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.
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
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.
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
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.
To commemorate our 90th anniversary, we’ve compiled a time line that highlights the stories, contributors, and themes that have shaped this magazine — and your view of the Old North State — using nine decades of our own words.