Ever heard of southern jugs?
It’s an old tradition that’s been brought back to life.
Artist Ed Klimeck Sr., has found a way to give these creations a whole new appeal.
Just one look at his works of art tell a story.
One looks like a grumpy old man, another is laughing but all are unique.
And that’s a big part of the growing appeal now.
Jugs were originally a southern craft, and stories about them abounded.
One legend said that the jugs, complete with scary faces, were created to keep children from sneaking sips of moonshine.
Another maintains jugs were used as grave markers, and their faces revealed the eternal fate of the deceased.
Fast forward to now, and Shinnston.
It was Ed’s wife, Mary’s idea to give creating jugs a try.
He wasn’t big on the idea because most southern jugs were ugly with crude features, but one day he sat down with his clay and gave it a try.
What Ed came up with was a jug with cartoonish features and real attention to detail.
What he had created was truly charming, and with each jug he made further mastered his craft.
Jughead Pottery was born.
After creating jugs for about four months his art was juried by Tamarack in 1997.
That was only the beginning.
His jugs sold quickly, and he has been creating them ever since.
As time passed, he began experimenting with new details like ears and hairlines. On occasion, he would even give the jugs beards.
This artistic journey continues today.
When he puts clay on his pottery wheel, he never knows where it will lead.
He says the happy jugs sell well, but life isn’t always pleasant.
So there is still a market for jugs featuring angry, sad and even befuddled expressions, he said.
Each jug has a personality all its own, and that’s been popular with artist enthusiasts.
Today many collectors can’t wait to purchase his works of art.
Scott Klimeck is extremely proud of his father’s accomplishments, and dedication to his craft.
“Ever since I was a child, he was working in one medium of art or another. I guess I take it for granted. His face pottery is unique, even compared to others in the same genre, and that is what makes it so popular.”
Jughead Pottery can be viewed and purchased at Tamarack in Beckley, Taylor’s Books in Charleston and during the summer at the Bridgeport Farmer’s Market.