Archive for the ‘Pottery’ Category

NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, Educates Area Teachers About NC Pottery History

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011



For three days in late June, 2011, a group of 25 local teachers took a break from their summer vacation to participate in a special workshop hosted by the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, North Carolina, and funded by an educational grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Goodnight Educational Fund. The purpose of this special workshop was to introduce these teachers to the history of pottery making in North Carolina, from the earliest American Indian potters to contemporary potters of today, highlighting old traditions and new traditions. The teachers were selected by random, five from each of the surrounding counties of Chatham, Lee, Moore, Montgomery and Randolph. Each teacher received a packet of publications, posters, and educational materials to share with their students next fall.

Teachers get an orientation at the NCPC on the first day of the workshop from Dr. Linda Carnes-McNaughton

Day one of the workshop featured guest lectures by Dr. Charles Zug, noted folklorist and North Carolina pottery expert who provided a history of pottery making overview, Dr. Linda Carnes-McNaughton, archaeologist and ceramic scholar who taught them how to identify different ceramics and glazes, plus demonstrations by Caroleen Sanders, Catawba Indian potter who spoke about her heritage and training, and finally Chris Espenshade, an archaeologist who demonstrated hand-building techniques for the teacher’s hands-on experience.

Catawba potter, Caroleen Sanders gives teachers an overview of  her pottery tradition.

Teachers in the NCPC Education Building learning how to make coiled pottery from Chris Espenshade.

The second and third days involved field trips to various regional pottery shops to showcase different pottery styles, kilns, glazes, and vessels. The group visited Westmoore Pottery (Mary Farrell) to learn about North Carolina’s early redware industry and use of a chamber kiln. They then moved on to Jugtown Pottery to learn about groundhog kilns, salt-glazed stonewares and the “revitalization” of the craft which took place in the 1920s from generational potters, Vernon and Pam Owens. The afternoon was filled with a visit to Ben Owen Pottery to see new art forms and changes in this family’s wares over the past three generations, plus two functioning groundhog kilns. Last on the second day was a trip to the King’s Pottery to meet Terry, Anna and Crystal King, a family of local potters known for their whimsical face jugs and sculptural figurines of animals.

Mary Farrrell of Westmoore Pottery greets the teachers in front of her shop before showing them her decorative techniques.

The third day the teachers’ group traveled to Pittsboro, NC, to meet potter Mark Hewitt and learn more about the apprenticeship system of craft-transfer, along with his own version of traditional pottery, use of a catenary arch kiln and other decorative elements revised from North Carolina’s 19th century traditions. The group concluded the field trip day with a visit to Seagrove pottery family, the McCanlesses, where Millie (Dover Pottery), Eck (Eck McCanless Pottery) and Zeke demonstrated elaborate decorative techniques on porcelain-type ceramics.

Pittsboro, NC, potter, Mark Hewitt talks about his craft and appreciation of North Carolina pottery.

At the end of the workshop, the teachers received their diplomas and stood patiently for a final group photograph.  Overall comments from teachers were very rewarding and positive, “this is the best workshop I’ve attended in my 17 years of teaching”, “loved the literature and the presentations”, “learning firsthand history from NC potters”, “now I have more knowledge to spread with kids and families in the area”,  and “NCPC + Hospitality = Wonderful!”

Group of 25 Teachers from Chatham, Lee, Moore, Montgomery, and Randolph Counties who participated in the NCPC’s 3-day Teachers Workshop on Pottery making in North Carolina.

The workshop organizers, Dr. Linda Carnes-McNaughton, Mrs. Cindy Edwards, and Mrs. Ann Busick, along with the NCPC staff, hope to do another teachers workshop in the future, offering access to potters, history overview and hands-on demonstrations to teachers from throughout the state an opportunity to transmit this learning to their students….helping to preserve and promote the significance of pottery in North Carolina’s heritage.

Upcoming Fundraiser for the NC Pottery Center

The North Carolina Pottery Center, in Seagrove, partnering with Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd (LLAES), is pleased to announce, the12th annual Going, Going, Gone to Pots fundraising auction on Aug. 11, 2011. This auction, the Center’s main fund raising event of the year, will feature an outstanding selection of contemporary and vintage North Carolina pottery donated by top NC potters and collectors, as well as other exciting participatory and pottery related items. The lots are available for viewing now at ( and (

NC Pottery Center’s Upcoming Exhibitions

The North Carolina Pottery Center will present two new exhibits including:Wild Fire: Alamance County Stoneware – Past and Present and Remember Me as You Pass By… North Carolina Ceramic Grave Markers, both on view from Aug. 19 through Oct. 29, 2011. A reception will be held on Aug. 19, from 5:30-7:30pm.

Exhibitions are made possible through the generosity of our membership, the Mary and Elliott Wood Foundation and the Goodnight Educational Foundation. This project was supported by the NC Arts Council, a division of the NC Department of Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The mission of the North Carolina Pottery Center is to promote public awareness of and appreciation for the history, heritage, and ongoing tradition of pottery making in North Carolina. The Center is located at 233 East Avenue in Seagrove. Hours of operation are Tue. – Sat., 10am – 4pm.

For more information, please call 336/873-8430 or visit (

North Carolina Pottery Center Holds Annual Fundraising Auction at Leland Little Auction and Estate Sales in Hillsborough, NC – Aug. 11, 2011

Thursday, July 14th, 2011


As you all should know by now, government support for the arts is being cut back – whether it’s from local, state or national sources. That’s why fundraisers like the NC Pottery Center’s Going, Going, Gone to Pots is so important. But, it’s also a great opportunity to make a bid on some great pottery – new and old – by some great potters.

Hey Tom, I thought you have argued against the visual arts being used for fundraising purposes. I have and still will, as the visual arts are being used as what seems like the sole source of fundraising in the non-profit sector, but when it comes to visual artists helping the facilities and organizations that benefit them – bring it on. I’m all for that – it just makes sense.

And, if you’re thinking – I don’t need another piece of pottery or you can’t be bothered to go to an auction – just send the NC Pottery Center a check. The results are the same – just not as fun. Here’s a link for an easy donation.

So here’s a press release about the NC Pottery Center’s fundraiser.


The North Carolina Pottery Center, in Seagrove, NC, partnering with Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd (LLAES), is pleased to announce, the 12th annual Going, Going, Gone to Pots fundraising auction on Aug. 11, 2011. The auction, our main fund raising event of the year, will feature an outstanding selection of contemporary and vintage North Carolina pottery donated by top NC potters and collectors, as well as other exciting participatory and pottery related items. The lots are available for viewing now at ( and ( This provides an excellent opportunity to purchase the work of nationally known NC artists for your collection, whether you live in NC or thousands of miles away. The move of the auction to Hillsborough, NC, and LLEA’s offers the opportunity for absentee, advance and live  telephone bidding for persons unable to attend the live auction.

Work by Mark Hewitt

The Auction is scheduled for Thursday evening, beginning with a 6pm wine and cheese reception with the potters, a chance to meet and talk with several of North Carolina’s prominent potters. The auction begins at 7pm with raffles and more. There is no admission and everyone is welcome!

The fundraising efforts are already underway on line, with more being added soon. Visit ( to purchase raffle tickets for an 18” Donna Craven covered jar valued at $450. This piece will be on display at the NC Pottery Center until Aug. 9, 2011, and then again at the auction reception. Tickets are $10, or 3 for $25, and all proceeds will benefit the ongoing operations of the North Carolina Pottery Center.

Bean Pot with lid by Jugtown Circa 1930-1940, Donated by Bruce Daws

The NC Pottery Center’s mission is to promote public awareness and appreciation of the history, heritage, and ongoing tradition of pottery-making in North Carolina through education programs, public services, collection and preservation, and research and documentation.  As with all non-profits, fundraising continues to be challenging but your support allows us to implement exciting possibilities and ensure continued success and viability of this museum that promotes and protects one of North Carolina’s most treasured resources. We hope you will stand with us to keep this wonderful tribute to clay viable and ongoing by supporting our annual auction.

Works from Cole Pottery

Along with our partner, Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, the following sponsors have generously committed their support to the North Carolina Pottery Center’s auction: First Bank of Troy, Brad Crone, Progress Energy, American Ceramics Society, Aftifex, Jugtown, Caroleen Sanders, Linda Carnes-McNaughton, Pat Palmer & D. A. Livingston, Randolph Telephone Membership Corporation, Community One Bank, The Cranford Agency, Bruce Daws, Carmen Guy, Patricia Hart, Klaussner, Benjamin McDowell, Marilyn Palsha, Pugh Funeral Home, Westmoore Family Restaurant, Gardner Heating & Air, Randolph Electric Membership Corporation, Randolph Printing, The Grove Park Inn, Courtyard by Marriott Chapel Hill, Ducksmith House B&B, Seagrove Stoneware Inn, NC Zoological Society, Chili’s with more joining daily.

Work by Sid Luck

The North Carolina Pottery Center offers educational opportunities to statewide schools and individuals, changing historical and contemporary exhibitions, demonstrations, and information about statewide potters. The NCPC is a private nonprofit entity, funded primarily through memberships, grants, admissions, and appropriations.

The Center is open, Tuesdays – Saturdays 10am to 4pm. Admission (excluding free special events) is: $2 – adults, $1 – students 9th through 12th grades, Free – children through 8th grade, free – NCPC members. Handicap accessible. Groups and tours welcomed.

For further information and details call 336/873-8430, e-mail at ( or visit (

The Annual Spring Kiln Opening at Whynot Pottery in Seagrove, NC, Takes Place – Apr. 16 and 17, 2011

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011


The annual Spring Kiln Opening at Whynot Pottery in Seagrove, NC, will take place on April 16, 10am-5pm and April 17, from 10am-4pm. I know there will be other kiln openings in Seagrove during this time and we’ll get to that, but these folks sent us info and they are good supporters of Carolina Arts. We don’t have any gold stars to put in their notebook so this is the best we can do to ask you to support them by going and buying everything they have. I might even show up to encourage folks along – I’ll be the one dancin’ a jig for gas money.

Joining Meredith and Mark Heywood at Whynot Pottery this year will be:

Laurie Abela from Abela Soaps. “I’m a soap maker, massage therapist & cardiac nurse. I grow food, flowers & herbs, some of which I use in my soaps.” Check her out at (


Anne Raven Jorgensen from Raven Pottery. “My pots are all either thrown on the wheel and then altered or made from slabs of clay. I spend a lot of time decorating my pieces with wax-resist in intricate geometric designs. I also do a lot of decorating with slips in floral designs.” Check her works out at (


Laura Weant Johnson from Snow Hill Tileworks. Laura is well know for her fabulous tiles and jewelry. See her works at (


Meredith and Mark are always willing to share opportunities with other artists and at the same time are willing to share the good talents of good friends with their visitors. That’s how they roll.

Whynot Pottery is located at 1013 Fork Creek Mill Road in Seagrove. You can find it if I could – just don’t drive too fast around those curves. If your GPS is broken or you can’t follow the map you picked up at the NC Pottery Center (don’t forget to see the Teapots exhibit) in downtown Seagrove – call 336/873-9276 – they’ll guide you in. But long before the dates roll up on you, check out their website, blog and Facebook page at these links: (, ( or ( Get a good feel for what you’ll be taking home and who you can give that special gift to. Every mom could use a little pot on their special day – and that day is right around the corner. Get your head out of the clouds – I meant teapot.

To learn more about other kiln openings taking place in Seagrove at these same dates see our article on Page 36 of our April 2011 issue of Carolina Arts at ( or visit (

You see, I wasn’t going to leave anyone out.

Daffie Days Will be Popping Up at Bulldog Pottery in Seagrove, NC – Mar. 25 – 27, 2011

Monday, March 14th, 2011


Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke of Bulldog Pottery in Seagrove, NC, are working hard to make sure that more than the daffodils are adding to the color of Spring in Seagrove. The end result is Daffie Days – with fresh colorful pots at Bulldog Pottery – Mar. 25 – 27, 2011.


And, you can be sure that Ed and Gloria Henneke and Max the bulldog are right in the middle of the action. Of course Max will being doing home security duties during the event – so feel free to show your legs – they probably need some sun after this Winter.

Hours for Daffie Days are:
Friday, Mar. 25 – 9am – 6pm
Saturday, Mar. 26 – 9am – 6pm
Sunday, Mar. 27 – 11am – 5pm


Bruce and Samantha will offer a variety of vases and studio art pottery. Daffie Days is their kiln opening to welcome the beginning of spring. Light refreshments will be available.

If you want to follow the action, just check out the Bulldog Pottery blog at ( Or go “Like” their Facebook Page.

Can’t make it! Let me take a few seconds for this to settle in.

OK – let’s say you’re getting married that weekend or having elective cosmetic surgery. I guess that’s understandable.

Makeup days will be Apr. 16 & 17, 2011, when Bulldog Pottery participates with other Seagrove area potteries during the Seagrove Celebration of Spring Kiln Openings. We’ll have more about that later.

And, if you’re the kind of person who’s about to tell me you can’t make it that weekend, as that’s the weekend you and the gang planned to meet after that big job you pulled off and the statute of limitations have run out – OK – another pass, but you have to make it to this next event – no excuses.

Cousins in Clay 2011 will be held at Bulldog Pottery on May 28 & 29, 2011. This year’s guest potters will be Jack Troy from Pennsylvania and Peter Lenzo from South Carolina.

If you don’t make that event – the next person at your door just might be wearing a dark blue jacket with the letters F. B. I. stenciled on the back. And, if you hear them say – “Bring up Max” – run!

Bulldog Pottery is located, 5 miles south of the town of Seagrove, NC, on Business 220 (right off of future Interstate 73/74).

For more information about these events call 336/302-3469, e-mail to (, or visit (

Seagrove, NC, Potters Raise Money for Elementary School Art Departments

Sunday, February 13th, 2011


The Seagrove Area Potters Association (SAPA) raised $800 for local schools at the 3rd annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters held in Seagrove, NC, last November. Seagrove and Westmoore elementary schools each received $400 from the organization to be used specifically in the schools’ art departments.

Ben Owen presents a check to Westmoore Elementary art teacher Pat Yow

Mary Ellen Robinson, Seagrove Elementary School art teacher, used the money to purchase over 100 pieces of bisque ware in fun shapes for children to decorate. The shapes include frogs, flip flops, and geckos. Dinner plates and coffee mugs were purchased, as well.

Robinson plans to have a pottery night in March. Parents will be invited to purchase the bisque pots for their children to glaze. All proceeds will go back into the art department. Local potters, Bonnie Burns and Sally Lufkin Saylor have volunteered to help with the project.

Westmoore Elementary School art teacher, Pat Yow said the money helped tremendously. She purchased several art supplies with her donation, including clay. Yow plans to have her students work on a number of clay projects in the coming months.

Seagrove Elementary School art teacher, Mary Ellen Robinson and some of her fifth grade art students display bisque ware that was bought with a donation from the Seagrove Area Potters Association. Students, from left to right: Mason White, Tanner Perdue, Megan Jarrell and Samuel Saylor.

The donation was funded by a special children’s booth at the Celebration of Seagrove Potters. Many participating potters donated pieces for the booth. All pots were priced between $1 and $5 to be affordable for children, who were the only ones allowed to purchase the pots.

The Celebration of Seagrove Potters takes place each year during the weekend before Thanksgiving. The event has always included two booths specially designated for children and will continue to do so in the future. In addition to the fund raising booth, there is also a booth that invites children to tap into their creativity and sculpt with clay.

The potters involved in SAPA are dedicated to inspiring the next generation of artists. “SAPA is committed to all the arts, but especially to the tradition of making pottery. We feel that contributing to local schools’ art departments will not only help with the arts in general, but will also keep the pottery tradition alive,” said Bobby Marsh, SAPA president.


Upcoming during the weekend of Apr. 16-17, 2011, is the Celebration of Spring in Seagrove Studio Tour with over 50 clay artists offering special events and kiln openings throughout the Seagrove area. Spring has always been a time for renewal and awakening in Seagrove and this year an unprecedented number of shops are opening their doors together to Celebrate spring with special events. It’s a great weekend to come out and leisurely browse, shop and experience a 200-year-old tradition, see the process, develop and renew relationships with the potters of Seagrove in their individual shops. Check the SAPA website for maps and more information.

For further information visit (

Some Pottery News – Not From Seagrove, NC

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Just to show that I am not a one pottery subject blogger – here is something about pottery in the Carolinas (South Carolina) that is not about Seagrove, NC. Well, I’m not really sure – there might be some Seagrove pottery in this collection, but I don’t know. Anyway, this exhibit will show that important things in the world of Carolina pottery took and are taking place in South Carolina too. We received this press release today for Carolina Arts publication and I thought that it was a good opportunity to show I can see the big picture, as well as be focused.

The South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, SC, will present the exhibit, Tangible History: South Carolina Stoneware from the Holcombe Family Collection, on view in the fourth-floor Recent Acquisitions Gallery from June 5 through Dec. 31, 2010. Samples of one of the largest and most important collections of South Carolina stoneware in the United States will be on view.

“The name Dr. Fred Holcombe has been very recognizable to South Carolina pottery and decorative arts collectors for decades,” said Curator of Art Paul Matheny. “The family started collecting in the 1960s, but had limited showing its collection until our Difference in Dirt exhibit a few years ago, when it exhibited specific examples of pottery to fill gaps in the exhibit. That was the first time the Holcombes had shown in any exhibition, and since then we’ve been interested in presenting a larger exhibit of the family’s significant collection.”

The exhibit will focus on highlights from the Holcombe family stoneware collection, ranging from exquisite pottery from the old Edgefield district by makers such as Thomas Chandler to the Collin Rhodes factory and the highly-recognized slave potter Dave. It also will include significant pottery from the Upstate including the Owensby, Whelchel and Williams pottery manufactories, among others.

Stoneware is fire-hardened clay, so called because it becomes almost as hard as stone after being heated to about 2,000 degrees. It is highly collectible, especially Edgefield pottery, known for its unique glaze, a tradition which spread across the South in the 18th century. A few artists in South Carolina still produce this traditional art.

The exhibit will include approximately 50 examples from the Holcombes’ collection, plus several pieces from the Museum’s collection.

“The Upstate potteries were usually seasonal. Potters were farmers most of the time, but when the harvest was over, they made pottery in the off season.” These factories were family run, cottage industries. An exception was Edgefield, which had a large number of slaves making pots in the 18th and 19th centuries, said Matheny.

Other artifacts to be seen include churns, storage jars and jugs, pitchers and other utilitarian pottery that has become iconographic for traditional arts in South Carolina. One such piece is a huge, 1850s water cooler with a spout at the bottom. The fact that it’s a thick-walled clay vessel keeps water cool, said Matheny. “The craftsmanship, skill and decoration used to make this piece make this utilitarian object a work of art.”

In addition, a full pottery shop, including a potter’s wheel, will be built into the gallery. This will allow the museum to bring in potters from time to time to demonstrate the potter’s art.

“I want people to recognize this traditional art form that was common in South Carolina and which spread throughout the Southeast,” added the curator. South Carolina was the first state to develop alkaline glaze stoneware, though it originated in Asia.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 803/898-4921 or visit (

Save the Cheerleader – Save the Planet – Saving the NC Pottery Center

Monday, November 17th, 2008

This was an interesting catch phrase to promote one of the seasons of the NBC TV show – Heroes. I’ve never watched that program, but I liked the phrase. I’ve used it before in commentary as it shows how interconnected we all are – one person to the next, one person to the environment, one person to the economy, etc.

Like – save your environment – save the planet; save a hungry child – save the next world leader; and save one species – save mankind. Of course some people have been saying – save the banks – save the economy or save US automakers – save millions of jobs. It just goes to show that not all combinations make sense. With some things it’s save them once – save them again and again and once more for good measure.

I’m offering the phrase – save the NC Potter Center – save Seagrove potters too.

Not too long ago we told you how the financially strapped NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, battled to raise $100,000 to keep its doors open. The Center with the help of potters around the Carolinas and pottery lovers raised almost $125,000 in three months during a downturned economy. This was hopefully a temporary situation as it is hoped that the State of NC will eventually take the NC Potter Center under its financial wing – much like it did the troubled Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, NC, last year. But, we have all seen recently what a difference a few months can make.

A lot of that help came from local Seagrove area potters – donating pots for auctions, raffles, and for benefit sales – as well as blogging to get the word out and keeping people informed about the fundraising efforts. A lot of other people helped too.

But, now these same potters are preparing for their biggest financial event of the year – for themselves – the first annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters, taking place Nov. 21 – 23, 2008, at the historic Luck’s Beans cannery in Seagrove. The event starts off on Friday night with an opening Gala which will offer attendees a first chance at special auction items and first chance to purchase from participating potters – over 60 in all. Check out the website for complete details, there will be a lot of stuff going on. There is also a link on that site for accommodations in the area.

This will be a special weekend in Seagrove offering the beginning pottery collector a great introduction and the seasoned collector a chance to update their collections with the newest pots – straight from area kilns – still warm. Believe me, from what I have read about some of the preparations for this important weekend – some pots might be downright hot.

It will also be a great time to visit the recently saved Pottery Center. Admission is free this weekend, but you can still make a donation. And, from what I’ve heard – there may even be another pottery festival going on at the same time in Seagrove.

The important thing is that this holiday shopping season is going to be a critical time for all artists. It will determine how well the holidays and their future year will be. Support them if you can and end up with some beautiful art created by a Carolina artist.