The Wanderer Project brought us back to Aiken, South Carolina and last week’s exciting events was kicked off at the Baratto homestead! We were delighted to find ourselves greeted by friendly and familiar faces – the who’s, who of Edgefield Pottery. Brenda’s home was filled with laughter and delicious fare and after a bit we all sat down to introduce ourselves.
Historian and friend, Wayne O’Bryant was the first to discuss what would later be the theme of the evening, “the golden thread of truth”. He told us how his Grandmother passed down the great wisdom to always look for it in every story. I listened carefully at this interconnectedness we all shared and how it had brought us together.
The room was filled with ceramic experts, authors, African American Scholars, Kongo Scholars, local Historians, Archeologists, Filmmakers, Wanderer descendants, and many more. Here we were, some of us brought by a serendipitous series of events. We all followed down many different avenues but arrived at one common destination.
Later, we had an informative panel discussion at the Aiken Historical Museum that included myself, Fred Morton, Dr Jason Young, Dr. Ramona Austin, Jim Witkowski, & Gary Dexter.
Christi and Jamie Koelker of Storyline Media http://www.storylinemedia.com did an amazing job capturing these compelling stories and with such creativity wove this story together to make something wonderful. Christi experienced this herself. She writes:
“I’ve wanted to make this film ever since I met April Hynes almost four years ago. I mean it’s got mystery and history and heart. What else could a project possibly need?
April answered that question for me last week in a way that has fired me up even more than when I first shook her hand in Edgefield, SC, all those years ago. Her journey since that time has propelled her deep into the midst of a story that seems to be unfolding on a daily – if not sometimes hourly – basis. This first phase, funded by the Humanities Council of South Carolina, the Heritage Council of Aiken and the Savannah River Site Archeological Research Team, has given us a foundation of recorded research with which to go forward into the next phase of producing a feature documentary based on April’s phenomenal personal journey.”
Since returning after our week of production, my phone won’t stop ringing with folks calling me to give me just one more piece of amazing information.
As I’ve encountered with this project -it is a story that has its own timepiece. I am dedicated to keep following that Golden Thread….
We hope to secure more funding to gather future interviews and add to this exciting and unfolding story!
April Hynes & Christi Koelker
To learn more visit:
Leonard Todd’s book: “Carolina Clay, The life and Legend of the Slave Potter ,Dave. : http://leonardtodd.com The compelling story of a slave, owned by the author’s ancestors, who became one of the singular artists of the nineteenth century.
Edgefield Face Jug Potter, Gary Dexter: http://dexterpottery.com
Dr. Jason Young, author of “Rituals of Resistance” http://jsr.fsu.edu/Volume11/Wright.htm
Buddy Wingard, “Discovery Dave- Spirit Captured in Clay” Award winning documentary: https://www.facebook.com/events/922689177763563/
Jim Witowski & Arthur Goldburg, “Beneath His Magic Touch” http://www.chipstone.org/article.php/281/Ceramics-in-America-2006/Beneath-his-Magic-Touch:-The-Dated-Vessels-of-the-African-American-Slave-Potter-Dave
Friends of the Aiken Historical Museum: http://aikenmuseum.us
Christi & Jamie Koelker https://ajkoelker.wordpress.com