Friday, March 19, 2010



Stoneware Clay Planter titled Coosaponakeesa

SOLD - Thank you Inga

Often times I name my stoneware clay planters after legendary women from many different cultures. So is the case with the planter I finished this afternoon. My friend, Gene Barfield, renowned photographer of the Roanoke Farmer’s Market, told me the story of his many times great grandmother, Coosaponakeesa.

Her name was Princess Coosaponakeesa (“flying white horse”). She was the niece of emperor/warrior Brim of the Creek nation. It was that relationship that gave her the title, “princess.” Born in the 1700's, she was married 5 times. One of her husbands was John Musgrove, and she took the English name Mary Musgrove. She was a Yamacraw Indian of the Musogean tribe and the Wind clan, and she learned to speak English as well as Creek. She was the only Yamacraw Indian who spoke English at that time.

When military leader James Edward Oglethorpe landed in Savanna, Georgia in 1733, he selected her as the cultural liaison between Colonial Georgia and the Creek nation. For her services as an interpreter, she was given the islands of Sapelo, Ossabow, and St. Catherines near Savanna, Georgia in 1760. Later, the English took the land away from her and she became very upset. She was thrown in jail at Ft. Fredrica where she caused a lot of trouble. Eventually, she was reimbursed for the loss of her land with 2000 pounds sterling from the auction sale of Ossabow and Sapelo. She lived into her late 80's, an age that very few reached at that time.

Close-up of embellishments

Gene told me that James Oglethorpe visited Coosaponakeesa a lot after she finally settled in South Carolina’s Cowpens. He also gave her one of his rings before his final return to England. She, in turn, named two of her sons James and Edward. Hmmmmm … . Because of this, many people over the years have speculated that Oglethorpe wasn’t the “straight arrow” he was once thought to be.

I created Coosaponakeesa by using stoneware clay fired to a high temperature to withstand any type of weather. She can be placed outside all summer and will even endure winter but I recommend bringing her inside. I used as her embellishments items I have found from various places. The copper headplate looks very old and shows a Mayan figure with symbols. I used a copper, silver and bronze colored piece for the center. I love the combination of those three metals together. A spiral pendant completes her look. She is for sale and I have priced her at $78. If anyone is interested please just e-mail me at to make arrangements. I do not plan to put her on the Etsy shop because I take all my planters to our Farmer’s Market here in Roanoke to sell. Hope you like her.

Side view

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  1. She is just beautiful Cheryl. The story really is wonderful too.

  2. I am amazed at how you design and execute. She is beautiful.

  3. She is beautiful. What a fascinatng story Cheryl, and what an amazing life Coosaponakeesa had. I am really interested in this period in early American history, so I will have to look her up! I am learning so much from your blog, thanks for another great post!

  4. She is magnificent. The crop in her planter will grow beautifully and reflect the richness of the three metals. Let us know where she goes.

  5. Cheryl I get so excited seeing your art work. I really like this new piece, just fabulous. Such an interesting lady and history too.
    Thanks for sharing,she is amazing !!

  6. Wonderful job!! How can you create her? I like her and I think she looks alive. Nice to visit your blog.


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