Archive for the ‘Art Sales’ Category

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

Tuesday, 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.

A Trip to Fairhaven in the Land of North Carolina for a Taste of the Renaissance Life

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

On an open field surrounded by wooded forest in upper Mecklenburg County, just north of the Queen City in the land of North Carolina, the mist clears for eight weekends revealing the village of Fairhaven. That’s where the Annual Carolina Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace takes place.

It’s a place where you can dress in your own fancy festival garb or come as a time traveler from the future to enjoy period entertainment, test your skill at throwing an axe or climbing Jacob’s ladder, watch a joust to the death, taste the King’s nuts, visit a privy, or just follow the King and Queen strolling throughout the village with their court at hand. There’s lots of things for your little serfs to enjoy too. Or, just eat, drynk & be merrie. Huzzah!

At about the turn of the 21st century we started receiving offers to trade advertising for tickets to this festival. At the time I knew nothing about Renaissance Festivals and had no interest in this offer. Then one day in a conversation with our godchild Zelda Ravenel (our Carolina Arts webmaster and graphics guru) – she mentioned that some friends who were in her high school’s madrigal choir were going to go sing at the Carolina Renaissance Festival. I said that I had been getting requests for an offer for tickets and the rest is history.

The first year we went as time travelers from the future in our regular cloths. I was blown away by this place – it was a real renaissance village with hundreds of entertainers, artisans, village workers, and people just walking around the village in period costumes. The next year we all went in costumes we made (Linda did the bulk of the sewing for me) and soon we all had several outfits so that we wouldn’t show up in the same one year after year. I now have three and we’ll all have new ones designed by Zelda for next year. Many times we were taken for people who work at the festival, but our costumes usually pale in comparison to the real workers’ costumes. You might have seen one of mine – Rengarr – on my Facebook page.

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Some years we had a group of 10 or 12 who went with us, but over the last five years only some small part of that group have made it, but Linda and I haven’t been able to work out the time to go. This year Linda, Zelda and I made it. But before I go into what went on at this festival – let me tell you about the journey there.

We hardly go anywhere that isn’t in some way related to work, and in this case we were not only visiting an advertiser’s event, but we did some scouting along the way. As usual we traveled from the headquarters of PSMG, Inc. located on Lake Moultrie, around the lake and over to I-26 towards Columbia, SC. In Columbia we picked up I-77 and headed north towards Charlotte, NC – the Queen City.

Our first stop was the relatively new Olde English District Artists Market & Visitor Center in Richburg, SC, just off exit 65 of I-77. The Center is located right off the exit on a frontage road off I-77 at 3200 Commerce Drive in Suite A.

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The Center carries a variety of works made by artists from the seven counties in SC which make up the Olde English District, including: Chester, Chesterfield, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lancaster, Union and York. The selection is good now, but I imagine as artists learn about this new outlet and travelers on I-77 learn of the Center – many more artists will soon be represented there. The Center also has a lot of info about what’s going on and can be seen in those seven counties – including art events.

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Works by Gina Bruce

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Works by Stephanie Lavery of Moonstar Creations

The Olde English District Artists Market & Visitor Center and the Avant Garde Center for the Arts in Great Falls, SC, have teamed up to bring an impressive array of artists to Lancaster, SC, for The Holiday Downtown Market on Dec. 7, from 10am-6pm, part of the Red Rose Holiday Tour (Dec. 6-8, 2013). The Holiday Downtown Market will be located at 212 S. Main Street in Lancaster. Holiday shoppers have a central location to find works of art that include stained glass, wood turnings, paintings, photography, artistic jewelry & accessories, sweetgrass baskets, pottery, wood carvings, sculpture, and more!

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The Big Sign

While writing this blog post, I noticed on Facebook that the Center was finally getting their sign which people will see as they travel back and forth on I-77, so more people will be discovering this outlet for art and info in the near future.

You see it’s all related – when it comes to Carolina Arts – you can’t throw a stone or drive for miles in your car and not find something to do involving the visual art community in the Carolinas. Just check out a copy of Carolina Arts – you’ll see.

And, in case you were wondering – while we were at the Center a couple purchased a fair number of items there and another visitor was looking very hard, but we had to keep moving as we had another destination to reach before we could check into our hotel.

We got back on I-77 and headed past Rock Hill, SC, to drive around the south of downtown Charlotte to transfer on to I-85 headed further north to Concord, NC.

I wish I had done a search on highway construction projects that might be in my travel path, but I never do. I’m a kind of jump in the car and head in the direction I’m headed kind of guy, so sometimes I pay the price of not doing any research. I-85 going north from Charlotte is under construction – adding another lane but closing one of the three that was there making it only two lanes heading north. This was Friday afternoon on an holiday weekend and many cars were flowing out of Charlotte, so soon travel was bumper to bumper. After the first half hour of getting nowhere slowly, I was thinking I might have been better off going on I-77 and getting off at Huntersville, NC, and taking NC 73 over to Concord, but we were stuck.

After a never-ending slow crawl up I-85 from Charlotte to Concord, we made it to The Galleries of the Cabarrus Arts Council 30 minutes before they closed. The Galleries are on the first floor of the Historic Cabarrus Courthouse – a beautiful building, located at 65 Union Street South in downtown Concord.

I-85 outside of Charlotte is probably going to be under construction for years to come, so I might suggest an alternate route – especially if you’re trying to get there from Charlotte on a Friday afternoon.

For years I’ve wanted to get there to see one of their exhibits – they always seem to be showing some of the best artists in North Carolina and sometimes works by a few South Carolina artists. The current shows were a good example of what I feel is the norm for the Cabarrus Arts Council.

“Soft Focus,” includes artworks embracing impressionistic techniques and the moderating effects of time and memory. The exhibition features works by Katherine Armacost, Tamie Beldue, Nancy G. Cook, Bre Barnett Crowell, Alan Dehmer, Charles Farrar (the only local artist), Carolyn Glazener, Chris Luther, David McRary, Terri Otten, Terance Painter, Stuart Roper, Jeremy Sams, Deborah Squirem Charlie Tefft, and Wendy Whitson.

“Shop Seagrove & Piedmont Pottery,” is CAC’s annual exhibition of acclaimed potters from the Seagrove area of North Carolina and some from the Piedmont area of NC. The exhibition features works by Bulldog Pottery, Chris Luther Pottery, Crystal King Pottery, Dirtworks, Jared Zehmer Pottery, Jeff Pender, Joseph Sand Pottery, King’s Pottery, Luck’s Ware, and Pottery by Frank Neef.

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Oh look – tiles by Samantha Henneke of Bulldog Pottery

Both of these exhibits will be on view through Dec. 19, 2013.

I knew the work of many of the artists being featured in these two exhibits but I fell in love right off the bat with the paintings of Katherine Armacost. Oh, did I mention that they were abstract paintings?

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Painting by Katherine Armacost, wooden vase by Charles Farrar

If you’re a regular follower of my writings you know I love abstract works, but not just any abstracts – abstracts done well – which isn’t that easy. Armacost has joined my A-list of favorites.

In this case, I hate to single an artist out as all the works in this exhibit were excellent, but Armacost’s works were just my favorite of the day. I can’t help myself. But, if someone is looking to give me a knock-out Christmas gift – I’d take anything from this exhibit – anything.  But, like I said before – offering only the best seems to be a trend for the Cabarrus Arts Council.

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Works by Nancy G, Cook in one of the hallways – she has had work on our cover

The pottery exhibition was full of wonderful gift possibilities – all with reasonable prices for a one of a kind work of art. Believe me – no one receiving one of these works will ever remember that sweater or tie you got them in the past.

After passing through both exhibits I took a few photos to show some of what the facilities looked like in the reburbished courthouse. And it looked good. A flyer for the facility claims – “Rich wood floors and historic architectural details combine with state-of-the-art lighting to create a wonderful place to view outstanding artwork inside the historic courthouse”. And, I agree with every word of that statement.

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This is the gift shop in the old tax collector’s room.

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Here’s a view of one of the rooms making up The Galleries

Linda and I also met Pat Verner, the Communications Director for the Cabarrus Arts Council. We’ve been receiving press releases from her for years and I asked why she didn’t include more details about these exhibits and we discovered that she was sending us the short versions of her releases. From now on we’ll be getting the long versions. I might have given some folks the impression that space was limited – as it was when Carolina Arts was in print, but space is no problem now that we are online. All we ask when it comes to long version press releases, is that more photos of artworks come with them to help break up all those words.

They had an event that same evening in The Davis Theatre, also located in the courthouse, so we let them close up the galleries and get on to their next duties. It was a fast 30 minutes, but time well spent. After 25 years of doing this paper, I can see and learn a lot in 30 minutes. Future trips to Fairhaven will probably include visits to The Galleries of the Cabarrus Arts Council to see more of their great shows.

Next stop was the hotel room in Huntersville, cutting across NC 73 which runs between I-85 and I-77. But as we headed to Huntersville we saw a long slow stream of cars and trucks who were probably trying to avoid travel on I-85. So, my wish to make a loop from I-77 to Concord probably wouldn’t have even gotten us to The Galleries in time for even a 30 minute visit. Sometimes accepting what life hands you is the best plan.

Saturday morning we were headed to Fairhaven to be there in time for the opening ceremonies of The Annual Carolina Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace. The village doesn’t open without a preview of what the day will offer and permission from the King and Queen.

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Part of the opening ceremony

All photos offered here were taken by Zelda Ravenel. She had some device which would record what we did and saw there. How that all works I don’t know.

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This year’s costume

Once inside we started the traditional trek from one end of the village to the other and Fairhaven is no small village. We older folks think more reason should be taken, but we always lose out to the younger folks. Fairhaven needs more chairs and resting spots in between its numerous stages for entertainment. Before the day was through we would travel the length of the village several times.

This year was the Festival’s 20th Anniversary, and we were happy to see that some things had changed and that some long time favorites were still there.

One big change to me was that the Jousting Tournament was now a contest between three riders and their squires were all young women. The announcer was also a woman on horseback. This must have reflected the latter years of the Renaissance. Who knows if in the near future a mysterious jouster might turn out to be a woman.

Many of the artisans were the same. One from the village of Hickory in the land of North Carolina was Brock Martin of Warfire Forge, who specialized in armor and weapons.

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A fine piece for the head

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It’s hard work but someone has to do it

This being Pirate’s Christmas weekend the village was infested with pirates and other swarthy characters – some from lands beyond my knowledge. I think that’s why there was a lot of business being conducted around the armor and weapon shops. With a village motto of “Eat, Drynk & Be Merrie!”, who knows what might happen at any minute. I guess that’s why the King and Queen travel with a sizable number of palace guards on hand.

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I’d stay clear of these folks – if you know what I mean – Aaarrgh!

But there are many more artisans offering normal wares including all sorts of cloths and accessories like shoes, hats, leather bags & pouches, and jewelry. The village is full of tanners, blacksmiths, glass blowers, weavers, and whatever else it takes for people to get through their Renaissance days.

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Everyone needs a mug. These are by Jerry Leaders

Food and drink are a major part of the Festival. I was happy to see a new addition to the usual food offerings which came from the far Orient – ye olde chicken of teriyaki. There are plenty of choices, but here’s a hint – come to eat early or you’ll be standing in line waiting to be served. But everyone must try a taste of the King’s nuts – they’re a royal treat. And the drink flows all day, just don’t trip over the village drunk – by noon he’s sprawled on the ground somewhere.

Entertainment comes in all forms, from PG to Bawdy PG where the jokes go over the little serfs’ heads. They hear the adults laugh and laugh along, but most don’t know why. The village has six stages, but the show is going on all over the village. If you can’t find them – they’ll find you and if you’re not careful – you’ll become part of the act. There are also lots of period rides for the young serfs including: De Vinci’s Flying Machine, climbing castle walls, and camel rides, just to name a few.

The thing is – the Festival and the village are a feast for your eyes, ears, and taste buds. Every inch of it is active.

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Don Juan & Miguel (with horns) telling a tale about the Queen of Spain – nice hats

One of our favorites of the Festival has been seeing Don Juan & Miguel perform. They’ve been a fixture of the Festival for twenty years. Their shows are not to be missed. If you want to see something dangerous and stupid – these are your guys. They’re dealing with swords and whips – so don’t get too close to the stage.

There is so much more to this Festival than what I’ve talked about or the images reveal, you just have to go and see for yourself. And as a bonus – you might just run into one of these characters in full costume at a Harris Teeter in Huntersville or Concord, well after the Festival closes the gates of Fairhaven.

The Festival will still be taking place on Nov., 16 & 17 and Nov. 23 & 24, 2013.

The point of most of our blog entries is not to document a venue or an event, but to give you a taste and to encourage you to go see for yourself. Don’t live though my journey – make one of your own.

Planning for the 6th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters in Seagrove, NC, is Under Way – Make Your Plans to Attend Now

Monday, September 30th, 2013

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It’s that time of year again. Time for the Celebration of Seagrove Potters – your opportunity to shop from the potters of Seagrove under one roof. And that includes being able to purchase works from the 2014 North Carolina Heritage Award recipient, Sid Luck, a fifth-generation potter from Seagrove.

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Sid Luck

Make plans now to go and rub elbows with the throngs of shoppers and talk with the potters – try and come up with a question they have never heard before – like “how will your pottery change after the ending of Breaking Bad?”.

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There is plenty of parking and great food will be offered.

Here’s the official press release:

Planning for the 6th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters in Seagrove, NC, is Under Way – Make Your Plans to Attend Now

One of North Carolina’s biggest pottery events, featuring more than 100 authentic Seagrove, NC, artists and 58 Seagrove pottery shops under one roof is the Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters.

Planning for the 6th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters is well underway and the collective artists are all busily working on special pieces for the Celebration weekend, as well as on collaborative pieces to be auctioned at the Friday night Gala, Nov. 22, 2013. A second, silent auction will take place on Saturday, Nov. 23, from 1-3pm.

The Celebration is distinctive; it is a showcase of the pottery artists of Seagrove, a community that covers the three county corner region of Randolph, Moore and Montgomery Counties in NC. Over 100 Seagrove potters, from 58 shops, are participating this year.

Participating shops are: Avery, Ben Owen, Blue Hen, Blue Stone, Bulldog, Caldwell-Hohl, Chad Brown, Chris Luther, Crystal King, Daniel Johnston, David Fernandez, David Stuempfle, Dean & Martin, Dirt Works, Donna Craven, Dover, Eck McCanless, Fireshadow, Frank Neef, From the Ground Up, Gingerbread House, Great White Oak Gallery, Hatfield, Hickory Hill, JLK Jewelry, Johnston & Gentithes, Keith Martindale, King’s, Koepnick, Kovack, Lantern Hill, Latham’s, Levi Mahan, Luck’s Ware, Lufkin, Matthew Kelly, McKay, McNeill’s, Michele Hastings & Jeff Brown, Nelda French, Nichols, Old Gap, Patrick Rowe, Pebbles, Potts, Ray, Riggs, Rockhouse, Seagrove Stoneware, Snowhill, Studio Touya, The Hutch, Tom Gray, Triple C, Turn & Burn, Whynot, Windsong and Zehmer.

COSP is held indoors at the historic Luck’s Cannery, on NC Hwy. 705, the Pottery Highway, one half-mile south of the traffic light in Seagrove. The Celebration potters admire and continue the spirit of the original Luck’s Cannery – people of the Seagrove area working together to provide a future for their community. The festival offers shoppers a one-stop, indoor-shopping opportunity to purchase authentic Seagrove pottery. It is the only time of year that the majority of Seagrove potters are together under one roof!

The show offers the chance to meet the Seagrove artists, to learn about and purchase their work. There is excitement in every booth, where the exhibits embrace a striking variety of forms and functions. Seagrove is the largest working community of potters and clay artists in the country, and offers something for everyone. Children have a special dedicated area, where they can try their hand in clay and also purchase specially “Kid Priced” pieces of pottery. A donation from the proceeds of the children’s area is given to the arts programs of our local elementary schools.

The event kicks off with the opening night Gala. Guests can peruse and purchase first picks from the booths, while enjoying locally catered food and beverages, live music and enjoy the opportunity to view and bid on collaborative, one-of-a-kind, collectable pottery pieces.

“The celebration brings the pottery families of Seagrove together to spend the weekend with the families of our customers, new and old. It’s a celebration for everyone,” says Mary Holmes, Chair of COSP. The planning and implementation of the Celebration of Seagrove Potters show is a strong example of community and teamwork. Many committees work together to bring this professional and creative event to life. Local companies and organizations provide sponsorship and there are many opportunities available to partner with additional sponsors who recognize the unique prospects provided by the distinctive demographics of the Celebration attendees. Contact Mary Holmes for additional sponsor information at 910/783-5358 or e-mail to (rathwood@hotmail.com).

Volunteers serve as the backbone of the festival. We strive to provide Celebration attendees the finest experience possible, warmly welcoming them to spend a leisurely time browsing and shopping, seeing the process, developing and renewing relationships with the potters of Seagrove. This would not be possible without the immense dedication of our volunteers, including members from the Asheboro City Council, The Randolph Arts Guild, auctioneers, educators, pottery lovers and collectors. We are always looking for ways to build on this essential team. Volunteers have the opportunity to work on many aspects of the festival, including the auctions, artist relations, gala preview event, production, special projects and more. Contact Bonnie Burns at (volunteers@celebrationofseagrovepotters.com), (redhare@rtmc.net) or call 336/953-5491.

Seagrove pottery has long been known for its collectability and the Seagrove name is recognized worldwide. Located in the central piedmont, the town of Seagrove is at the intersection of NC Business Highway 220 and NC Highway 705, which in 2002 was designated as Pottery Highway because it runs through the heart of pottery country. Seagrove potters are located throughout the countryside, all around these two major roads, and are all easily accessible from them. The Celebration of Seagrove Potters merged with SAPA, (Seagrove Area Potters Association) a local non-profit marketing entity that promotes, publicizes and markets the Seagrove community of potters in August of 2008.

For up-to-date information and photos on the upcoming Celebration visit (www.CelebrationOfSeagrovePotters.com). Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook at Celebration of Seagrove Potters for ongoing details.

6th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters – Nov. 22 – 24, 2013

Friday Nov. 22, Gala 6-9pm – Catered reception, live music, collaborative auction, 1st pick of pottery.

Saturday, Nov. 23, pottery sale from 9am-6pm, silent auction from 1-3pm, and demonstrations from 11am-5pm.

Sunday Nov. 24, pottery sale from 10am-4pm and demonstrations from 11am-4pm.

Saturday & Sunday Show Admission $5, Children 12 & Under Free

Friday night Gala $40 in Advance, Gala tickets and more info available at (www.CelebrationofSeagrovePotters.com).

Checking Out Another Cultural Offering in the Pee Dee in Johnsonville, SC

Monday, August 5th, 2013

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Linda and I made an early scamper up Hwy. 52 to Lake City, SC, and then to Johnsonville, SC – just 20 minutes to the east to check out the 2nd Artisan Outpost event at the old library building in Johnsonville. We had overbooked the day and needed to get back home early to entertain grandchildren. So we were going to be spending a little more time in the car than on the ground, but in the short hour we were there – we saw what it was all about and learned something too.

When we got to Lake City I took a short cut and Linda remarked that I was getting to know that town very well – as I should, as I think of it as the new Gateway to the Pee Dee. I won’t trademark that so the tourism folks are free to use it, but I guess if you’re coming from a different direction other than Bonneau, SC, headquarters of PSMG, Inc., who produce Carolina Arts, it doesn’t make much sense. So, it’s just my gateway to the Pee Dee. Of course if I ever find something worth seeing in Kingstree, SC, that could change.

But here’s a hint to Lake City. If you ever want me to stop in Lake City, as I’m passing through, you’re going to have to open something up on the weekend.

Anyway, we arrived in Johnsonville in about an hour and 20 minutes – a little early, before the event was scheduled to open but I’ve found that no one seems to mind if the press shows up early. We were welcomed by Jackie Stasney, an artist who makes jewelry and is also the driving force behind the Artisan Outpost.

I took some photos which are presented here, but they are not the best they could be. I was under some duress as to what I could accomplish in an hour. Can I talk to folks – something that tends to get me sidetracked and forget to take photos. If I just took photos it would make the artists nervous – thinking I was another artist who had no original ideas of his own – snapping pics to steal all their ideas. In the end, I got a look at everything, talked with a few folks and then ran into Jane Madden – who we have a long history with in sharing ideas in promoting the artists of the Pee Dee. So the serious talking began, but before I knew it Linda was acting as my walk-up alarm – which had gone off twice – when she just said, “we have to go!” And, go we did, but I do have some observations to share with those who care to read them.

First, if the Artisan Outpost event is to continue, and I think it will – they have had great success with the first two events (considering this last one was competing with tax-free weekend in SC) the city of Johnsonville would do well to invest in a couple of banners to drape across a few of the town’s crossroads announcing that the Artisan Outpost takes place on the first Saturday of the month. This would let everyone who passes through the area know about the event. That’s a small investment to help develop some cultural tourism. A few more signs like the one shown here placed where people need to turn to find the old library would also help.

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Although there is a great mix of items offered, all handmade, that you would normally find at flea markets, farmer’s markets, craft fairs, and even in fine art galleries – a few more items would really round things out. I think a local potter who makes functional wares would be an excellent addition to the Artisan Outpost offerings. This month they had a sweetgrass basket maker, Jennifer Mazyck, from Mt. Pleasant, SC, which brings up the idea of inviting one special artisan from outside the Pee Dee every event to give locals a look at something they may not see locally – to keep them coming back. After awhile seeing the same items offered – event after event, may grow stale for the folks who live in Johnsonville or nearby. A monthly invited guest artisan would shake things up and keep them fresh, but they may have already thought of this.

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Now it should be noted that in this eclectic mix, there were a few things you might not see at any of the afore mentioned venues – anywhere. Jim Gleason’s musical creations – made from recycled parts of musical instruments can’t be found just anywhere. I get around a lot but I’ve never run across baskets made from recycled magazines which Joyce McDaniel makes. And, the big unexpected find of the hour for me was John Siderio, who was offering knives, arrowheads and arrows all made from chipped stones and other natural items – like animal gut.

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Siderio who moved to South Carolina from Linden, TN, used to travel the craft fair circuit for 20 years, has just joined the Artisan Outpost group, and I found his display to be the most interesting – this day. I’m not even sure what you would call him – a flint worker, stone chipper, or what, but other than the stones (which come from all over the world) all or most of his items he said came from his back yard. He makes his items the way Native Americans did hundreds and thousands of years ago. And, like those Native Americans he uses everything offered from nature and wastes no part of anything.

While we were talking with him, Siderio demonstrated how you would break a chip off a rock, use natural tools to make a saw that could cut a tree branch or a tool to skin an animal. He loves his craft, loves talking about it and loves showing folks who would take the time – how it was done. You can’t do this with just any stone, but the chips he got off of those stones were like razor blades.

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I know some re-enactor folks who would love to shop at Siderio’s display. He doesn’t have a website, so there is no online shopping so you’ll have to go to Johnsonville’s first Saturday Artisan Outpost to see his hand-crafted items. If the zombie takeover ever comes John Siderio will be a survivor for sure. If you see yourself as a survivor – you might want to check out Siderio’s knives and arrow heads.

Jackie Stasney, with the help of Johnsonville city leaders, have created a wonderful event for locals and tourists alike which I feel will only get better and better as word gets out. Jane Madden who has assisted them in promoting the event is also one of the artisans offering silk scarves.

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I’m sure I’ll be back for a longer stay, and it sure would be nice to have something to check out in Lake City at the same time, but that will come in time. Before you know it SC will have a new heritage trail around the Pee Dee for folks to explore.

The next Artisan Outpost will take place on Sept. 7, 2013, from 11am to 5pm. And, if you go – don’t forget to pay your respects to General Francis Marion over at Venter’s Landing in Johnsonville where Alex Palkovich’s statue rests. It was men like Marion and other men from the Johnsonville area who saved us from having to get all excited about a royal baby being born. Oh wait, that happens now anyway. Why – I’m not sure.

For more information, to volunteer, or to participate, persons may contact Jackie Stasney at 843/621-1751 or visit the Artisan Outpost Facebook page at (https://www.facebook.com/artisanoutpostjohnsonvillesc).

Second Artisan Outpost in Johnsonville, SC, Takes Place – Aug. 3, 2013

Monday, July 29th, 2013

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One of the newest entries onto the arts landscape in South Carolina is the Artisan Outpost established in Johnsonville, SC. The venture combines the charm of an old-fashioned market day with cultural and visual arts. Held in and around the old library at 151 East Marion Street, the Artisan Outpost is an example of cooperation between artists and their city’s officials who provide the building and assist with general operation. Headed up by local artist, Jackie Stasney, the Artisan Outpost had a very successful opening day in July and aims to repeat that once each month. Saturday, Aug. 3 from 11am to 5pm is the next event.

The Artisan Outpost complements economic development efforts to attract visitors to Johnsonville. The City made headlines recently when it installed a world-class bronze sculpture of Revolutionary War hero, General Francis Marion, by well-known sculptor, Alex Palkovich, at Venter’s Landing on the edge of Johnsonville on Highway 51. History buffs know this as the spot where Marion received his commission in the Williamsburg militia in 1780. Canoeists, on the other hand, have a beautiful location to launch an exploration of the river that is nearby.

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The Artisan Outpost has an expanded line-up for Aug. 3 with a combination of demonstrations and selling. To accommodate everyone, artists will be found inside and out. Demonstrations will include the very popular, Meck Hartfield, President and Librarian of the Philip Simmons Artist Blacksmith Guild, returning with his forge to show both the practicality and artistry possible in the hands of a master craftsman. John Siderio, from Conway and new to the Artisan Outpost, is a master flintknapper and will be outside demonstrating this ancient skill. Spurred on by a childhood interest in arrowheads, he has spent the last 20 years practicing flintknapping and other primitive technologies. For gun enthusiasts, this is the technique used to create flints for the old flintlock rifle. Jennifer Mazyck of Mt. Pleasant will also be on hand demonstrating the construction of the traditional South Carolina sweetgrass basket. Baskets will also be available for purchase. Inside, as time allows, Jane Madden will demonstrate Shibori techniques she uses to produce patterns on fiber.

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Participating artists and artisans encompass a wide spectrum of creative endeavors, as well as expected elements of a traditional market. Jim Gleason, retired Marine and accomplished musical instrument technician from Florence, takes his technical expertise to another realm by fashioning sculptures and lamps from the parts and pieces of brass and woodwind instruments no longer able to be repaired. His work has shown at exhibits and galleries around South Carolina.

Unlike a traditional art show, many of the participating artists show their works on items having practical utility. Paintings are done on pillow cases, clothing, and glass such as the work of local artists Pat Singletary and Mary Lynn Hope or on bird houses such as those done by Taylor Burkett. More traditional visual arts are represented by watercolorist, John Cribb, Leslie Belflower who uses regular canvas, as well as gourds as the basis for many of her pieces, and Fred Riales, painter, and 3-D artist who works in shells. Connie Hartley, from Johnsonsville, will be showing her work in ceramics. Jackie Stasney will be displaying her original gemstone jewelry pieces, Monica Moore from Myrtle Beach, will display jewelry in a vintage style, and Elizabeth Eaddy will show the upcycling trend with her bottlecap jewelry.
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Fiber artists include: Karen Martinez, Lake City, and Janice Green, quilters, Lavonia Olsen, crochet, Jane Madden, Florence, experiments in surface design on silk, Joyce McDaniel, the transformation of magazines into bowls, Stephanie Gore, wreaths, and Chrissy Smith who produces intricate beaded designs. Teri Kooper will also be there with her handmade cards.

Culinary arts are represented by: Dianne Moen, traditional canned goods, Debbie Hanna, baking, and Sherise Jackell, who specializes in homemade treats for canines.

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Woodworkers include: Ed Palumbo, working with reclaimed lumber, Alex Miles, wood and metal signs, Ron Stephan, plaques, and Tom Stasney, traditional Williamsburg apple tree forms.

Rounding out the line-up for the diverse market approach is Becky Ratz of Camden with her hand-molded soaps and plant specialists Sally Haynes and Barbara Matthews. Fresh produce will be available from Marvin Russ. A traditional South Carolina chicken bog will be available on-site for lunch.

The complete list of participating artists include: Jim Gleason, Mary Lynn Hope, Chrissy Smith, Jennifer Mazyck, Dianne Moen, John Siderio, Meck Hartfield, Fred Riales, Leslie Belflower, Jackie Stasney, Teri Kooper, Taylor Burkett, Pat Singletary, John Cribb, Connie Hartley, Monica  Moore, Elizabeth Eaddy, Karen Martinez, Janice Green, Lavonia Olsen, Joyce McDaniel, Stephanie Gore, Debbie Hanna, Sherise Jackell, Ed Palumbo, Alex Miles, Ron Stephan, Tom Stasney, Jane Madden, and Becky Ratz.

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If you go to Johnsonville don’t forget to visit General Francis Marion at Venter’s Landing and you could also visit the Art Trail Gallery in Florence, SC.

For more information, to volunteer, or to participate, persons may contact Jackie Stasney at 843/621-1751 or visit the Artisan Outpost Facebook page at (https://www.facebook.com/).