The February 2016 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

February 1st, 2016

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The February 2016 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (www.carolinaarts.com) – all 68 pages of it. In my commentary I asked readers to give some love to our supporters – advertisers. They make this publication possible and they deserve to hear a few thanks for their support. I know I appreciate that support.

For single page format use this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/216/216carolinaarts-sp.pdf).

For side by side page format use this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/216/216carolinaarts-dp.pdf).

So download that PDF and dig in – it makes for good reading and shows that you have lots of opportunities to enjoy the visual arts in the Carolinas in this new year. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.
And help us spread the paper around by sending these links to your friends.

If you want to get something in the March 2016 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t wait till the February 24 deadline. But, you do know that you don’t have to wait until the deadline comes up to send us stuff – you can be early. Some folks are already several months ahead of the deadline when their press release would be due.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts
843/693-1306 (a new number)
info@carolinaarts.com

The Results of ArtFields© 2016, the Art Exhibition and Competition that Takes Place in Lake City, SC, Jury Process

January 18th, 2016

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I wrote a blog post about my dislike of ArtFields© selecting locally connected people to jury in artists from the 12 Southeastern states eligible for entry into ArtFields©. You can find it at (http://carolinaarts.com/wordpress/2015/12/28/some-info-and-opinions-about-artfields-in-lake-city-sc/).

Two of the three members of the jury panel were:

Bradford R. Collins, PhD, Professor Art History, School of Visual and Design University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC.

David Houston, Director, Bo Bartlett Center, College of the Arts, Columbus State University, Columbus, GA,

Both have heavy connections to SC’s visual artists. What they left out of Houston’s description was that he was the former Visual Art Coordinator at the SC Arts Commission for many years.

The third juror was: Stephanie Mayer Heydt, PhD, Margaret and Terry Stent, Curator of American Art, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA.

And as I predicted, out of the 775 entries made, including having an extended deadline, 248 are from SC out of the 382 selected to show at ArtFields© 2016. This might be a good reason why so few artists are submitting entries from the other 11 states. But you can only select artists from the pool that enters and more artists from SC enter than any other state – by a long shot.

The full list of accepted artists can be viewed at (http://www.artfieldssc.org/artists/list-of-artfields-2016-accepted-artists/).

The breakdown of the states is as follows:
AL – 14
AR – 2
FL – 6
GA – 20
KY – 0
LA – 8
MS – 3
NC – 57
SC – 248
TN – 16
VA – 7
WV – 1

A total of 382

The number of entries from 2015 was 1,061, which also had an extended deadline. The entries for 2016 were 775 – 27% less than 2015 – that’s 286 less artists who entered last year.

The press release that announced the artists selected to participate in ArtFields© 2016 didn’t mention the fact that the entries – even with another extended deadline was 27% down from 2015. So I requested that info and received it promptly.

It’s not ArtFields©’ job or the agency they hired to help them with marketing to point out bad news and since they offered it as soon as I asked, they were not trying to hide it either. But this is a sign of several bad trends that ArtFields© will need to correct.

As I have mentioned before, an art competition organized by Elder Gallery in Charlotte, NC, called Carolina’s Got Art! seems to attract a large number of artists from just North and South Carolina – just under 1,000 for its 2015 event – with much less money being offered. The reasons for this are many, but I’m not going into this right now. But someone at ArtFields© could do themselves a big favor by inviting Larry Elder to Lake City as a consultant.

I’m still amazed at how few artists from NC are making it into the final selection of artists who will be on display. I don’t have a breakdown telling how many artists entered from each state, but I would assume that it’s close in relationship to how many got in the final cut. I did do a breakdown of those who got in and where they are from.

North Carolina is more developed as far as the visual arts go compared to South Carolina – more populated too, with more big cities and the number of artists who made the cut from these cities is shocking. Here they are from most to least:

Charlotte – 11
Asheville – 5
Wilmington – 5
Chapel Hill – 2
Raleigh – 1
Greensboro – 0
Durham – 0
Winston-Salem – 0

All of these cities have very large visual art communities and it’s hard for me to think that a $50,000 top cash award is not worth their effort to enter ArtFields©. There is a total of $110,000 in cash awards.

Winston-Salem calls themselves the “City of Arts and Innovation” – someone needs to tell them about ArtFields©.

So, what’s the problem – lack of marketing, entry process too hard, too many SC artists in the competition, regional jealousy, fact that top prize is also connected to a popular vote (a heavy advantage to SC artists), too far to deliver work or visit, Lake City just too small, lazy artists, etc.?

Think about it folks – Carolina’s Got Art! with a top award of $5,000 attracted just under 1,000 entries from 2 states and ArtFields© with a $50,000 top award attracts 775 entries from 12 states.

I don’t have hours and hours to go over this problem, much less the days and weeks it might take to really discover what the problem is – I have a publication to put out, but I like ArtFields© and I admire a small town in SC trying to revitalize their city by using the visual arts. I don’t have a clue as to how much work is going into this effort during the whole year or if this is just over their heads. The visual art community is not easy to understand or figure out. I’ve been trying to do that for almost 30 years and on a daily basis I have to scratch my head and wonder.

But I can figure out that something is wrong when a competition that involves artists from 12 states has only 2 artists from Arkansas and 8 from Louisiana – which both had top winners in previous events, and 0 from Kentucky.

Was there no news in Arkansas or Louisiana that they had an artist who won $50,000 at an art competition in South Carolina? That’s news here in SC – at least at Carolina Arts.

Now for the nit-picking part.

I’ve got a problem with the way people throw around numbers in the arts. Like when the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston used to say and got the media to keep repeating for years that it attracted over 100,000 people to Charleston, but usually only sells 60,000 tickets. It’s amazing how they do that. That’s a lot of free tickets given away or just make believe numbers that the media is to lazy to check out. That statement isn’t used much after I pointed out the ticket sales one year.

In the press release I received from Chernoff Newman, the marketing firm in Columbia, SC, ArtFields© hired, late in the season, to help them out, there were a few funny statements, The first was: “… the accepted artists will exhibit nearly 400 works of art,…” and a little later in the release it offers a statement from ArtFields© that says, “… the 2016 event will offer more than 400 pieces of world-class, southern art,…”. Doesn’t anyone edit these press releases. It’s got to be more or less – it can’t be both. And in 2015 and 2016 the actual number of artists on display was 383 and 382 more or less. So where does the 400 number come from?

On the list of artists selected from ArtFields© 2016 it had a statement in red which said, “Special Note: This list is subject to change”, which could make you wonder, but I know some artists don’t show up for some reason or another – really screwing other artists who were next on the cut-off list. Someone might show up with work that doesn’t represent what they submitted as an entry and be disqualified – again screwing other artists. And, I know I saw at least one artist who was listed as living in NC, but I think still lives in SC – it could be that kind of change. But for the 393 artists who didn’t make the cut – did this statement give them hope? I wonder. I don’t know if they call an artists in at the last minute, but even if they do they won’t be included in the promotional catalog.

Another little tidbit. I did check out the new list with the 2015 list of artists accepted. And, in checking just a little more than 10% of last years list (42 artists) 11, about 26%, got back in the competition. I’m not going to leap to the conclusion that 74% of last year’s artists didn’t make it in because that number could change drastically and some may not have re-entered. I kept hearing a lot of artists say they were one and done for various reasons. One being the fact that they were tired of seeing the deadline extended and others didn’t like the fact that local jurors were making the selections of who would be in and who would win cash awards. Turnover is OK – we don’t want to see the same people in the exhibit every year, but you would prefer that any turnover is due to having different jurors and the artists keep entering year after year because they think ArtFields© is a great opportunity. Some artists will always make the cut – they’re that good at what they do, but when good artists stop entering – that’s not good.

But, here’s the good news. From what I saw of the list and my knowledge of NC and SC artists who made the cut – it’s going to be another interesting show worth seeing. And, I can’t wait until March when we get to see the work these artists will be bringing to Lake City on ArtFields©’s online gallery.

To those artists who made the cut – congratulations. You will be seen and have the opportunity to win some money or an exhibit and untold intangible rewards. Someone might buy your work.

So what’s the purpose of this blog entry – history, observation, information and concern. I’m still a supporter of ArtFields© and I want it to succeed – regardless if they ever do another paid ad with us or not. It’s not that much money one way or another, but SC’s visual artists need something like this – even if too many from our state are included out of the 12 state field. I want ArtFields© to continue and improve.

ArtFields© 2016 takes place Apr. 22-30, 2016, in Lake City, SC. Make plans now to attend. For further info about all the activities that will take place, besides all the exhibited art, visit (www.artfieldssc.org).

The January 2016 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

January 2nd, 2016

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The January 2015 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (www.carolinaarts.com) – all 51 pages of it. With this issue we enter into our 20th year of covering the visual art in the Carolinas and our 30th year of producing an arts publication in Charleston and South Carolina. It has been and continues to be a heck of a journey. Thank you all for your support.

For single page format use this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/116/116carolinaarts-sp.pdf).

For side by side page format use this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/116/116carolinaarts-dp.pdf).

So download that PDF and dig in – it makes for good reading and shows that you have lots of opportunities to enjoy the visual arts in the Carolinas in this new year. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

And help us spread the paper around by sending these links to your friends.

If you want to get something in the February 2016 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t wait till the January 24 deadline. But, you do know that you don’t have to wait until the deadline comes up to send us stuff – you can be early. Some folks are already several months ahead of the deadline when their press release would be due.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts
843/693-1306 (a new number)
info@carolinaarts.com

Some Info and Opinions About ArtFields© in Lake City, SC

December 28th, 2015

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I’m a supporter of ArtFields©, the art exhibition and competition that takes place in Lake City, SC, a small town in the Pee Dee area of South Carolina. As far as the media goes, I’m one of their biggest supporter, but that doesn’t keep me from throwing in my 2 cents about what I think they’re doing wrong or could do better.

Right about the time they extended their deadline for its call for entries – a bad habit I wish they would get over – ArtFields© released info about the people who will be helping them select entries and then select the winners of the $110,000 in cash prizes. I support their call for entries, but will not let our readers of Carolina Arts and its related social media, know when they have extended their deadline for entries. It’s an insult for all those who made the original deadline. Letting in a few slackers in after the deadline is wrong.

It’s time that the people running ArtFields© understand that they need to work all year long to make their event successful and stop taking such long breaks after the event ends each year. They need to keep their foot on the gas peddle – marketing the event and encouraging artists to enter the event by deadline. If there is a problem with the entry process they need to fix it and ask artists what the problem is.

I also don’t agree with their selection of people who will be selecting entries and then selecting the winners – as most of them are from the states eligible for entries. These people know the work – by sight – of many of the people who enter and some of them probably called some of their artist friends and told them they should enter. This is another sign that the folks running ArtFields© don’t know much about the visual art community in general. No panelists or juror should be from any of the 12 states artists can enter from or have any connections to those states and the artists who live and work there.

Bradford R. Collins and David Houston are two very good examples of people who should not be in a position to select artists or determine awards. Their ties to artists in SC alone should have disqualified them from these positions. The results will be shown once the 400 are announced.

These important positions should be filled with arts professionals from the North West, Mid-West and North East of the US – folks as far away as possible from the Southeastern states.

The people ArtFields© selected smell too much like the SC Arts Commission – a group in my opinion ArtFields© should stay far away from if they want their event to grow and prosper. ArtFields© already suffers from a poor retention rate of people who entered one year but do not enter again. That’s a bad pattern making it hard to attract new entries each year – resulting in extended deadlines.

Also – this list of people making entry selections and award selections should be identified before entry time lines begin, not as selections are closing. Another bad habit of the SC Arts Commission, who once told me they do it that way so artists don’t threaten jurors to pick them or else. Or else what? Is that really a problem when it comes to juried shows? And, if it is – it’s just another good reason for selecting people outside – far outside the area of artists who can enter.

So here’s the 2016 list of Panelists and Jury Members

ArtFields© 2016

Panelists:

Bradford R. Collins, PhD, Professor Art History, School of Visual and Design University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC

Stephanie Mayer Heydt, PhD, Margaret and Terry Stent Curator of American Art, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

David Houston, Director, Bo Bartlett Center, College of the Arts, Columbus State University, Columbus, GA

Jury Members:

Graham Boettcher, chief curator and The William Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL. Boettcher was previously a curatorial fellow at the Yale University Art Gallery, and has held research fellowships at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and the Terra Foundation Summer Residency in Giverny, France.

Stephanie Cash, editor of BURNAWAY – The Voice of Art in the South magazine in Atlanta, GA. Cash contributes to such publications as Art in America, Photograph, and Modern Painters, and has also worked as a free-lance writer and editor for ArtsATL.com, Rizzoli, and Prestel publishers.

Kimberly Light, co-founder and partner of Connelly & Light Art Advising Firm, a full service art advisory, curatorial, collections management company based in LA and NYC.

Emily Smith, executive director of 1708 Gallery; a non-profit gallery committed to providing opportunities for artistic innovation for emerging and established artists and to expanding the understanding and appreciation of new art for the public. Smith, of Richmond, VA, was the Curatorial Fellow in Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Leslie Umberger, a curator and art historian of American art, specializing in the work of folk, self-taught, and vernacular artists. In 2012 Umberger was appointed as inaugural Curator of Folk and Self-taught Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is currently organizing a major retrospective for the Alabama artist Bill Traylor (1843-1949), which will open in the spring of 2018 in Washington, DC.

The Annual Trip to One Eared Cow Glass in Columbia, SC, for Holiday Shopping

December 11th, 2015

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Linda and I made a quick trip to One Eared Cow Glass in Columbia, SC, to pick out some Christmas gifts and a few others that have backed up – house warming and birthday gifts included. Of course it felt more like being transported for Linda. She drove home after a 12 hour shift at 911 and I jumped in the car and drove us to Columbia. She seems to be on the wrong side of our traveling anywhere, She can sleep some in the car, but it’s not the best place to catch a few winks after 12 hours of emergency calls. I-26 is not the best place to chill after the nightly battle.

It’s a short two hours for me – compared to my past driving experience, but there’s not much in between except public radio or Christmas music. And these days only one SC Rest Stop due to construction in the Columbia area.

This was our first trip back to Columbia since the big flood. We didn’t see any signs of flood damage on the route we usually take, but the rivers were higher than normal. The thing to remember when you hear about a disaster somewhere – media reports show you the worse of things, big cities recover very quickly and businesses need customers to keep a disaster from becoming a real disaster. Don’t not go to Columbia as you think you’ll have a hard time getting around. Most major roads are all open. And businesses not damaged really need your business.

One Eared Cow Glass was full of great gifts for family and friends and yourself – if you’ve been good. Prices seem to start at $30 and go everywhere in between $5,000 or $6,000 for a big glass bug that was in a display at the SC State Fair a few years ago. But I saw a lot of $50-$70 pieces that would make a great one-of-a-kind gift – from Christmas balls, jewelry, small jars, drinking glasses, wine bottle stoppers, etc.

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I went and talked shop with the Cowboys, Tom Lockart and Mark Woodham, while they worked. That saved me from having to give opinions about things that Linda was checking out. I was in the work studio part of One Eared Cow Glass for about 45 minutes to an hour. We talked about a number of things, but one of the interesting subjects was funding of demos of the process of creating glass, something these two guys have been doing for several decades. In fact on most days you can go there and sit down and watch them work. It’s something I’ve done hundreds of times. They have chairs there just for that purpose.

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Recently another glass studio in SC received a couple of grants from the SC Arts Commission for putting on demos and something called “theatre”. This was funding for a commercial business – something the Arts Commission has said can’t be done for commercial businesses in the arts. I’ve never figured why it can’t be done – at least any logical reason, but that’s what they always have said, but here they were doing it. My experience is that for every rule the Arts Commission has for not doing something to help some people always finds an exception for people they want to help. There’s a longer story behind this discrepancy, but I’m not going into that now, but the point of mentioning it is that all kinds of people have been doing free art demos for years and now some folks are getting paid to do it – even folks who have regularly been doing it for free, but have now found a way to get paid. What’s their incentive to do them for free again?

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So I eventually went into the gallery and it took me five minutes to select several gifts including one for myself. It doesn’t take me long to make selections – I know what I like and I usually pick what I like for others.

I took about 150 photos while there, but I selected just 16 to give you a good idea of what you’ll find there. If you want to see more visit (www.oneearedcow.com).

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If you’re looking for an unusual gift – think art glass, but if you go to Columbia, there are a lot of other art galleries there – just check out our Commercial Gallery listings in the latest issue of Carolina Arts at (www.carolinaarts.com). And if you live in Columbia – these folks will be happy to see you come through their doors too. A gift of art is always the best gift for any occasion.

After All This Time – A Shopping Trip to Seagrove, NC, To The Celebration Of Seagrove Potters

December 8th, 2015

It’s been a long time since I first went to Seagrove, NC, and came home with pottery to add to our pottery collection, but on Nov. 20, 2015, Linda and I were headed to the Gala evening of the 8th Celebration of Seagrove Potters in Seagrove. It’s about a 4 1/2 – 5 hour trip north so Linda managed to get a little sleep after working a 12 hour shift Thursday night. By the time we got to the Gala, she was working on a lot of hours with little sleep. That’s how bad she wanted to go on this trip.

The other nice thing about this trip was that we planned an overnight stay in Asheboro, NC, about 12 miles north of Seagrove so we wouldn’t have to make the trip home another 4 1/2 – 5 hours after the Gala. This also gave us the opportunity to visit the Celebration on Saturday – with the masses – and then drive home during daylight hours.

We met up with Zelda Ravenel, our Super Blog Guru & Graphics person, who came down from Western Virginia to join us at the Gala and Celebration. She was just our Blog Guru, but after recovering our blog Carolina Arts Unleashed, which had been corrupted and then wiped out by our Internet server, I added Super to her title. This was her first trip into the world of Seagrove pottery. And, you wouldn’t be reading this blog I’ve written on for years without the recovery Zelda made happen

We arrived at Historic Luck’s Cannery in Seagrove, official home of the Celebration of the Seagrove Potters, just before the 6pm opening, after we passed the entrance – as did many other drivers in the dark (more lighting please). When we walked in the door there was a very long line of serious looking pottery collectors. I mean these people came to bid on the rare one-of-a-kind collaborative works created by Seagrove potters being auctioned and to have first chance to buy from over 75 local potters before the hordes arrived on Saturday and Sunday. And, I’m sure like me, they were also there to enjoy the food, drink and live music being offered by Bold Music. The food was fantastic as was the music, but I was the driver – so only one drink.

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The men calling the numbers. Frank Neef standing to the back. Photo by Zelda Ravenel

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A view of the bidding crowd.

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Another view of the bidding crowd.

When the auction was over, those folks, made up of highly competitive collectors, bid $8,150 on these collaborative works. Unlike some art auction fundraisers, these folks bid more than the normal value of similar works due to the fact that there wouldn’t be any other works like the ones offered. Most art auction fundraisers attract folks looking to pay under market prices for works donated. They don’t seem to grasp the intention of fundraisers. And Seagrove potters are asked to donate to a lot of fundraisers throughout the area and the state of North Carolina – all the time. It’s nice to see the public respond so well to a fundraiser which benefits their own community.

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One of the works being auctioned by Frank Neef and Paul Ray. Neef was also acting as emcee for the auction and he worked on several other collaborative works being auctioned.

The live auction itself is well worth the admission of the Gala as some of the items saw some heated bidding which resulted in final figures that were staggering, but great for the potters and for the audience to witness.

During breakfast Saturday morning at the hotel we stayed we realized that most of the other folks at the hotel were at the Gala and a few were still talking about their luck in being the winning bidder at the Gala auction. The auction was the buzz of the morning and most, like us, were headed back for more pottery buying.

But before we get to Saturday and leave the Gala it should be mentioned that the Gala was also the best time to meet or catch up with all the Seagrove potters as some keep their potteries open on Saturday for folks who also want to visit the potteries where they can see more works by their favorite potters. After all, they can only bring so much to their booths at the cannery. So Friday night was also a great time for me to catch up with potters who I may interact with on Facebook and by e-mail but haven’t seen face-to-face in awhile. And for me, that’s the main reason for returning to Seagrove. I love the pottery they make, but I care more about keeping the friendship of some of those potters in my collection.  That’s always been one of the main incentives for doing Carolina Arts – the artists, art administrators, gallery owners, and others working in the visual art community in the Carolinas. I’m not getting rich doing an arts publication, but I’ve been enriched by the people I have met and many I have yet to meet. As strange as it seems, some of the best people I’ve never met, are good friends and one day I might meet them. Of course maybe one of the reasons we’re friends is that we haven’t met yet. I have to think about that one.

And just to remind you that I’m not getting too mushy in my old age – some of the worst people I’ve met or know are also in this same art community. Not so much the Seagrove community, but the Carolina art community. Some would stab you in the back for a fistful of dollars in funding.

OK – let’s get back to Saturday morning, Oct. 21, 2015, the first day of the 8th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters.

We learned at the Friday night Gala that Mark Heywood would be at their gallery at Whynot Pottery, while Meredith Heywood would be working at the Celebration. They are just one of many pottery husband and wife teams in Seagrove. After Zelda had enjoyed the Friday night Gala I wanted her to see one of the actual potteries – where the magic happens. Once we got in the shop she started taking photos of works she knew would fit into some of her friends home decor, but the highlight of this visit came when we visited the studio and Mark gave us a real tour of the process involved. Linda and I have seen it before but there is always something new to see or learn and in this case find a gem along the way.

Mark was showing us some things about glazes and pointed to a small jar which had a blue glaze they used to do in the past but had to stop as it didn’t work well with the new firing technique they liked – it turned that blue glaze a muddy gray. As he went on about some other parts of the process I could see that Linda couldn’t keep her hands off that little jar. After about ten more minutes of Linda admiring that jar I told Mark he better sell her that jar so we could get on with the tour or we would be here all day. Zelda was just eating it all up. It is an amazing process of turning clay into fine art objects or beautiful functional ware. I promised her I’d take her to One Eared Cow Glass in Columbia, SC, one day, to see the Cowboys make amazing works out of molten sand.

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That sweet little jar from Whynot Pottery.

After Whynot, I figured it was time to get back to the cannery – by now the first shift of the crowd might be moving on and we might find a parking space. And just as we got there cars were coming out – heading to pottery festival number 2 or out to individual potteries around Seagrove. We found a not too far out of the way parking space and as we walked in we ran info folks carrying several plastic bags in each hand full of pottery, headed to their cars. The funniest scene I saw that day was a very small woman leading a very large young man carrying a very large pot – bigger than she was – probably to see if he was going to be able to fit it into her car.

Now this was my fourth trip to a Celebration of Seagrove Potters, and the last two were not great in one respect. Due to our financial situation during the last two visits I had to watch other happy folks carry those bags of pottery and I wasn’t going to be carrying any. I was on a Shoestring Publishing Company budget – which was gas and food money. This time I didn’t have to go home empty handed. I can tell you this – there is nothing more frustrating than looking at one fabulous work after another – all reasonably priced and not being able to make any of them yours. I also felt bad as many of the potters knew I had a pottery collection. All I could think was that they were thinking that I didn’t see anything I liked, when it was a case of my eyes were filled with – I want that, and that and that too. It’s not a great feeling.

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Here’s another work we purchased during the event from Keith Martindale Pottery.

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And this one from Potts pottery is now in our collection. For info call 336/873-9660. Looks like we had a thing for blue during this trip.

Once we got in it was the usual mob scene. Linda had seen it before, but Zelda was wide eyed – there were a lot of people moving like a river from booth to booth. We got there just in time for Eck McCanless’ (Eck McCanless Pottery) demo which Zelda wanted to see how he got all those different clays to blend together in what seemed like a controlled manner. She had seen the finished products the night before. The demos are really something to watch. The potters work their magic with such ease right before your eyes that it seems like a trick that must involve some sleight of hand – like putting a slab of clay on the wheel – distracting the crowd and then pulling a finished piece from under the table.

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Eck McCanless of Eck McCanless Pottery doing a demo on Saturday. Photo by Zelda Ravenel.

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One result from the Eck McCanless demo. Photo by Zelda Ravenel.

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A view of finished works – carved agateware from Eck McCanless Pottery. Photo from Eck McCanless Pottery.

At lunch time I got to have my all time favorite – a box of flavorful veggies and noodles from Pacific Rim Noodles from Asheboro, NC. I’ve had their lunch offering every time I’ve gone and hope to every time I go in the future. I always ask for extra veggies and I get them. My mouth is drooling right now.

After getting that warm feeling in my tummy, it was time to make one more round and see what more was going to go home with us. We found a couple to more works that we made ours, but I still had to hold off on a few things – mostly because I waited too long to get what I wanted. Next time I’ll know to do all my shopping at the Gala.

Soon it was time to head home. Zelda had a good time and I think she’d look forward to going again. Linda and I had a good time – we were tired – she was really tired from a couple of days without a lot of sleep. Zelda headed back to Western Virginia and we headed back to South Carolina. The ride home was good – we listened to Clemson win another football game and had a great dinner in Florence, SC.

I’ve got some images of pottery we saw, pottery we now own, and a few of the events, but none of them can come close to the experience of being there. I could have taken more, but… And, that’s what all this is about. I go to these events I write about because I enjoy them and hope others will too, once they learn about them. I’m not trying to share my experience through words and pictures – I’m not that good of a writer or photographer to even come close to doing that. Believe me, you’re being short changed if that’s what you’re trying to do by reading this. I want you to go yourself. They’re going to have another Celebration next year the weekend before Thanksgiving (that’s Nov. 18-20, 2016). Make plans now – especially if you’re going to stay in Asheboro – their hotels fill up fast with pottery lovers from all over the Carolinas and beyond. I’m not going to tell anyone when I’m going again. I want to make sure I’ll be getting all the pots I want at the Gala next time.

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Works from Frank Neef Pottery.

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Face mug from Luck’s Ware pottery. For info call 336/879-3261.

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Works from Ray Pottery. My next purchase from Seagrove will be from this pottery.

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Tile from Snowhill Pottery & Tileworks. For info call 336/301-6681.

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Works from Studio Touya.

Of course you don’t have to wait another year, some of the potteries will be having special Christmas events next weekend on Dec. 12, 2015 – visit (www.discoverSeagrove.com) for details. And, on Apr. 16-17, 2016, you can attend the 8th annual Celebration of Spring in Seagrove, for kiln openings and a studio tours of individual potteries. Did someone say road trip? And if you’re not one for crowds – you can plan your own trip anytime – just check the Discover Seagrove website to make sure folks will be open as some potteries kind of slow down or even shut down during the winter months.

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Tile from Whynot Pottery.

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This is a photo of tiles at the Whynot Pottery’s booth. The giraffe in the top row is a product of Acacia Art Tiles, a project of Meredith Heywood and her sister Lee Lewis who has passed away. Meredith is producing the giraffe tiles using an image her sister designed to keep a part of that partnership alive. There’s one there in row two and row three. What a great way to remember someone.

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A large pot from Ben Owen Pottery.

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Works from Bulldog Pottery.

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Works from JLK Jewelry at Jugtown.

The great thing about the Fall Celebration of Seagrove Potters is that it brings a lot of the area’s potters together in one place like a pottery mall. You don’t have to travel so far to see lots of different kinds of pottery, shop for the price that’s right for you, and meet the potters. If you’re looking for more of an adventure, the Spring Kiln Openings are for you. Traveling around the rolling lush hills of the Seagrove area is nice and you get the see the pottery operations. It’s your choice, but it’s a choice you should make. Don’t sit around reading about other people’s trips.

P.S. I was listening to Don Henley’s new CD, Cass County while writing most of this. It fit right in with my feelings about Seagrove – the center of pottery in the Carolinas. You know Henley – he’s one of those Eagles who has a sharp tongue about modern life, but is just an old Texas country boy.

Oh, and I’ve got one more thing to add. I’ve included a photo of what is NOT the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove. This used to be called the Museum of North Carolina Traditional Pottery, which is not really much of a museum – it’s more like a store with pottery on metal shelves. I thought the pottery wars were over in Seagrove but I guess some are still fighting. They renamed this place trying to confuse people looking for the real Pottery Center. Here’s a photo of how it looks. I hope you notice the difference.

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This is NOT the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC

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This IS the one and only NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC – don’t be fooled.

The December 2015 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

December 1st, 2015

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The December 2015 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (www.carolinaarts.com) – all 59 pages of it. You can tell that many in the art community are winding down for the Holidays when it’s hard to get people’s attention for the arts – although once schools are out for that Winter break – what better time to go visit art galleries and art museums.

For single page format use this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/1215/1215carolinaarts-sp.pdf).

For side by side page format use this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/1215/1215carolinaarts-dp.pdf).

So download that PDF and dig in – it makes for good reading and shows that you have lots of opportunities to enjoy the visual arts in the Carolinas this month. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

And help us spread the paper around by sending these links to your friends.

If you want to get something in the January 2016 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t wait till the December 24 deadline (Christmas Eve). But, you do know that you don’t have to wait until the deadline comes up to send us stuff – you can be early. Some folks are already several months ahead of the deadline when their press release would be due.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts
843/693-1306 (a new number)
info@carolinaarts.com

A Trip to Charleston, SC, to See Some Rare Art by Bill Buggel at Corrigan Gallery, on View Through Nov. 30, 2015

November 18th, 2015

Last Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, I decided to go see an exhibit at Corrigan Gallery in Charleston, SC, featuring works by Bill Buggel, on view through Nov. 30, 2015. This was his first solo exhibit in 16 years and before that not many more during his 50 year career in the visual arts in South Carolina. That’s how rare this exhibition is. It had to be something good to get me to drive into Charleston on Friday the 13th.

In full disclosure, Buggel was one of the first artists whom I met in Charleston. And, he gave me a job working in a photography business he started with two other partners on John Street in Charleston in the late 1970’s. That job eventually led to Linda (my better half) and I having our own photo processing business for 16 years. Buggel also had a T-shirt business next to the photo shop. And above the photography shop he shared a studio space with Manning Williams and Linda Fantuzzo.

That photo business dealt with a lot of people in the arts in Charleston, due to Buggel’s connections. At some point I came across a copy of a book published during SC’s 1970 Tricentennial celebration – a survey of contemporary artists in SC at the time. Inside, it featured William Lee Buggel as one of the most up and coming artists in SC. Was this the same guy I was working for and now made T-shirts? It was.

One day in the T-shirt shop I asked Buggel what happened? He told me he made more money making T-shirts in a year than he had ever made creating art – it was a matter of money and making a living. I thought – what a shame. But there was a time when I thought I wanted to be a fine art photographer, but I learned there was more money to be made processing film and making prints for other photographers and that business eventually would get us into the art world, not by making art, but by reporting on it. And, that’s the sad case for many artists – many just can’t make a living at it – no matter how talented they are.

So here we both are, many years later, I’m the editor and publisher of an arts publication and Buggel is having an art exhibit of his latest works. Both are about as strange a thing that I can think of.

I remember the show Buggel had at the old Charleston City Gallery in the Dock Street Theatre. It was actually the first time I had seen any of his art, other than his photography. It was apparently the same type of work he did back in the day when he was still trying to make it as a full time artist. I liked it – it was abstract. And I like the work he is still doing today. It’s very tactile, without having to touch, and I didn’t touch. It’s colorful and full of patterns. And, he doesn’t offer a lot of art speak explaining what it means.

What’s really amazing about it is that I haven’t seen anything like it in all of my years covering the visual arts. There are a few other artists using sand to give texture to their work, but I haven’t run into anything else like what Buggel is doing and that’s saying something in a world of look alike art.

It’s really hard to understand why he didn’t get very far in SC with this art, except that the Bill Buggel I know is not one who plays by the rules and makes nice with people you might have to in order to the climb the art ladder in SC. I always heard that in SC, it’s not how good the art you create is, it’s who you know in SC that can get you to the top. I don’t believe that crappy art can stay on top too long, but I know it does help to have friends in high places in SC. Buggel is too much of a straight talker to stay out of trouble with those kind of folks.

It was hard getting good images of individual works and still be able to show off the vivid colors, so I decided to shoot only a couple of full images, then some very up close detail shots. I also took a few wide view shots of the gallery, but like all exhibits, you have to see the works up close, in person to really enjoy the works.

1115corrigan-buggle-passing-gravePassing a Small Country Grave Yard, by Bill Buggel, 17″ x 14″. Just a small country graveyard with a plowed field and wild flowers. Sometimes experiences come together in small ways.

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Gray and Brick Red-Large, by Bill Buggel, 42″ x 60″. This painting is larger because of the scope of the construction at the building site.

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Gray and Brick Red-Large (detail), by Bill Buggel.

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A set of images I tagged as the Three Bears – Baby Bear on top, Mama Bear in the middle and Papa Bear on the bottom including: Summer Wild Flowers (top), by Bill Buggel, 18″ x 12 1/2″; Passing Verticals (middle), by Bill Buggel, 27″ x 17″; and Passing Yellow (bottom), by Bill Buggel, 36″ x 28″.

1115corrigan-buggle-passing-yellow-detailPassing Yellow (detail bottom of the Three Bears), by Bill Buggel, 36″ x 28″. Another experience of seeing static objects while moving. Along the roadside wild flowers mass into many different colors and shapes. I try not to know or identify the flowers. Knowing too much tends to take the mystery of the experience away from me.

1115corrigan-buggle-gallery-view1Gallery view 1

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Gallery view 2

Go see this exhibit – you might not get a chance to do so again – which is a shame, but Buggel is out of the art loop in SC. And, these days the “inner circle” in South Carolina’s visual art community is full and unable to feed its own – in fact I think they are feeding on each other.

Corrigan Gallery is located at 62 Queen Street in historic downtown Charleston. Hours are: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm or by chance & appt.

For further information call the gallery at 843/722-9868 or visit (www.corrigangallery.com).

Before I left Charleston, I extended my luck on this unlucky day by dropping in on a drop in for Pernille Ægidius Dake at Nina Liu and Friends.  Dake was one of my favorite Charleston artists who left us to become a real Yankee living in Upstate New York. Yes, you heard that right – Nina Liu is still in Charleston and her gallery space and home is still for sale and full of wonderful art objects for sale. Not as full as it has been, but there is plenty there for all you who have been missing their Nina Liu and Friends fix. It’s hard to keep up with her these days, but I think you’ll find her there at 24 State Street though the holidays, but then back again in the Spring. Call ahead to see if she is open at 843/722-2724.

It was good to see Pernille after all these years. We get postcards from her from time to time – for no reason at all or from no special destination, but they are always welcomed. Her painting that hangs in our home always draws attention. It’s sort of a self-portrait – more like a body print. The grandboys seem to like it.

I finally made it home without incident.

Crossing South Carolina’s Great Flood Plain to Go See Some Great Black and White Photographs of America at the Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City, SC

November 5th, 2015

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The title of this blog post refers to the fact that in order for me to travel from Bonneau, SC, to Lake City, SC, – just an hour’s drive on Hwy. 52, I would have to cross over the Santee River and the Black River Swamp. This is no big deal when it’s dry but a month ago in October, 2015, when a low in the weather pattern across SC sucked all the rain out of Hurricane Joaquin and dumped it on SC – it wasn’t possible for a while. Hundreds of roads and bridges in SC were closed and unpassable. But by Oct. 30, the day I traveled to Lake City to see the exhibit, America the Beautiful: The Monumental Landscapes of Clyde Butcher, featuring 56 large-scale, black and white photographs, on view at the Jones-Carter Gallery, the roads were high and dry – way above the water. There were still signs along the road of the destruction the flooding left behind, but the roads were clear and the communities I passed were as busy as beehives. Most of SC is now open for business.

The Jones-Carter Gallery, located at 105 Henry Street, next to The Bean Market in Lake City, SC, will be presenting this exhibition until Jan. 2, 2016. You still have lots of time to go see it, but don’t put it off too long or the holidays will get in your way. The gallery will be closed Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 24-26, but they will be open New Year’s Day for those who don’t care to spend the day watching football.

America the Beautiful: The Monumental Landscapes of Clyde Butcher is a collection of photographs of the American landscape, spanning breathtaking sites across the United States, from the coast of Maine to the Badlands, to the Everglades and to the Great Smoky Mountains. The exhibition tour management is provided by Photographic Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA. And these folks did a great job, along with the staff of the Jones-Carter Gallery in presenting this exhibition. There are large identification boards – most are 8″ x 10″ in size and some are as large at 16″ x 20″ or larger. They were very informative, giving the locations where the images were taken, and info about how they were captured – without too much technical info. Photographers sometimes get too wrapped up in photo tech talk. The photographs themselves were big and beautiful. America never looked so beautiful.

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Moon over Tetons by Clyde Butcher. All images are courtesy of Clyde Butcher Galleries.

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Here a photo of Clyde Butcher making the image Moon over Tetons. All images are courtesy of Clyde Butcher Galleries.

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Here’s an example of the large ID boards.

I always say, “Take the Americans out of the American landscape and we look like the best place in the world”. I think Ansel Adams learned that too, and it looks like Clyde Butcher is no fool either. In fact, I think the message in these photographs is that we can keep these great places looking great if we just keep out of them. Viewing the exhibit is the best way for most Americans to see these spaces. Once mankind puts himself in the picture – it’s all down hill from there.  We all don’t need to experience these spaces in person. It’s best left to the professionals to go there and then tell their story. Oh it’s much better to see it in person close up, but we all don’t behave well in nature.

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El Capitan by Clyde Butcher. All images are courtesy of Clyde Butcher Galleries.

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Sand Dunes by Clyde Butcher. All images are courtesy of Clyde Butcher Galleries.

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Here’s a look at a couple of big images.

Some of the photographs offered are almost like standing where the photographer was standing – they’re that large. And Clyde Butcher is an old school photographer. He carries an 8″ x 10″ view camera around – through the woods, through the swamp, over the mountains and sand dunes. Sometimes he gets lucky and finds an image along the roadside. Then he just has to unpack his vehicle, but most of the time the best shoots are in remote places – in the early morning or late in the afternoon.

That’s one thing I don’t think the general public understands about photography. You know the folks who say. “I could have taken that if I just went there.” Most great photographs are made after lots of scouting trips to find locations, then you have to figure what time of year and what time of the day the light will be right, and if you’re lucky it won’t rain that day or be snowing – or maybe you’re waiting until it snows. Like most good things it’s about location, location, location and timing. So many photographers may take years to get the image they want and some people think they’ll just be able to walk up and take the shot. Most people can’t imagine waiting an hour for anything these days.

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Clyde Butch in sun rays in redwood forest. All images are courtesy of Clyde Butcher Galleries.

The other old school thing about the photographs in this exhibit is that they came out of a darkroom. Having spent 16 years in a black and white darkroom myself I know that was no easy trick – especially when you see the size of some of these images. Hannah Davis, the Gallery Director at the Jones-Carter Gallery, told me that Butcher is using some digital equipment now just to cut down on his wear and tear. After all,  he’s 74 years old and still working at capturing America’s beauty. Davis also informed me that Butcher, who has never spent time in South Carolina photographing, will soon be working in the Congaree National Park, working on a book for the National Park Service to show off our national parks.

I took a few pics of the way the gallery looked, which shows why I couldn’t take any of the individual photos. The glass, or more likely Plexiglas, covering the images was very reflective. It’s a good thing the gallery has some PR images they could send me to give you a better idea of how the images looked in person – they were spectacular. And, that’s the great thing about this exhibit, it’s easy to look at.

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Here’s a look down the first wall of images as you enter the exhibit.

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A view of the back wall of the exhibit.

This is the easiest kind of exhibit for anyone to look at. Yes, there is the message that we need to save these areas, but other than that – you see what you see. It’s pretty straight forward. The info blocks give you the where, how and why, but beyond that there’s nothing you need to figure out.

A lot of today’s photographers need to go see this exhibit and read all the info offered – especially the smart phone photographers. The subject matter may not be your cup of tea – not cutting edge enough, but the process is important. Good images just don’t happen – they are created or captured over time. The process should be slow and deliberate. Results should be studied before they are presented.

Go see this exhibit. Clyde Butcher has put a lot into making these images and most of you, including me, will never get to see these parts of America any other way. And, that’s a good and bad thing, but we can all make sure we hold on to these places for as long as we can and save many more for generations to come. That’s all about being a good citizen and paying the price of keeping some things instead of using everything up as fast as we can.

The Jones-Carter Gallery is a facility of the Community Museum Society in Lake City which also manages ArtFields©, a community based art exhibit and competition with $110,000 in cash prizes, which will take place Apr. 22 – 30, 2016. For further info about it visit (www.artfieldssc.org).

Admission is free at the Jones-Carter Gallery, as is parking, and there’s plenty of it. The gallery hours are: Tue.-Fri., 10am-6pm and Sat., 11am-5pm.

In conjunction with this exhibition, ART 101 at ONE will be offered on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, from 1-2pm. Meet us at The Inn at the Crossroads (128 W. Main Street) for a lunch and learn lecture series featuring a hand-crafted lunch box provided by The Crossroads Grill and a presentation by Gallery Manager, Hannah L. Davis. These bite-sized pieces of art appreciation are a fun way to get to know our current exhibits and learn more about some of your favorite artists! November’s lecture will be “From Ansel Adams to Edward Weston: American Photography Masters,” and will cover several of the most influential photographers in the US.

Art 101 at ONE is a program of ArtFields®. The above lecture series is presented in conjunction with the Jones-Carter Gallery’s exhibition, America the Beautiful: The Monumental Landscapes of Clyde Butcher. Tickets are $15 and must be purchased in advance at (www.artfieldssc.org). For more information about this program, please call the ArtFields office at 843/374-0180.

For further info about the exhibit, call Hannah L. Davis, Gallery Manager at 843/374-1505 or visit (www.jonescartergallery.com).

The November 2015 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

November 2nd, 2015

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The November 2015 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (www.carolinaarts.com) – all 73 pages of it. That’s 14 less than last month – as November is a carry over month. Meaning most of the shows in Oct. lasted several months and many of the ones in the Nov. issue started in October, but folks didn’t get us their info in time.

For single page format use this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/1115/1115carolinaarts-sp.pdf).

For side by side page format use this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/1115/1115carolinaarts-dp.pdf).

So download that PDF and dig in – it makes for good reading and shows that you have lots of opportunities to enjoy the visual arts in the Carolinas this month. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

And help us spread the paper around by sending these links to your friends.

If you want to get something in the December 2015 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t wait till the November 24 deadline. But, you do know that you don’t have to wait until the deadline comes up to send us stuff – you can be early. Some folks are already several months ahead of the deadline when their press release would be due.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts
843/693-1306 (a new number)
info@carolinaarts.com