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Lecture highlights potter John Bell's life and work

WAYNESBORO - The life and work of John Bell, a local potter who lived from 1800-1880, will come alive through a lecture and a power point presentation from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, March 13, at Renfrew Museum's Visitors Center, 1010 East Main Street, Waynesboro, hosted by Dr. Gene Comstock, author of "Folk Pottery of the Shenandoah Valley" and "Pottery of the Shenandoah Valley Region."

Comstock is regarded as a leading authority on John Bell and other folk potters of the Shenandoah and Cumberland valleys. The Nicodemus Center for Ceramic Studies is sponsoring the lecture in partnership with Renfrew Museum, which houses the largest display in the nation of John Bell and family pottery.

Bell was born in Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1800. The oldest of 10 children, he was trained by his father, Peter Bell, and influenced by Hagerstown’s large and active community of immigrant potters. Before the birth of his son in 1828, Bell moved to Waynesboro with his wife, Elizabeth, and established a successful pottery shop, John Bell and Sons, on South Potomac Street.

The Ceramic Arts Center of Waynesboro houses many of the artifacts of Bell's pottery shop and kiln, recovered from a 1994 excavation conducted by James Smith. A representation of the artifacts will be on display during the lecture.

NCCS was created as a nonprofit corporation in 1996 to preserve and interpret the historic pottery tradition of the Shenandoah and Cumberland valleys. As a means of bringing arts to south central Pennsylvania, NCCS has created two cultural arts center, the CAC of Waynesboro, located at 13 South Church Street, Waynesboro; and on the Penn State Mont Alto campus. Today both locations host active ceramic art studios and robust educational programs. To learn more, visit the NCCS website at

Reservations are strongly encouraged, as seating is limited. To make a reservation call 717-404-3190 or email Proceeds from the event benefit the NCCS. A free-will offering will be accepted, and light refreshments will be served. The inclement weather date is March 20.