JERRY BROWN – America’s last folk potter?How many potters do you know? (Not studio potters, but real potters?)How many of these potters burn a shotgun or ground hog kiln with wood?And how many do you know that still grind clay with a mule? Maybe like, zero? As far as I know, my cousin, Jerry Brown, down in Hamilton, Alabama, is the only true folk potter left in the US. The second son of Horace Vincent (Jug) Brown (1889-1965), and Hettie Mae Stewart Brown (1911– 1996), Jerry was raised in what we now call a “folk” pottery in north east Alabama. With the histories of both the Brown and Stewart families in traditional southern pottery, Jerry was destined to be a potter - but it was not a straight road to doing so.Like many of the Brown’s before him, he was raised working side by side with his father, mother and brother, Jack, making pottery as it had been done for hundreds of years. But in 1964, Jack was killed in an automobile accident and a year later his father passed. Jerry and his mother decided they could not continue on with the pottery.Jerry went from the hard work of making pottery to the hard work of being a logger, dragging logs out of the woods with a mule, as with pottery, much as it had been done for years.In 1979, he met and married his second wife, Sandra Wilburn, and in 1982, after two cold and wet Alabama winters which cut deeply into the ability to log, Jerry decided to go back into the pottery business. Sandra, who, like so many pottery wives before her, still works side by side with Jerry, was not even aware he had ever been in the pottery business or knew anything about it.After he converted his barn into a shop, built a mule powered clay mill and built a shotgun kiln, Jerry was back in the pottery business.Today, Jerry Brown is considered a “Treasure of the State of Alabama”, had a movie, “Unbroken Tradition”, made at his shop, won the prestigious National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1992, has his work displayed at the Smithsonian and has one of the top 10 judged art shows in the south named after him – not bad for an ‘ld country boy!Take a look at Jerry’s web site - http://jerrybrownpottery.com and if you’re ever over his way, stop in and say “Hi” – tell him that his cousin, Jim, sent you. Get your picture taken with ‘ld Blue and see a piece of American history.