Lefever often marked his pieces “I.L.” Two lug handles were placed on opposite sides along the shoulder. Lefever put pieces of glass on the handles before firing the jar, and they melted during the firing process producing beautiful runs.

MAKER: Isaac Lefever (1831-1864) was oprhaned and first apprenticed as a blacksmith in 1836, training under Jacob Kistler. When Kistler died in 1845, Lefever began training with potter Daniel Seagle as early as 1845 and likely through 1852. Though Lefever’s primary occupation was farming, the pottery he produced is often well balanced, beautifully shaped, and graceful, as are the pots of his teacher Daniel Seagle. Lefever is remembered for his service during the Civil War, service that cut short his young life. However, he is most remembered for his beautiful pottery; the few pieces of his marked pottery that survive exemplify his incredible skills as a ceramic artist.

Harpe, Jason and Brian Dedmond. “Valley Ablaze: Pottery Tradition in the Catawba Valley.” Conover, NC: Goosepen Studio & Press, 2012.

Hewitt, Mark and Nancy Sweezy. “The Potter’s Eye: Art & Tradition in North Carolina Pottery.” Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2005.

Credit Line:
The William C. and Susan S. Mariner Collection