Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina, preserves arts and culture

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Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina, Preserves Arts and Culture with pottery, painting and a taste-bud-tempting meat and three

Detour through Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina, situated along I-20, between Atlanta and Charleston—just east of Augusta, and travel through Thoroughbred Country’s charming small towns, including Williston, Blackville, Denmark and Bamberg, to Charleston and Hilton Head, by US 78 or 278. Venture off the beaten path and take US 301, 321 or US 1 as alternate routes—driving through new opportunities for cultural explorations in the towns of Thoroughbred Country located along these pathways. Or follow I-95 on the other side of Bamberg County and take a new route to the final destination.

Before his passing in 2016, Denmark was home to internationally and nationally known artist Jim Harrison, perhaps most famous for his Coca-Cola paintings after entering into a licensing agreement with the company in 1995. With a 40-year career as an artist, including time in New York, Harrison returned to Denmark, South Carolina, and established the Jim Harrison Gallery, housed in the very building where the young artist got his start more than fifty years ago as an apprentice sign painter for J.J. Cornforth.

Continue cultural explorations with a visit to nearby Blackville, where the Mennonite population can be found. The Mennonites are a division of the Christian church known for their emphasis on issues such as peace, justice, simplicity, community, service, and mutual aid. No trip is complete without a visit to Miller’s Bread Basket, where Pennsylvania-Dutch food with a southern influence is served cafeteria-style, offering meats and threes: homemade casseroles, breads and seasonal vegetables.

For the ultimate souvenir, visit the Little Red Barn Pottery and Art Gallery in Barnwell, housed in a historic general store. Local master potter Liz Ringus, known for her face jugs—preserving the South Carolina Face Jug Tradition, turns pottery onsite. Local kaolin clay is used for the eyes and teeth and frequently broken antique china is used for the teeth. Many of the vessels are glazed in the more traditional dark brown (Albany slip style) glaze, but Ringus also uses contemporary glazes for the collector looking for something different. Every face jug is signed and a bible verse, commentary or rhyme is inscribed on the bottom.