Archive for the ‘About Seagrove Pottery’ Category

My Not So Annual Trip to the Celebration of Seagrove Potters in Seagrove, NC

Monday, November 28th, 2016

I didn’t get to go to the first Celebration of Seagrove Potters in 2008, but I’ve been writing about it way before then, since I got myself in the middle of a heated battle going on in Seagrove, NC, the center of pottery in North Carolina. There was a fight going on between a slick festival promoter, his Seagrove sidekick, and a group of long term potters from the Seagrove area – potters who’s families have been throwing pots in the area for generations. And I think time has proven that I took the right side way back when – now nine Celebrations ago.

I’m not going to rehash the problem or even name names – mostly because no one can hardly remember the other two dudes. That’s what happens when a new idea becomes an annual success. And, that’s what the Celebration of Seagrove Potters is – a resounding success. 2017 will be its 10th anniversary – our 30th in doing an arts publication and the 20th for Carolina Arts. How time flies.

When we got our tickets in the mail from the good folks at the Celebration, Linda had to do some horse trading to get a few days off from her 911 job and we booked a room in a hotel in Asheboro, NC, where everyone else there is either going to the Celebration or the NC Zoo.

It’s about a five hour trip from Bonneau Beach, SC, the headquarters of PSMG, Inc. to Seagrove – depending on how many stops we have to make. The older we get the more stops it seems to take. Maybe with all that infrastructure building our new President has promised the I-74/73 highway will get finished and it will be down to a four hour trip, but we won’t hold our breath.

When we got to the hotel we got a surprise – the woman who checked us in was the sister of Rhonda McCanless, who used to write a column about Seagrove for us before she went to work for the STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise in Star, NC. Rhonda is married to Eck McCanless, one of the overly talented McCanless clan of potters and musicians in the Seagrove area. You might say that in Seagrove potters grow on trees – family trees that is.

Next stop was the Friday night Gala at the Celebration at the historic Luck’s Cannery just outside of downtown Seagrove. That’s an inside joke for anyone who has been to Seagrove. There’s not much of a town there, but it is the capital of pottery in North Carolina – pretty much the Southeast. And on the weekend before Thanksgiving every year the Celebration of Seagrove Potters takes place featuring over 75 local potters. This town might be small but it goes big when it comes to pottery events in that – believe it or not – there’s another big pottery festival which takes place that same weekend in another location. So little old Seagrove offers two major pottery events on the same weekend. It’s pottery madness.

The Gala is a special event made for serious collectors, who pay $45 to get a first chance to buy the latest works right out of the kiln and a chance at owning special collaborative works, created by two area potters, offered at a live auction. These one-of-a-kind works are fought over by collectors who want something no one else can own. It’s a fundraiser, so when the bidding gets hot – the winner does a lot of good for the pottery community. One of these works, a pot created by Ben Owen III of Ben Owen Pottery and Takura Shibata of Studio Touya went for over $1,450+. This was a sort of East meets West creation since Takura and his wife Hitomi, also a gifted potter, moved from Japan to USA and then Seagrove. But some bidders got some real bargains.

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This was a work created by Zeke McCanless of Dover Pottery and Frank Neef of Pottery by Frank Neef – it’s high bid almost reached $1,000.

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This is the pot by Ben Owen III of Ben Owen Pottery and Takura Shibata of Studio Touya

But the Gala is much more than buying pottery – it’s good food and drink with live entertainment, good conversation with the folks who create all these wonderful pots, and an opportunity to learn about this pottery community as several organizations are also involved – the NC Pottery Center and STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise, which is not only involved in promoting pottery, pottery supplies, glass making, glass making equipment, teaching classes, and much more.

Of course you can get a lot of this during the sales event Sat. and Sun., but you’ll miss out on the collaborative works. Admission is only $5 these days and parking is free.

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For me – it’s mostly about conversations and some adding to our pottery collection. And that’s why I don’t have hundreds of images of pottery to show you. I talk too much and forget to take photos, but then again I want you to go experience this event yourself not just look at my pictures of the event.

If you have never been to Seagrove and you like pottery, going will be an experience you’ll never forget. Some folks make going there a regular habit. Many do their holiday shopping during the Celebration. Oh the lucky folks on their lists. If you have been there but it was some time ago – new potters are moving there and setting up shop all the time. And, of course there are always new generations of historic pottery families coming on line.

The 10th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters will take place Nov. 17-19, 2017. For more information about that and other events taking place in Seagrove visit (www.DiscoverSeagrove.com).

So here’s some more images of our visit this year.

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Our first stop is always the Whynot Pottery booth, the folks who first got me to Seagrove. These art tiles being shown are being offered through Acacia Art Tile at Whynot and are made by Meredith Heywood.

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Our next stop is usually to the Bulldog Pottery booth, where we’ll meet up with Samantha Henneke and Bruce Gholson and their crew Gloria and Ed Henneke, Samantha’s parents.

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This clay dog is guarding the booth for Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery. He was created by Carol Gentithes.

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Here’s a face jug by Sid Luck of Luck’s Ware, Sid is a cultural treasure in North Carolina.

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Here’s a view of the booth of Dean & Martin Pottery (love that name). They incorporate images from the 60’s in their work. I knew most of the people I saw on their pots – how is that possible – oh yeah – I’m old.

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This little bear is having fun with a butterfly at the Crystal King Pottery booth.

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Here’s a view of works at the Ben Owen Pottery booth.

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Always a favorite stop for Linda is the JLK Jewelry booth. I finally got Linda to stop looking and buy something.

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OK – you’re wondering what this jewelry has to do with a pottery event. All the stones you see in these works are made of clay.

There were lots of other booths we visited who had wonderful works, but as I said I talk to much and forgot to take photos.

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Now speaking about talking too much – it has it cost. Last year I had my eye on adding a work to our collection from Ray Pottery. I love red in artwork, but I spent too much time talking last year and by the time I got back to their booth – the pieces I had my eye on were gone. So it was a first order of business this year and their booth was across from Whynot Pottery’s booth, but no one was there. That was frustrating as I knew I’d get talking again. Mark Heywood said to pick what I wanted and he’d hold it for me until the Ray Pottery booth was open for business. Now that’s service and a reflection of this community.

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Here’s a side view of this piece. There’s lot of details to enjoy.

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I also got this mug from Whynot Pottery to match a little pot we found while visiting Whynot’s studio last year. It was a glaze that they had used in the past but had trouble getting it to come out right in the kiln process – so it was a real find. Well they have worked out that process and had lots of works with this glaze available this year. Oh, you didn’t know that most of the potters at the Celebration also opened their studio/galleries during that weekend so you can see even more of their works – well they do.

Hey folks, stick with me and I’ll let you know all the things I’m learning. In fact, I’m thinking of organizing a tour bus to the 10th Celebration from the Charleston, SC, area next year. Stay tuned for details.

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.

Celebration of Spring in Seagrove, NC, by Area Potters Takes Place on Apr. 18 and 19, 2015

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Editor’s Note: We covered this event in our April 2015 issue – we just forgot to include the ad associated with it. That’s about the worst thing you can do as a commercial publication, as it means we don’t get paid for an ad we left out. We apologize to the potters of Seagrove, but we’re trying to make up for it as much as we can.

Here’s the ad we forgot to include:

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Here’s the article we published about the event.

Please join Seagrove, NC, Potters this year for our largest Celebration of Spring in Seagrove on Apr. 18 and 19, 2015. Forty three member shops will be offering an array of new work from over 70 potters and special events in the shops this year. This is the perfect weekend to get out, shake off the winter blues and come find some treasures to take home with you.

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Work from Blue Hen Pottery

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Work from Bulldog Pottery

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Works from Caldwell Hohl Artworks

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Work by Dean & Martin Pottery

Participating this year are: Avery Pottery & Tileworks, Ben Owen Pottery Inc., Blue Hen Pottery, Bulldog Pottery, Cady Clay Works, Caldwell Hohl Artworks, Chad Brown Pottery, Chris Luther Pottery, Crystal King Pottery, Daniel and Kate Johnston Pottery, David Stuempfle Pottery, Dean & Martin Pottery, DirtWorks Pottery, Donna Craven Pottery, Eck McCanless Pottery, From the Ground Up Pottery, Great White Oak Gallery, Hickory Hill Pottery, JLK Jewelry at Jugtown, Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery, Jugtown Pottery, Keith Martindale Pottery, King’s Pottery, Latham’s Pottery, Luck’s Ware, Matthew Kelly Pottery, McNeill’s Pottery, Michele Hastings Pottery & Jeff Brown, Nichols Pottery, O’Quinn Pottery, Pottery by Frank Neef, Pottery Junction, Pottery Road Studio & Gallery/Walton’s, Potts Pottery, Ray Pottery, Rockhouse Pottery, Seagrove Stoneware, Smith Pottery, Studio Touya, Thomas Pottery, Tom Gray Pottery, Triple C Pottery, and Turn & Burn.

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Work from JLK Jewelry at Jugtown

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Work from Keith Martindale Pottery

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Work from Studio Touya

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Work from Tom Gray Pottery

The Spring Guide can be downloaded from our website (www.discoverseagrove.com) and includes a map, shop hours and listing of the participating shops. You can also go to Facebook to see who is participating at (www.Facebook.com/CelebrationofSeagrovePotters) and link to the individual artists for more information.

You will also be able to participate in a chance to win a gift certificate for $150 that can be used at one of the participating Celebration of Spring shops. Pick up a card at one of the shops (or download it from our website) and get it stamped in 6 different shops and mail it back to us by May 15, 2015. Qualifying cards will be entered into the drawing, which will take place the weekend of May 23, 2015.

For further information check our NC Commercial Gallery listings for individual potteries or visit (www.discoverseagrove.com).

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).

The Fifth Annual Celebration of Spring in Seagrove, NC, Takes Place – Apr. 20 & 21, 2013

Friday, April 19th, 2013

This weekend is the big 5th Annual Celebration of Spring in Seagrove, NC – a group kiln opening and tour – taking place Apr. 20 & 21, 2013. It’s the second best way to visit Seagrove and see as many potteries as you can – next to the fall Celebration of Seagrove Potters where they all come together in one place. Plus, I’m told that Spring time in Seagrove is like Spring time in Paris. I can’t remember who told me that, but I did hear it.

I’m going to give you the official PR, but first I want to put in a special plug for one of my favorite potteries – Whynot Pottery.

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Mark and Meredith Heywood of Whynot Pottery will once again host Acacia Tile for their Mud and Suds event on Saturday Apr. 20, from 9-5pm and Sunday Apr. 21, from 11-4pm.

Mark and Meredith have been busy restocking the shelves and will have your favorite “hand crafted, homemade”, kiln cookies on hand for a quick munch.

Let me repeat for the hard of reading – hand crafted, homemade, kiln cookies….

Everyone knows regular cookies come from cardboard tubes bought at Wal-Mart. You put the precut “cookies” on a pan and put them in your oven – oh the joy. Like great pizza – great cookies are make in a kiln. And cookies sprinkled with potter ash – are the best.

Joining in on the fun on Saturday and sharing her talents is Laurie Abela of Abela Bodycare. Laurie is a long time soap maker and will bring her knowledge of soaps and bodycare to the show on Saturday.

This event coincides with: The Annual Seagrove Potters “Celebration of Spring Kiln Opening & Studio Tour”. I think of it as the Great Celebration of Meredith Heywood’s Kiln Baked Cookies, but that’s me. You can call it what you want, but I’m working on a future slice of pineapple upsidedown cake.

For more information you can call Whynot Pottery at 336/873-9276 or check their Facebook page at (https://www.facebook.com/whynotpotterywhynotnc).

OK – here’s the PR on all my other favorite potteries in Seagrove.

Celebration of Spring Kiln Openings & Studio Tours Takes Place in Seagrove, NC – April 20 & 21, 2013

Seagrove, NC…It’s a beautiful weekend to come out to the freshly blooming spring countryside and leisurely browse, shop and experience a 200-year-old tradition, see the process, develop and renew relationships with the potters of Seagrove.

A large variety of events are scheduled throughout the weekend, held at individual shops, including, but not limited to – loads of beautiful new pots fresh from the kilns. Stop at any participating shop as you come into Seagrove to pick up a map of the tour. You can download a pdf of participating shops, hours, and a map from Discover Seagrove or Celebration of Seagrove Potters and be sure to like us and follow us on Facebook for updates and special offers at Celebration of Seagrove Potters.

Special events include:

Ben Owen Pottery will have pottery demonstrations by Ben Owen III periodically throughout the weekend.

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Works by Ben Owen III

Bulldog Pottery – Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke will have new vases and tiles, and serve light refreshments.

Caldwell-Hohl Artworks will feature new work, garden art, studio tours and light refreshments.

Crystal King & King’s Pottery wood-fired kiln unloaded at 10am Saturday at Kings Pottery. Numbered collaborative 3-faced jugs & special animal sculptures by Crystal will be available.

Donna Craven Pottery is celebrating with new spring themed pots, refreshments and door prizes.

Eck McCanless Pottery is offering visitors the opportunity to get their hands dirty with hands-on turning and Agateware carving demonstrations.

From the Ground Up – with guest potter, Melanie Hutchins, will offer new work by Michael, Levi & Chelsea Mahan. Horse hair firing in the afternoons. A.M. organic scones & coffee, leek & potato soup for lunch.

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Work by Michael Mahan

Great White Oak Gallery is celebrating spring with demonstrations and refreshments.

Hickory Hill Pottery will feature new glaze combinations as well as door prizes and refreshments. Come join in the fun!

Keith Martindale Pottery will offer demonstrations and refreshments.

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Work by Keith Martindale

Lantern Hill Pottery will have refreshments and doorprizes.

Latham’s Pottery will have pottery demonstrations and refreshments.

Michele Hastings and Jeff Brown Pottery present new collaborative work, fresh from the latest firings, and will be demonstrating throughout the weekend.

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Works by Michele Hastings and Jeff Brown

Old Gap Pottery will have brushwork decorating and throwing demonstrations along with morning coffee and biscotti.

Studio Touya will feature the latest wood fired pots and offer refreshments.

Tom Gray Pottery – In addition to new pottery pieces, Tom will also have a selection of his handmade kitchen knives.

Whynot Pottery & Acacia Art Tile is Celebrating Spring with “Mud & Suds”, with special guest Laurie Abela of Abela Bodycare. Also, offering refreshments (kiln baked cookies) and tours of their work building and kilns.

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Works from Whynot Pottery

The following pottery shops; Southern Spirits @ A. Teague Village, Avery Pottery & Tileworks, Blue Hen, BlueStone, Chris Luther, Chrisco, Daniel Johnston, Dean and Martin, DirtWorks, Fireshadow, Frank Neef, JLK Jewelry/Jugtown, Luck’s Ware, McNeill’s, O’Quinn, Ray, Seagrove Stoneware, Smith and Snowhill Pottery and Tileworks are also participating in the Celebration of Spring. Each shop will have something special for visitors to enjoy.

The Seagrove Area Potters Association (SAPA) is a group of remarkable clay artists united to showcase the traditional and contemporary pottery of the historic Seagrove community. The goal is to maintain the authenticity of Seagrove pottery by working together in community efforts to promote the historical, educational and artistic aspects encountered while visiting Seagrove, and to draw customers to the individual shops to have a firsthand Seagrove experience.

For further information visit Discover Seagrove (http://www.discoverseagrove.com/) or Celebration of Seagrove Potters (http://www.celebrationofseagrovepotters.com/).

P.S. I’d be neglect in my duties if I didn’t suggest that while you’re in Seagrove – stop by the NC Pottery Center and see their Tea Pot exhibit. It’s located in downtown Seagrove – you can’t miss it.

Some Events I Wish I Were Going to This Week in the Carolinas

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Unfortunately travel is not in my plans this week, which means I’m going to miss some of my favorite happenings including: Vista Lights in Columbia, SC; the Celebration of Seagrove Potters in Seagrove, NC; and the opening of the new Art Trail Gallery in Florence, SC.

I would have racked up some miles, but I have done such a trip in the past many times. Gas prices are down and lower in some of these areas, but even though I can’t make any of these three favorites – you can. You don’t have to be a road warrior like me in doing all three, but there are many combinations that can be very satisfying – any one would be well worth your effort.

First up is the 27th Vista Lights celebration in the Congaree Vista area of Columbia, SC, on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, from 5-9pm. Kick off your holiday shopping and fun at this annual holiday street party! The entire Vista community will take part, with Gervais Street closed to traffic from Gadsden to Assembly streets, and Park and Lincoln closed from Lady to Senate.

Everyone loves a tree lighting and the Vista tree lighting promises to kick off the season! The traditional tree-lighting ceremony, will be held at 7pm. This year’s spectacular lighting will be hosted my Mayor Steve Benjamin. You will find the tree located on the corner of Lincoln and Gervais Street outside of the River Runner shop. There are many performances planned, but for me, it’s the visual art offerings that usually brings me to Vista Lights.

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Work by Wanda Steppe

City Art at 1224 Lincoln Street, just behind the River Runner where the tree is located, will offer the exhibit, Sticks and Stones, featuring an exhibit of works by artist/painter Wanda Steppe, on view through Dec. 23, 2012. See more info about more events taking place this evening by visiting (www.cityartonline.com).

if ART Gallery at 1223 Lincoln Street is offering the exhibit, 18/100 SOUTHERN ARTISTS: The if ART Contingency, on view through Nov. 17, 2012. The exhibit features works by 18 if ART artists included in the new book “100 Southern Artists”.

One Eared Cow Glass Gallery & Studio at 1001 Huger St., (just up the street from the old location) is a little ways from the center of activities, but worth the visit. The cowboys will be demonstrating glass blowing and you can pick from works that were featured this year at the “Four Seasons” display at the SC State Fair while items last. This is your opportunity to have an item associated with the largest display of hand-blown glass in SC or the Southeast. You can see that display on their website at (www.oneearedcow.com).

The Gallery at Nonnah’s at 928 Gervais Street will be offering the exhibit,Altered Cities: Melding Cityscapes with Landscapes, featuring works by Alicia Leeke, on view through Dec. 31, 2012. For more info visit (www.nonnahs.com).

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Work by Jeff Donavan and Susan Lenz of Vista Studios

Vista Studios/Gallery 80808 at 808 Lady Street, will present the exhibit,Season’s Harvest, featuring recent works by Vista Studios’ artists, on view through Nov. 27, 2012. Many of the artists will have their studios open so you can see where and how these artists create. See more about the activities there at (www.vistastudios80808.com).

Other art galleries in the area will be open, as well as many of the shops and businesses in the area. Vista Lights is free to the public and offers a great way to kick-off the holiday Season! Visitors are encouraged to arrive early, shop up an appetite and stay late. Just because the official celebration ends at 9pm doesn’t mean you can’t stay for some late-night entertainment and a nightcap. For more info visit (http://www.vistalightssc.com/about.aspx).

The 5th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters will be held indoors at the historic Luck’s Cannery, on NC 705, Pottery Highway, one half-mile south of the traffic light in Seagrove, NC, from Nov. 16 – 18, 2012. The weekend begins with the Celebration Gala on Friday, Nov. 16, from 6-9pm, which includes a catered reception, live music, and the collaborative works auction. The Celebration continues on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 9am-6pm, with a silent auction, from 1-3pm, and again opens on Sunday, Nov. 18, from 10am-4pm.

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Collaborative piece by Jugtown Pottery and JLK Jewelry

The Celebration is distinctive; it is a showcase of the pottery artists of Seagrove, an area that covers the three county corner region of Randolph, Moore and Montgomery counties in North Carolina. Over 100 Seagrove potters, from 64 shops, are participating this year.

Now a trip to Seagrove is always an adventure in that there is hardly a road that you can drive down where you won’t run into several potteries. The gently rolling hills and farms make a picturesque journey while finding the next shop on the map you picked up at the NC Pottery Center in downtown Seagrove. But, if you’re a die hard shopper who feels more at home in the local Mall – the Celebration is made for you. Many of the area’s potters will be found under one roof.

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Collaborative piece by Peder Wilhelm McCanless and Michael Mahan

And, if you’re a hard core pottery collector, the Friday Night Gala is where you want to be for the collaborative works auction, matching different potters in the area to work on a one-of-a-kind item.

Admission to the Friday night Gala is $40 in advance. Gala tickets and more info are available at (www.CelebrationofSeagrovePotters.com), admission on Sat. & Sun. is $5 at the door and children 12 and under are free. For more info on potters of the Seagrove community and other local events visit (www.DiscoverSeagrove.com).

Get this – there is another pottery festival taking place in Seagrove at the same time. That’s double the pottery fun.

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Also on Friday evening of Nov. 16, 2012, from 5:30-8pm, will be the opening reception of the 2012 Holiday Show at the Art Trail Gallery’s new location at 185 West Evans Street, just around the corner from their old location on Dargon Street in downtown Florence, SC. The reception is free and open to the public. The 2012 Holiday Show is considered “the place” to purchase unique holiday gifts for every person and budget.

Gallery hours for this show will be Tue.-Thur., from 11am-6pm and Sat., from 11am-4pm. The Holiday Show will be on display until Dec. 22, 2012. Please visit the Art Trail Gallery’s website for more information at (www.art-trail-gallery.com).

The Art Trail Gallery has been a sort of backyard project for me in supporting the efforts of Jane Madden, who kept the gallery going for so many years and the volunteers and artists who have made this gallery their own. It’s never easy moving and change is hard, but this show will celebrate a successful transition from old to new, reflecting the exciting future of Florence and the Pee Dee’s growing visual art community. I wish I could be there. Maybe you can be there for me?

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Armor-dillo, by Mike and Patz Fowle, First Place Award at 2012 Pee Dee Regional

And, if you’re traveling to Florence for that event, why not go early and visit the 2012 Pee Dee Regional Art Competition, on view through Dec. 16, 2012, at the Florence Museum of Art, Science and History, located at 558 Spruce Street. The Pee Dee Regional is the oldest continuing art competition in the state and is presented by the Florence Museum Board of Trustees.

You could also take in the Magic City Survey Art Competition, on view through Jan. 4, 2013, in the Dr. N. Lee Morris Gallery at the Doctors Bruce and Lee Foundation Library, located at 506 South Dargan Street in Florence. This juried exhibit features works created by artists from across the Pee Dee who followed the theme, “Southern Impressions-Depictions of Life in the South.”

Be assured that there are lots of other exciting and interesting visual art events taking place throughout the Carolinas during this same time frame, but these three were on my radar, but sometimes we never get to exercise our plans. I’m just saying this is what I was going to do – the publisher and editor of an arts newspaper for over 25 year. And, if you check out our Nov. 2012 issue of Carolina Arts you’ll soon see that if you can’t do any of these three – there is something you can attend somewhere near you. Now go do something.

Here’s a Heads Up on the Best Fundraiser Event of the Summer for the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC – Aug. 23, 2012

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

If you’re a regular follower of Carolina Arts, you know we love the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC. It’s a fantastic facility, a real asset to NC’s cultural community, and we wish we had something like it in South Carolina, but we don’t.

But…the big problem is that under this economy and with a push form the right to reduce government spending in exchange for tax breaks – funding for the arts is hard to come by, but the Pottery Center and its supporters don’t mind earning it the old fashion way – with hard work and creative thinking. They could just say – please give us some money, but where’s the fun in that? So they keep coming up with ideas like the Potter’s Palette, where they got potters to paint on canvas and auctioned them off as a unique art treasure and this new idea – Fill Your Plate. But you can read all about that in their press release about this fundraiser.

Give them your support – they deserve it.

Here’s the PR:

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North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, Presents 13th Annual Auction, “Going, Going, Gone to Pots”

The North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, has worked some extraordinary culinary magic for their upcoming auction. This year there will be an unprecedented, star-studded, pre-auction supper, called, “Fill Your Plate,” with food prepared by several of the Triangle’s best chefs, and served on plates made by North Carolina potters.

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Some of the plates donated for “Fill Your Plate”

The chefs include Ashley Christensen of Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Chuck’s, and Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, NC; Andrea Reusing of Lantern in Chapel Hill, NC; Amy Tornquist, of Watts Grocery in Durham, NC; Aaron Vandermark of Panciuto in Hillsborough, NC; and Brendan Cox of the recently opened Oakleaf in Pittsboro, NC. Never before has such a caste been assembled, these chefs are truly amazing, several have won or been nominated for the prestigious James Beard Awards, and with such gastronomic wizards on board, it’s bound to be a bountiful banquet!

This will be the Pottery Center’s 13th Annual Auction, “Going, Going, Gone to Pots,” and it will be held on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, at Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales in Hillsborough, NC.

Before supper, each participant in “Fill Your Plate” will select a handmade plate which they can take home with them after supper. The pleasure of combining fine pottery and fine dining is something potters have known for a very long time, North Carolina’s ceramic history is filled with pickling jars, buttermilk pitchers, casserole dishes, pie dishes, and this event will remind patrons of the special relationship between food, pots, and potters. It’s going to be a memorable meal. Supper starts at 6pm.

But the evening’s fun only begins with the feasting. There will be a silent auction featuring pots generously donated by over 70 of NC’s finest potters, as well as many enticing non-pottery items, like wonderful holiday stays at the beach, or in the mountains.

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Work by Travis Owen to be auctioned

After supper the live auction will take place starting at 7:30pm, highlighting several very special pots, antique and new, made by the best-known potters of NC, and also some unique pottery “Experiences,” like making pots for an afternoon with Ben Owen, decorating plates with Alex Matisse, and helping Daniel Johnston and Mark Hewitt fire and unload their kilns. You’ll also be able to bid on having lunch and a private museum tour with Larry Wheeler, Director of the North Carolina Museum of Art, and a two-hour privately conducted golf-cart tour of the NC Zoo!

The North Carolina Pottery Center promotes awareness of North Carolina’s world-class pottery heritage through exhibitions, education, outreach, and visitor service. Located in Seagrove, just south of Asheboro, NC, it’s a great tourist destination, and serves as the perfect start to a visit of area potteries.

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Work by Hutomi Shibata to be auctioned

All in all, this year’s auction sounds unforgettable, so be sure to attend, and pass the word along to your friends. The cost of “Fill Your Plate” will be $75 per person, for which you’ll get the mouthwatering meal and a plate to take home, which is quite a bargain! Alternatively, if you’d like to attend only the auction, admission is $10.

The NC Pottery Center wishes to thank its sponsors for this event: First Bank, Leland Little Auction and Estate Sales, Shelton Vineyards, Katie B. Morris, Progress Energy, Carolina Arts, Gardner Heating and Air, Kimberly Woodard, Community One, Hans Klaussner Foundation and The Courier Tribune.

Auction items will be online for viewing and phone bidding will be available, see details at (www.ncpotterycenter.org), (www.llauctions.com), and (www.auctionzip.com).

Please contact NCPC directly for Tickets and Reservations by calling 336/873-8430. More information about the Auction and Supper is posted on NCPC’s website at (www.ncpotterycenter.org).

Some Things You Never Plan On – Another Trip to Seagrove, NC

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

One of the many plans we had for the big Memorial Day weekend was to make a trip to Seagrove, NC, to attend the Cousins in Clay event at Bulldog Pottery and a spring kiln opening at Whynot Pottery – both taking place on Saturday, May 26, 2012.

For a couple of weeks before that Saturday, I was sharing posts made by Bulldog Pottery and Whynot Pottery on Facebook so that others would know about these two events taking place in Seagrove. I kept injecting into the conversation a question as to whether their would be cookies at Whynot Pottery’s kiln opening – as a joke. Cookies are a big part of an event Whynot has earlier in the Spring, but they were not advertised as a part of this kiln opening.

I like to banter back and forth with the folks in Seagrove about different subjects just to make our Facebook and blog postings a little more interesting. Sometimes it’s about cookies – sometimes it’s about Michigan vs. Virginia Tech football.

Linda and I went to the Cousins in Clay event first as it is the first location we come to once we arrive in the area, but I want to talk about what happened at Whynot first.

When we arrived at Whynot Pottery, Meredith and Mark Heywood came out to greet us as we got out of our car and Meredith invited us inside for a slice of cake, I thought I heard her say pineapple upside-down cake, I said sure, but insisted that we came to see fresh pottery – right out of the kiln. Within 2 seconds of entering their showroom/gallery I found a plate of cookies and had one in my mouth.

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You see the joke there was – way back – sometime after we first met in person, pineapple upside-down cake made its way into a conversation and I told Meredith that was my mother’s specialty and one of my favorite foods – which I haven’t had in years. She told me if I gave her a heads up before I was coming to Seagrove she would make me one. Well, it was several years later now and I had never made the request. It always seemed like I was going there at the last minute and to an occasion where they would be too busy to be making cake for me. So when I heard it mentioned – I just took it as more banter about my begging for cookies.

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After that first cookie I started taking some pictures, but soon realized she wasn’t kidding around. She had a fresh pineapple upside-down cake waiting.

You ever have an experience where lightening flashes in your brain and when the clap of thunder comes you forget everything before that time? I really planned to get some pictures of Whynot pottery and the surroundings for future blog postings, but when I got home and downloaded my camera – I had three images from Whynot – and they were not what they should have been. That was a darn shame, but the important thing to me was I got some pineapple upside-down cake and a flood of memories of my mother that afternoon.

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Looking back, this was a real bummer. I totally blew my mission and let them down – as far as having more images to use, but I assured Meredith that I would pay them back ten fold in any way I could. These are the same folks who sent me fruitcake during the last Christmas holiday when I was jonesin’ for fruitcake. And, it was super-fruitcake – much better than I ever had (Southern Supreme from Bear Creek, NC – (www.southernsupreme.com). They didn’t do it because they knew they would get anything out of it – they’re just good folks.

And, when you buy art, you want to buy quality art, but don’t you also want to buy art from good people? That’s one of the reasons I keep going back to Seagrove. It’s not only about the great pottery being produced there it’s about the great people we’ve met there too. Seagrove doesn’t have a lock on that in the Carolinas, we know great people all over the Carolinas, but it is a special place.

The pineapple upside-down cake was really good too. A little different than the way my mother made it, but then what isn’t. Most of the time your mother’s food is the best or at least that’s the way you remember it. This was southern style and of course my family is from the mid-west.

I hate that most of this posting about Whynot is about cookies and cake, but I didn’t plan on either of these items getting in the way of our plans. But, as you’ll read a little further on down – food can be a distraction for me.

So while other people were coming and going at Whynot Pottery and buying pottery – we were off eating cake. I’d be ashamed, but it was so long since I had some and so good. Man can not live on art alone.

Believe me, they have some great pottery at Whynot, check their website and blog – then go there and buy some. I make no promise of cookies or cake, but you will meet some good folks.

You can check out the Whynot Pottery’s blog at (http://whynotpotteryblog.blogspot.com/) or visit (www.whynotpottery.com).

I’ll refer you back to a blog posting I made before going to Seagrove to show I’m not always distracted. Click this link (http://carolinaarts.com/wordpress/2012/05/20/making-plans-for-a-big-weekend-next-weekend-may-25-27-2012/) to see what our plans were.

So, at the Cousins in Clay event at Bulldog Pottery it was a different set up this year in case of possible bad weather, but it was a beautiful day in Seagrove. The event was taking place in the breezeway between their industrial looking home and studio. I don’t have a picture, but you have to see it to know what I’m talking about.

On hand were pottery displays by Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke, of Bulldog Pottery, joined by their mountain “clay cousin” Michael Kline of Bakersville, NC, and two special guest potters, Ron Meyers, an icon of American ceramics from Athens, GA, and Judith Duff, a full-time studio potter from Brevard, NC. We have pictures!

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Several other area and regional potters were on hand and from pictures I saw later on Facebook and blogs – many Seagrove potters came to see the pottery and talk with the potters. Potters are great fans of other potters.

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Works from Bulldog Pottery

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A close up of some of the crystalline glaze on one of Bulldog’s pieces. (I hope I have that right) Anyway it’s pretty amazing.

Linda and I spent a lot of time “looking” at pottery before we got into any conversations. Like many of our visits to Seagrove of late, or anywhere else, we spent thousands of dollars with our eyes wishing we could have known we would win the lottery that evening so we would be taking lots of pottery home with us, but even though we had lottery tickets for that Saturday’s drawing – we were stuck in “looking” mode. And, as it turned out – neither of our tickets had one number selected that evening – which is usually the case when we buy a chance at wealth.

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Works by Michael Kline

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Works by Ron Meyers

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Works by Judith Duff

To ease my pain I turned to conversation, something that springs freely from me and is always rewarding – when I let others speak. I also concentrated on taking photos. And over time, I’ve learned that there is some pleasure in looking at great works of art and there was plenty to see on this day.

At one point I was in deep conversation about the NC Pottery Center (www.ncpotterycenter.org) in Seagrove with Michael Kline and Ed Henneke, both on the Board of the Pottery Center when Linda appeared in the corner of my eye with a plate of amazing looking food.

It turned out that Chronis Pou Vasiliou’s wife, Mary Jane (Bruce Gholson’s sister) from Greensboro, NC, was providing a feast for the guests. Vasiliou was providing Greek music for the event. I guess it helps to have talented relatives close by, but then a lot of folks in Seagrove seem to also be gifted musicians and gifted with food too.

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Chronis Pou Vasiliou

So are you getting a picture of our day? A nice drive to Seagrove (3 1/2 to 4 hours), great weather (not hot), great pottery, great conversation, great folks, and to top it off, great food and pineapple upside-down cake! After all, it was our anniversary and my birthday weekend.

By the way, we got gas for $3.15 a gallon in Cheraw, SC, within 20 miles of the NC border. Sorry NC, we need all the help we can get. It’s probably even lower now.

Some folks back in the Charleston, SC, area asked me earlier in the week and some later that weekend – “so let me get this straight, the Spoleto Festival begins on Friday in Charleston and you’re planning a day trip to Seagrove, NC?”. I said, “Yes and had a great time – always do. You should go there sometime and check it out”. And, many of them think it must be something special as it keeps drawing my attention from what they keep reading on this blog.

I told Meredith Heywood back at Whynot Pottery that sometime I might have to check into renting a bus from Charleston and making a magical mystery tour to Seagrove to get some people to come there.

And I’m telling you – you should go there. Seagrove is open for visitors and business – most of the time, but make plans. Your plans may turn out differently, but sometimes you’ll get rewards you didn’t plan on getting.

The next Cousins in Clay event takes place on Aug. 25 & 26, 2012. Michael Kline hosts potters Mark Shapiro, Sam Taylor, Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke, at Michael Kline’s Pottery (http://www.klinepottery.com/) in Bakersville, NC. For further info visit (www.cousinsinclay.com).

You can keep up with Bulldog Pottery at their blog, Around and About with Bulldog Pottery at (www.bulldogpottery.blogspot.com).

And, what about Mad Max the Wonder Dog? At some point I saw a flash of something dark and red out of the corner of my eye up on the skywalk between the two buildings at Bulldog Pottery, but no close encounters this time.

To learn more about Seagrove’s pottery community visit the Seagrove Area Potters Association’s website at (http://www.discoverseagrove.com/).

Making Plans for a Big Weekend – Next Weekend – May 25-27, 2012

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

If you’re like Linda and I, and millions of others – you got stuck working this weekend, but we’re making plans for a big weekend – next weekend. And it is a big Memorial Day weekend. That’s three days for most people – unfortunately for Linda and I – it’s back to work on Monday – the holiday. In reality – we’ll be working a lot that weekend too – as it’s the weekend after deadline for our June issue – drat!

That’s the way it’s been for 24 years since we started doing an arts newspaper. On the weekend of our wedding anniversary and my birthday, we’re stuck working to get another paper finished. It’s hard to work 24 hours a day, although it seems sometimes we try – here’s a few things we hope to do this next weekend.

We hope to have a nice anniversary/birthday dinner, see the Avengersmovie, make a trip to Seagrove, NC, to visit with some of our favorite potters, and hopefully celebrate Memorial Day with a few friends. Oh yeah, and get the paper done or almost done. This one may go down to the wire.

Now everyone knows about the Avengers and Memorial Day and one clue on the anniversary/birthday event is that they add up to 94, so let me tell you about what’s going on in Seagrove to draw us there on such a big weekend.

Of course, if you read about a lot of this on Pages 38 and 39 of our May 2012 issue of Carolina Arts, downloadable at (http://www.carolinaarts.com/512/512carolinaarts.pdf), you’d know what I’m talking about, but for those who haven’t – here’s a few reasons.

First, it’s a trip away from the house, yard, and computer into another state. That’s always a plus and it only takes a few hours to get there. Second, it’s Seagrove – a beautiful area of gently rolling hills that just happens to be one of the Southeast’s major artist colonies – a big plus for Linda who refuses to travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway – a major highway. So forget about driving around two-lane mountain roads. Third, it’s Cousin in Clay weekend, several other kiln openings on Saturday and there’s a new exhibit on view at the NC Pottery Center.

Bulldog Pottery, located at 3306 Hwy. 220, just outside of “downtown” Seagrove will be presenting the works of five talented potters during the annual “Cousins in Clay” event on May 26, 10am-5pm and May 27, 10am-4pm.

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Work by Bruce Gholson

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Work by Samantha Henneke

Bulldog potters, Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke, joined by their mountain “clay cousin” Michael Kline of Bakersville, NC, are hosting two special guest potters, Ron Meyers, an icon of American ceramics from Athens, GA, and Judith Duff, a full-time studio potter from Brevard, NC.

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Work by Ron Meyers

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Work by Judith Duff

Live music will fill the air with Chronis Pou Vasiliou (Bruce’s brother-in-law) of Greensboro, NC, playing his enchanting Greek Bouzouki music along with musician Matthew Beasley from Asheville, NC. Music begins at noon and lasts throughout Saturday afternoon with a light buffet.

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Work by Michael Kline

Michael Kline will present brushwork demonstrations on Saturday at 2pm and on Sunday at 1:30pm. And Sunday at noon, potters and lovers of pots are all invited for a Potluck Buffet at noon.

Gain insights into the work and activities of Samantha Henneke and Bruce Gholson at their pottery blog: “Around and About with Bulldog” at (www.bulldogpottery.blogspot.com). And take a look at the website (www.cousinsinclay.com) to learn more about this year’s guest potters.

These kind of events are usually a less than free time for Max the mad wonder dog, but some might see him and get a chance to toss a red ball – once or a hundred times. And, as a bonus you might also get to chat with Ed or Gloria Henneke. A special note to Ed – I will not bring up the Michigan vs. Virginia Tech game, so there is no reason to make excuses to be out of town.

For further information or directions you can call Bulldog pottery at 336/302-3469.

Whynot Pottery, located at 1013 Fork Creek Mill Road, also just outside of “downtown” Seagrove – home and work place of Mark and Meredith Heywood, will be having a Kiln Opening on Saturday, May 26, from 9am-5pm.

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I’ve read that this round includes the cider/beer mugs that many folks have been asking for as well as a selection of whimsical tiles from their new venture, Acacia Tile. But, I’m sure they have a good stock of other works they are known for on hand.

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Mark and Meredith are really shaking things up this year, so if you haven’t been there in a while – you’re going to see some new items and new looks. I’ll be looking to see if there will be any cookies. They have not been advertised – so don’t expect any, but it doesn’t hurt to hope. We all need hope.

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You can check out the Whynot Pottery’s blog at (http://whynotpotteryblog.blogspot.com/), call 336/873-9276 or visit (www.whynotpottery.com).

Why are Bulldog Pottery and Whynot Pottery always a must see for us? Well, besides being blogging buddies, these two potteries have been our gateway and guide to the  Seagrove pottery empire. They represent the “not so old” and “not so new” ends of that pottery community. And, like I’m sure most of the folks in Seagrove are – they’re nice people too. Plus, I hope you’ve noticed the images of the wonderful pottery they produce.

Donna Craven Pottery, located at 2616 Old Cox Road, between Asheboro, NC, and Seagrove is also having a Kiln Opening on Saturday, May 26, from 9am to 5pm.

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We have not been to her pottery before, but we’ve seen her work at several of the Celebration of Seagrove Potters events and you’ll find her work in many museum collections. Maybe we’ll make it there this time, but there is always so much to see and do – time has a way of slipping by, but if you’re on the North side of Seagrove – it could be your first stop.

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I understand that Craven is firing a new load of pots in her wood kiln for this event. She will have a variety of old and new forms, both large and small, including items for the spring.

For further info or directions call 336/629-8173.

And, of course, who would go to Seagrove looking for pottery without stopping at the North Carolina Pottery Center, located at 233 East Avenue, in the heart of downtown Seagrove. The new exhibit there is, NC Student Ceramics Exhibit 1: High School, which will be on view through July 28, 2012. The NCPC is exhibiting the best of NC high school ceramics. The Center will be open Saturday, 10am-4pm.

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If it’s your first trip to Seagrove, I recommend it as a first stop as the Center also offers information on activities, maps and information about the potteries located in the Seagrove area and across the state. They also have a display of representative works from more than 90 area potteries and maps to help to find the potteries.

For further info call the Center at 336/873-8430 or visit (www.ncpotterycenter.org).

If you’re the planning type who has to have things all figured out before you arrive somewhere – let me suggest a visit to the Seagrove Area Potters Association’s website at (http://www.discoverseagrove.com/). You can download a map there and find connections and info about many of the area’s potteries. A lot of them will be open for business this weekend – you don’t have to follow our plans. There’s plenty to go around for everyone.

2012 Behind the Scenes Pottery Crawl in Seagrove, NC, is a Fundraiser for the Northern Moore Family Resource Center – May 12, 2012

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

On Saturday, May 12, 2012, from 10am to5pm, whether you are a pottery newbie or a seasoned collector, you’ll enjoy the Behind the Scenes Pottery Crawl and help out deserving children and families.

Spend a fun-filled Saturday meeting the artists, touring their studios, and admiring their creations. Come check out 14 memorable potteries in a self-guided car tour. Each pottery will have a unique culinary delight with a wine pairing (beef tenderloin on rounds of French bread, shrimp served with remoulade and red sauces, open-faced pork sliders, an elegant almond torte, to name a few), and demonstrations focusing on different aspects of the craft – from shaping at the wheel, to glazing, to firing techniques. Or you can roll up your sleeves and make a pot yourself with the help of an expert. Last year’s participants were inspired by the beautiful countryside, the world class artistic talent of Seagrove, NC, and the unique way the featured artists live and work.

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From Dean & Martin Pottery

The 2nd annual Behind the Scenes Pottery Crawl is organized by the Northern Moore Family Resource Center (The Resource Center) which is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization established in 1996 to serve children and families in northern Moore County, NC. The area that The Resource Center serves has been decimated by the departure of manufacturing over the last 30 years and it has resulted in too many children living in poverty. The Resource Center helps at-risk children succeed academically by offering, among other things, after school programs and summer camps. The Resource Center is a United Way agency and their six-week free summer day camp is partially funded by the United Way.  All proceeds from the Pottery Crawl will help children and strengthen local families. Potters will generously donate 15 percent of all sales during the event to the Resource Center.

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From the Ground Up Pottery

The Pottery Crawl is much more than a one dimensional art gallery experience. It’s a ‘Behind the Scenes’ look at how and where the art is created. It’s about the uniqueness of each individual potter. To visit the potters is to immerse oneself in their creative world. For them life and work are fused together by their artistry, as many live and work in the same environment. Often they live on winding country roads, and when you venture down them you may find a beautiful sculpture garden, a lush pond, a picturesque log cabin, or a sturdy converted barn.  It’s quiet in the country except for the sound of the clay fired wind chimes, or the crow of a rooster.

And of course, there is the art itself. On this pottery tour you’ll find a rich diversity of styles, colors, shapes and sizes that range from the decorative to the utilitarian. You’ll encounter pieces that are worthy of museum lighting, as well as everyday treasures like place settings, serving bowls and mugs that will jazz up a room or any meal. Every potter is an artist with his/her own unique style.

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View of Jugtown Pottery

Seagrove’s pottery tradition dates back to the 18th century, before the American Revolution, due to the high quality of the local clay. Today it’s known for the high concentration of potters, the unsurpassed artistic talent, and the eclectic mix of people – some with roots eight generations deep and others drawn here from around the world.

The following are the potters on the tour: Avery Pottery and Tileworks, Ben Owen Pottery, Blue Hen Pottery, Bulldog Pottery, Chris Luther Pottery, Dean and Martin Pottery, Frank Neef Pottery, From the Ground Up, Great White Oak Pottery, Jugtown Pottery, Luck’s Ware, Old Gap Pottery, Seagrove Stoneware, Studio Touya, and Westmoore Pottery.

Don’t miss this unique event or the opportunity to help local kids and their families. And it all happens on Mother’s Day weekend. So spare Mom that tired gift and spend an unforgettable day with her instead! After seeing the bounty, you may never again give a generic store-bought gift.

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From Avery Pottery & Tileworks

Individual tickets are $45 and Patron tickets are $100, and they include a commemorative pottery piece. Mother’s Day packages are available for $150. The package includes two tickets and several gifts for mom – the commemorative pottery piece filled with chocolates and a bottle of wine. Participants will receive a ticket and program for the event, with a map highlighting all of the participating potteries.  Tickets and programs may be picked up at the Resource Center, 130 S. Middleton Street in Robbins, NC, where guests will also have the opportunity to learn more about the programs that the Resource Center offers, or at The North Carolina Pottery Center, 233 East Avenue in Seagrove.

The Resource Center will also raffle off four-4 piece place settings of tableware from Dean and Martin Pottery and from Avery Pottery and Tileworks. They will also raffle off a salad set, plus salad bowls from Seagrove Stoneware.   Raffle tickets may be purchased separately from tickets to the event, and winners do not have to be present at the drawing. The drawings will take place at 5:30pm at the Resource Center on the day of the event. Raffle tickets for the dinnerware are $10 apiece, and you can designate whether you want to be included in the raffle for the set from Dean and Martin Pottery or Avery Pottery and Tileworks.  Tickets for the salad set are $5 apiece, and for the set of six salad bowls tickets are $1 apiece. Pictures of all items to be raffled will be posted on our website in early April.

This event is made possible in large part by contributions from St. Josephs of the Pines and Wachovia Wells Fargo.  St. Josephs of the Pines has an active presence in northern Moore County, with its Providence Place development in Robbins – lovely one bedroom apartments for seniors, plus it brings its fully equipped Semi to Robbins for two days each month where local residents can be seen by the Moore Free Care Clinic, meet with the Sandhills/Moore Coalition for Human Care and the Benefit Bank, and soon will be able to see dentists free of charge. Wachovia Wells Fargo provided funding to support the financial education classes that the Resource Center offers as part of its IDA program.

To purchase raffle tickets or tickets to the event, visit the Resource Center website at (www.nmfrc.com), or send checks payable to the Northern Moore Family Resource Center to P.O. Box 190, Robbins, NC 27325 or call the Resource Center at 910/948-4324.