Lanier Meaders was born in Cleveland on October 4, 1917, into a family of accomplished potters. His grandfather founded Meaders Pottery in White County in 1893, and in 1950 his father, Cheever Meaders, inherited the family business. Meaders grew interested in pottery while helping his father run the business.

Meaders became a full-time potter in 1967, when a crew sent from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., arrived to document his father’s work. His father was ill when the Smithsonian team came, prompting Meaders to take the lead in the family business. Over time, Meaders created thousands of clay face jugs, and his success grew. Originally sold for $2.50 each, his jugs eventually reached prices of up to $3,000.

Face Jug #2
Face Jug #2

Courtesy of Georgia Council for the Arts.

Two of Meaders’s greatest accolades came in 1983 and 1987, when he was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Georgia, respectively.

Meaders died in February 1998 following a long battle with cancer. His works of clay Face Jug #1 and Face Jug #2 are part of Georgia’s State Art Collection.

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Face Jug #1

Face Jug #1

Face Jug #1 by Lanier Meaders is part of Georgia's State Art Collection. Clay, 10 x 8 x 6 1/2 inches

Courtesy of Georgia Council for the Arts, Georgia's State Art Collection.

Face Jug #2

Face Jug #2

Face Jug #2 by Lanier Meaders is part of Georgia's State Art Collection. Clay, 10 x 7 (diameter) inches

Courtesy of Georgia Council for the Arts, Georgia's State Art Collection.