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SMITH DAMRON The Potter Craftsman Figure Figure Redpath Figure Figure Figure Figure The Evolution of A Piece of Clay Figure Figure Figure Figure Smith Damron—The Potter Craftsman SUBJECTS: The Potter and the Clay Sunday: The Master Potter Many press notices and letters might be printed herewith concerning Mr. Damron's success on the Lyceum platform, but when papers like the Indianapolis Star print an entire column article under big headlines about Mr. Damron's work, press notices from smaller papers are rendered superfluous. Smith Damron appeared before an audience of 1400 men at Indianapolis on Nov. 20th, and the Star article referred to appeared next morning. This article is reproduced on this page, not only as a typical press comment, but as a good description of Mr. Damron's work and style of lecture and entertainment. (Reproduced headlines and all, from the Indianapolis Star of November 21st, 1910) PORTRAYS LIFE BY MOLDING POTTERY Speaker at Big Meeting Finds Many Analogies Between Human Beings and Clay. MAKES VASES AS HE TALKS J. Smith Damron, in Wolrkman's Apron, Addresses 1,409 Men at Y. M. C. A. Gathering. In a lecture, vivid in symbolism, J. Smith Damron yesterday afternoon told 1,409 men, assembled at the second Big Meeting of the season in English's Opera House, the story of a lump of clay and his listeners seemed deeply impressed as he built up emblems of a human life in the water and mud of his potter's wheel crib during a graphic tale of the Master Potter, and His molding of the life of man. The house was well filled at 3 o'clock, when A. H. Godard started a singing contest between various sections of the theater. Later he introduced Mr. Damron. The latter has spent many years in the study of the art of making pottery and is now traveling for a lyceum bureau, addressing men's meetings with ais lecture, which is unique in its combination of the spiritual and the practical. The Y. M. C. A. Orchestra gave a fifteen-minute concert at the opening of the meeting and Gertrude Hassler Fugate, a contralto, formerly of Indianapolis, and now of Chicago, sang Song of Thanksgiving, by Allitson, and the Riley song, Heart of Mine. The soloist was accompanied by Miss Nellie B. Goss. As an introduction to his lecture, Mr. Damron donned his potter's apron and stood before his crib, explaining briefly the art of pottery making, which he said is practically the oldest in existence. Throughout the last quarter of a century, Mr. Damron said, greater progress had been made in the art than in all the time from its origin up to twenty-five years ago. POISON BENEATH SURFACE. As he picked up the first block of clay, he told of picking up a similar lump one day, while working in a factory in southwestern Missouri and of finding a tarantula beneath the clay. If some men would get beneath the veneer of their lives now and then, they, too, would find the poison there, said the speaker. As he started the molding of a clay vessel in front of the audience, Mr. Damron told over a long list of American heroes and statesmen, asserting they all were Christians. Under his hands, meanwhile, grew a tall, slate-colored vase, which he compared, when finished, to the life of a youth, plastic, beautiful if designed and handled carefully and correctly, but demolished with one false touch in the rearing of it. He set the vase, finished, on a stand in view of the audience and lifted another piece of clay from its damp wrapping of cloth. Hello there! Here's a piece of wood in this clay, he said. That reminds me of a boy with a cigarette in his mouth. A caustic comment followed, and Mr. Damron declared that he, like a noted statesman, believes that a boy with a coffin nail in his mouth is the parallel of a cipher with the ring knocked off. For a time the lecturer was silent, working intensely in the modeling of an earthen vessel, which took form before the eyes of the audience in a perfection of detail. Suddenly the mass of clay collapsed and the lecturer quoted the scriptural passage of the vessel, marred in the potter's hand. Often we do not know why the vessel is marred, Mr. Damron said, and so it is with human life, often marred by a tiny circumstance, unknown to the ones whose lives are harmed. DRINKS FROM JUG. The speaker then stopped his treadle, which revolves the wheel's head on which the forming pottery is placed, took down a jug besmeared with clay and took a drink. He then declared to the audience that he'd rather take a drink of the water from the jug, smeared with clay, than to step into the finest home in America and receive from dainty hands a choice piece of cut glass, smeared on the inside with intoxicating liquor. Then he turned to the clay again and, soliloquizing as he fashioned the heap before him, said: How little the clay knows what the potter is making of it. How little the human clay knows what the Master Potter is making of it. Meanwhile, he had formed a cuspidor from the mass before him. He referred to the symbolism of human life embodied in this, asserting that if man refuses to become that which he can, he will usually be made into a human cuspidor. Mr. Damron then commenced a monologue with another lump of clap, upbraiding it for its lack of ambition. He told the clay that it had been clay, and had been dug, of course, but that such reasons were invalid to keep it from becoming something higher. He then deftly made a perfect jug, which he called a young convert, sprung from the unambitious earth. He asked his audience on which side he should place the handle, and a dozen voices answered instantly, The outside, evoking much applause and laughter from the remainder of the audience. MENTIONS COUNTY OPTION. That is a county option jug, declared Mr. Damron, as he set it to one side. Fashien a stopper for it, cried some one in the audience, and again the crowd applauded. The speaker then held up specimens of finished pottery, one good, one second class and one third-class. The first, he said, represented the good people of the community, the second (which had streaks of black, made by leavings of iron running down its sides) was a true symbol of the sin in man's life. He then showed the third vessel, perfect to the eye. As he struck it a blow with his potter's rib,—the only tool the clay builders use—the specimen failed to ring true and he used this as a last symbol of human life, comparing the pottery to people outwardly good, but not ringing true. The lecturer then made a plea to his audience for a surrender of their lives to Christianity. Mr. Godard closed the meeting after announcing the lecturers for the next two weeks at the Big Meetings. Next Sunday Dr. William A. College of Armour Institute, Chicago, will speak on Second Fiddles. The following Sunday former Governor Robert B. Glenn of North Carolina will address the meeting. RIB REDPATH-SLAYTON LYCEUM BUREAU REDPATH-BROCKWAY Pittsburg, Pa. BOSTON·NEW YORK·PITTSBURG COLUMBUS, OHIO·CHATHAM, ONT. COLUMBUS, MISS. CHICAGO·CEDAR RAPIDS·KANSAS CITY·DENVER SEATTLE·SAN FRANCISCO REDPATH-PRIEST Seattle, Wash.
|Title||Smith Damron: the potter craftsman|
|Topical Subject (LCSH)||Potters|
|Personal Name Subject||Damron, J. Smith|
|Digital Collection||Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century|
|Contributing Institution||University of Iowa. Libraries. Special Collections Dept.|
|Archival Collection||Redpath Chautauqua Collection|
|Rights Management||Educational use only, no other permissions given. U.S. and international copyright laws may protect this digital image. Commercial use or distribution of the image is not permitted without prior permission of the copyright holder.|
|Contact Information||Contact the Special Collections Dept. at The University of Iowa Libraries: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/contact/index/|
|Number of Pages||3|
|Digitization Specifications||Scanned at 600 dpi, 32-bit color. Master image available in tiff format.|