A day of celebrating Dave the Potter | News | The Press and Standard

by | May 27, 2016 5:00 am

Last Updated: May 25, 2016 at 1:21 pm

By GEORGE SALSBERRY
gsalsberry@lowcountry.com
Walterboro celebrated the legacy of Dave the Potter last Saturday.
The day began at the Colleton County Memorial Library where Darion McCloud, a Columbia-based actor and storyteller, discussed the circumstances that led to him becoming the face of Dave the Potter, a slave artisan whose large clay pots have gained renown for the poems and saying he etched into the pots.
McCloud explained that he was approached by illustrator Bryan Collier. Laban Carrick Hill was writing the children’s book, “Dave The Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave,” and Collier was tasked with illustrating the book.
Collier explained his dilemma to McCloud: there were no photographs of Dave the Potter to use for the illustrations. He asked McCloud to portray the potter. McCloud did not hesitate.
The two met in a park in downtown Columbia. Collier explained his vision of the scenes, and McCloud would assume the necessary pose. Taking the photos that Collier took back to his New York studio to turn into illustrations took about 90 minutes.
The book was published in 2010. McCloud, Collier and Hill were asked to participate in the author’s event in Columbia, as the book was gaining a national audience.
George Wingard of the Savannah River Archeological Research Program was among those who attended the Columbia book event.
Wingard was searching for his own Dave the Potter. Wingard and Mark Albertin of Scrapbook Video Production were in the midst of producing “Discovering Dave: Spirit Captured in Clay.” The producers needed someone to portray Dave in their documentary.
Once again, McCloud readily accepted the role. While McCloud’s work on the children’s book was accomplished easily in an afternoon in a Columbia park, Wingard said, “We put McCloud thorough his paces,” to get the video footage they needed.
The documentary premiered in 2013.
At the end of the library event, Wingard brought a large white plastic container to the front of the audience and began opening the secure box.
Inside was the artifact that had drawn Wingard to tell Dave the Potter’s story on film. Wingard was working on the archaeological dig at the Savannah River Site when the bits and pieces of a large pot came out of the ground.
One of the shards of clay had Dave’s name etched in it.
Wingard was able to piece together the bits and pieces into a nearly complete Dave pot.
After the library performance, Wingard made his way to a picnic bench in the yard outside the Colleton County Arts Council building.
He joined others at the table making their own versions of a “Dave pot” under the guidance of local potter Erik Lindstrom.
The day of “Celebrating Dave the Potter” ended at the meeting space at the Colleton Museum and Farmers Market where Wingard spoke and showed his film “Discovering Dave: Spirit Captured in Clay.”

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