Mooresville, North Carolina: Al Tillis operates Tillis Pottery, 228 North Main Street, in town.
I spent a couple minutes with him today and managed to learn one or two things about pottery. He explained that the "old school" potters of the area used to use some materials that were different than today -- different as in lead.
Lead is harmful anyway it goes. Al is all about the craft of pottery, and also about safety. Lead creates a smoother finish to pottery. Where it involves things like cups, bowls and various other dishes, lead will make them look smoother, but create more of a human hazard.
According to Al (and a quick trip to New Hope, Pa. could confirm it), North Carolina pottery is very popular with Northern shop owners. But, knowing if lead is used in a piece can be an important fact before making your purchase.
Al works totally lead-free and doesn't cut corners. He moved to Mooresville as a young man, when his family arrived from Ft. Myers, Fla. He has a great line of pottery. For more information, he can be reached at (704) 806-8770, or go to: www.TillisPottery.com. CLick on the headline to go there.