Bright red. Sticky-soft. Some first-time visitors can hardly believe this Piedmont clay of ours. It looks so dramatically different from the soil they know. It’s hard to move, hard to farm, but we’re proud of it, this iron-rich foundation of our work and art. Red clay inspired one of the oldest continuous pottery traditions in the country, a long-running string band and an ahead-of-its-time literary journal. It’s a link to our past, so stubbornly prominent that we accept it without always remembering it’s there. We tromp through the soil, our feet sinking into the soft earth. We go on our way, bits of history clinging to our heels.

Catawba Valley

catawba valley feature image Kim Ellington drinks his coffee from a stoneware pottery mug. It’s greenish-brown and mottled with darker drips and lines.

Despite the mug’s darkness, it catches the light and shines dully, as if through thick glass. The mug is one of thousands made by Ellington and other prominent Catawba Valley potters…Click here to read more.

The Red Clay Ramblers

red clay ramblers feature Like the stubborn Piedmont soil they’re named after, the Red Clay Ramblers seem to get everywhere — they’ve toured internationally, scored Broadway musicals, appeared on A Prairie Home Companion. But they’re rooted in Chapel Hill, a town known for live music.

“Music from around here has always…Click here to read more.

War Memorial Stadium

war memorial stadium On Armistice Day in 1926, eight years after the conclusion of the Great War, Greensboro mayor Edwin Jeffress stood in front of the gleaming arches of the new World War Memorial Stadium. He dedicated it to “the soldier boys” who “wanted no hollow granite,” but “something that would be useful; that would help develop mind and body … a perpetual memorial to those who have passed.” Click here to read more.

Red Clay Reader

red clay reader feature The Red Clay Reader featured some of the most prominent writers of the time: Doris Betts, Fred Chappell, Reynolds Price, Paul Green, Max Steele, Alice Walker, Betty Adcock, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Joyce Carol Oates. Charleen Swansea encouraged students to write about things other journals wouldn’t publish, touching on issues relating to race, class, and gender… Click here to read more.

Get your copy of the April 2014 issue to learn more about the ways North Carolinians are using red clay in art and food.

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Erin Reitz is a former digital content specialist at Our State.