for immediate release
COLUMBIA, S.C. – In 2022, the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards will be presented by the General Assembly to three recipients being honored for work keeping the state’s traditional art forms alive.
Two practicing artists and one arts advocate will be recognized as ambassadors of traditions significant to communities throughout the state. Their traditions embody folklife’s dynamic, multigenerational nature and its fusion of artistic and utilitarian ideals.
The 2022 recipients are:
- Justin Guy (Edgefield): Artist, Traditional alkaline-glazed stoneware pottery
- Ann Phillips (Sumter): Artist, Quiltmaking
- Duncan Rutherfurd (Aiken): Advocacy, custom knifemaking
The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award is named for the late State Rep. Jean Laney Harris of Cheraw, respected as an outspoken advocate and ardent supporter of the arts and cultural resources of the state. Up to four artists or organizations and one advocate may receive awards each year. The program is managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) and the University of South Carolina McKissick Museum. Community members make nominations to recognize exemplary artistic achievement/advocacy. An independent advisory panel appointed by the lieutenant governor and president of the Senate select the recipients, who must be living and practicing in the state.
As McKissick Museum Executive Director Jane Przybysz notes, “This year’s recipients in the artist category have become masters of longstanding South Carolina traditional arts. The practice of turning stoneware from local clays dates to the first decade of the 19th century in Edgefield, South Carolina. And we know that—by the time the Sumter Agricultural Association was offering a premium of $2 for the best patchwork quilt in 1852—quiltmaking was a well-established craft in South Carolina communities. For centuries, South Carolina’s blacksmiths kept alive the knowledge of metalworking that enabled them to craft knives among the myriad of other tools famers relied upon. This year’s folklife advocate has worked to amplify the revival of custom knifemaking that arose in response to our citizens’ continued love of the outdoors.”
“The recipients of this year’s Folk Heritage Awards embody not only South Carolina’s rich artistic traditions, but also our broad diversity as a people and society,” South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director David Platts said. “Their crafts – now recognized as art forms in their own right – represent an important connection to, and recognition of, South Carolina’s cultural past. At the same time, they remain an integral and vibrant part of communities across the Palmetto State today. These artists do exceptional work that enriches the lives of all South Carolinians, and for that we are all fortunate and grateful.”
Recipients of the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards and South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts are honored during a video presentation of the South Carolina Arts Awards. The SCAC and McKissick Museum are finalizing plans for the 2022 awards and will announce details on a later date.
About the 2022 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award Recipients
Justin Guy | Edgefield | Artist, Traditional alkaline-glazed stoneware pottery
From his roots in the Trenton area of Edgefield County, JUSTIN GUY has achieved acclaim as a potter after working in the craft more than 30 years. Fascinated by the pottery from a young age, he graduated from the University of South Carolina, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus on ceramics. After school he was artist-in-residence at Taiwan’s Tainan National University for the Fine Arts, where he learned Taiwanese and other Asian ceramic processes, specifically as they relate to the tea cultures in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Additional travels across the U.S. and Europe yielded further revelations a professional ceramicist should know. Guy returned to South Carolina and began a teaching career in higher education institutions, serving multiple times at UofSC Aiken with stops at Columbia College, and Piedmont Technical College in between. Additional artist residencies during his career include the McKissick and South Carolina State museums, the Columbia Museum of Art, and area schools. His works have received honors in multiple instances of the Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition and Exhibition and the South Carolina State Fair. Guy is currently the master potter of the Phoenix Factory’s Old Edgefield Pottery, which has produced pottery in South Carolina for more than 200 years.
Ann Phillips | Sumter | Artist, Quiltmaking
For centuries, South Carolina women have contributed to their communities artistically, culturally, and socially through the making of quilts. Though Alabama born, ANN PHILLIPS of Sumter is a 40-year contributor herself. As a child, seated under her mother’s quilt frame, she threaded needles and learned to make a secure knot. However, she didn’t begin quilting until her husband’s military job landed the Phillipses in Sumter; Phillips felt their new country home needed quilts. Central to her approach is taking a traditional quilt block pattern and using it in a new way to great visual effect. Phillips has shown immense creativity and elevated the artistry of quiltmaking. She will change the set of a block, put it on point, or frame it with multiple borders or use non-traditional fabrics and colors with the same pattern. Quilting groups in South Carolina invite her for trunk shows and presentations to demonstrate taking a traditional, simple quilt block design and doing something new with it. Phillips’ work is regularly included at the South Carolina State Fair, and she shares her skill in her community: Through partnerships at her church, she assists in making quilts for a Sumter pregnancy center, all babies born to Shaw Air Force Base families, and for area assisted living centers.
Duncan Rutherfurd | Aiken | Advocacy, Custom knifemaking
The gift of a knife to elementary-aged DUNCAN RUTHERFURD sparked an interest that resulted in tireless dedication to raising public awareness and appreciation of South Carolina’s knifemaking tradition. Rutherfurd is an encyclopedia of information on knifemakers in the state, though he is not one himself, and today’s knifemakers have him to thank for advocacy efforts that keep the tradition strong. Knifemaking, though specialized, has roots in blacksmithing—an essential trade for the farmers of a state dominated by agriculture. Though blacksmithing is no longer widespread anywhere, knifemaking proliferates in South Carolina because of Rutherfurd’s modernizing influence. In late 1970’s he helped organize and promote a knife show for the Aiken Arms Collectors Association. At the time, such shows were the primary way makers reached large audiences. At one of those early shows, while exhibiting his vast collection of South Carolina knives (which he still does today), he conceived of what became the South Carolina Association of Knifemakers (SCAK), a network of support and learning as makers and marketers during the pre-internet 1980’s and 1990’s. As internet usage exploded, Rutherfurd used his IT background to mentor SCAK members on using it to market their wares and themselves as makers. SCAK members recognized Rutherfurd’s tremendous contributions to South Carolina’s knifemaking community with an honorary membership. He served as an advisor to McKissick Museum’s curatorial team on the exhibition Carolina Knives: The Roots of a Revival in 2021. Rutherfurd’s collection was core to one of its storylines and provided a bridge between the older generation of knifemakers and a new generation, which recently organized the South Carolina Custom Knifemakers’ Guild.
About the University of South Carolina McKissick Museum
The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum tells the story of southern life: community, culture, and the environment. The Museum is located on the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe with available parking in the garage at the corner of Pendleton and Bull streets. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. The Museum is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The Museum is closed Sundays and university holidays. For more information, please call at 803.777.7251 or visit https://sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/artsandsciences/mckissick_museum/.
About the South Carolina Arts Commission
The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences.
A state agency created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in four areas: arts learning, community and traditional arts, artist development, and arts industry. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the SCAC is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. Visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696, and follow @scartscomm on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for #Arts4SC and #SCartists content.