Archive for the ‘NC Pottery’ Category

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.

NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, is Looking for Some Angels in a Haystack – Could You Be One?

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

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Don’t you just hate it when you think you have your budget all figured out to make it through the next week, month or year – then out of the blue – the car needs a major repair or the air conditioners gives out on the hottest day of the year? What’s the saying – “Stuff Happens!”

The NC Pottery Center needs our help and I think they are worth it. Here’s their problem:

The NC Pottery Center has recently experienced unforeseen maintenance issues and they are asking you as a supporter of the NCPC, or just someone who is looking for a good cause, for your help in paying for lighting repairs at the Center. They hope to raise $2,000 to cover these expenses.

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They are asking that you please consider a monetary donation, becoming a new member, increasing your membership level, renewing your membership early, or buying a brick for your business or in memory/honor of someone.

The staff and board of the Pottery Center are working hard to keep the NCPC a viable museum and hope you will consider helping us.

If you can help, please visit their website at (www.ncpotterycenter.org) where you can make a quick online donation, or call then at 336/873-8430 and tell them you want to help. Thanks.

From the Ashes of Many Kilns, Seagrove, NC, the Center of Pottery in North Carolina, Rises Every Spring

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Now that’s something to think about. When you finish scratching your head – I’ll explain.

When you have to write about annual events, unlike the organizers who can just slap a number in front of the event’s name – we in the media – the elite media – have to come up with a clever hook. In this case I wish I had one in the kiln – cooking until it was ripe for reading. Unfortunately we’ll have to go with this one.

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Work by Bruce Gholson

Potters in Seagrove are like the makers of Doritos – you can buy all you want – they’ll just keep making more. And, who can ever have enough pottery – especially the kind they make in Seagrove. When you have near a hundred competitors in a small community like Seagrove, unlike Doritos – you can’t keep cranking out the same old, same old – they’re always producing something different – different shapes, different clays, different glazes, and different patterns. That’s why people keep going back – you want to see what they’re cookin’ up now.

Some people say I go to Seagrove too much. I say – tell me where I can go and see so much variety in such concentration? And, when they’re having a special organized event – all the better. Hey, I’m not saying Seagrove is the end of the world as far as pottery goes. I’ve seen some pottery in my day in other places in the Carolinas. Some of my best pieces didn’t come from Seagrove and some came from places far from Seagrove. There’s lots of great pottery being made all over the Carolinas with a heavy concentration in North Carolina, but the difference is…

The folks in Seagrove talk the talk and walk the walk. They go the extra mile to invite people to come there. They want to be number one and they work hard at it. I don’t wear blinders when I’m looking around the Carolinas. I see what’s going on and there’s no place promoting itself like Seagrove. I’m waiting for some other region to stand up and say – “Hey – what about us?” and then back it up. I’ve been waiting.

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Work by Chad Brown

And like the old gun-slingers of the West – if you want to be number one – you have to be better every time to stay on top.

That’s why I’m big on Seagrove and have no problem telling people to go there and saying you won’t be disappointed you did – as far as the pottery goes. Seagrove as a town doesn’t have much to offer (nor does the town I live near), but I’m not telling you to go there for anything but the pottery and some pretty good scenery. And, with very few exceptions – they’re some pretty great people there too, but that’s a story for another day – the exceptions I mean.

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Work by Ben Owen III

If you’ve been there – you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve never been there – my gosh – what are you waiting for?

If all the stars and planets line up – I might even get to go there for this event. That’s right – another trip to Seagrove. How about you?

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Work from Whynot Pottery

Here’s the official press release:

Editor’s Note: If you think my number of potters don’t match up with those mentioned in the press release, there are potters who don’t participate in all events and those few exceptions I mentioned. Also, one suggestion. Your best first stop on Saturday could be the NC Pottery Center. They have the scoop on the area and some nice exhibits too.

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Celebration of Seagrove Potter’s Spring Kiln Openings Cool Off in Seagrove, NC – Apr. 21 & 22, 2012

The 4th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potter’s Spring Kiln Openings will take place in and around Seagrove, NC, on Apr. 21 and 22, 2012. The event features the work of 65 potters representing 36 different potteries.

The Seagrove potters’ studios are nestled throughout the countryside – separated by short leisurely drives in and nearby the town of Seagrove.  At the various Seagrove potteries there will be special kiln openings and exhibits, new pottery works featured, demonstrations, and refreshments planned for the pottery lover.

Pick up a full-color Discover Seagrove map and guide at any of the Seagrove potters’ shops participating in the Spring Celebration. Each shop is celebrating Spring in its own way. Hours may differ from shop to shop.

Participating potteries include: Southern Spirits Pottery @ A. Teague Village, Avery Pottery & Tileworks, Ben Owen Pottery, Blue Hen Pottery, BlueStone Pottery, Bulldog Pottery, Caldwell-Hohl Artworks, Chris Luther Pottery, Crystal King Pottery, Dean and Martin Pottery, Dirt Works Pottery, Donna Craven Pottery, Eck McCanless Pottery, Fireshadow Pottery, From the Ground Up Pottery, Great White Oak Gallery, Hickory Hill, JLK Jewelry at Jugtown, Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery, Jugtown Pottery, Kings Pottery, Lathams Pottery, Luck’s Ware, Lufkin Pottery, McNeill’s Pottery, Michele Hastings & Jeff Brown Pottery, Nichols Pottery, O’Quinn Pottery, Pottery by Frank Neef, Ray Pottery, Seagrove Stoneware, Smith Pottery, Studio Touya, Thomas Pottery, Tom Gray Pottery, and Whynot Pottery.

For further info visit the Seagrove Area Potters Association at (http://www.discoverseagrove.com/) or visit (http://www.celebrationofseagrovepotters.com).

Spring Flowers Came Early this Year But You Still Have Time for “Daffie Days” at Bulldog Pottery in Seagrove, NC – Mar. 30 – Apr. 1, 2012

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

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Don’t be caught “lion” around at the end of March or being an April “fool” by missing Daffie Days at Bulldog Pottery this weekend.

“Daffie Days,” Bulldog’s spring kiln opening, will be held March 30 through April 1, 2012, from 10am-5pm each day. Potters Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke created the annual event to welcome the beginning of spring and celebrate the flowers that come with it. Despite the early Spring, there should be plenty of flowers in bloom, and the Seagrove countryside should look great this weekend.

Bulldog Pottery is located just 5 miles south of Seagrove’s street light on Hwy 220. Look for the blue water-tower.

An array of Gholson and Henneke’s studio art pottery, including a variety of elegant vases will be available during the event. The potters will be on hand to discuss their most recent work and offer tasty treats to those who visit.

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A piece by Samantha Henneke

Ed and Gloria Henneke might be hanging around too. There’s no reason for Ed to hide anymore – I can’t make it this weekend and a new football season starts this fall and I doubt that Virginia Tech will have to play Michigan again this year. And, I’m not one to brag too much. Like they say – a win is a win.

Mad Max the wonder dog might be on hand. If you see a red ball roll up to your feet – run! Max is not so mad – he’s more disappointed that he’s not allowed to play with strangers.

I’m kidding of course. If you go to Bulldog Pottery this weekend you won’t even notice a dog or anything else – you’ll be so focused on the amazing pottery that after you get back in the car you’ll have to ask yourself, “This isn’t a dream is it? I did buy these from someone?” Hopefully with your purchases in the back seat or trunk of your car you’ll come back to reality before you hit the road to check out some other Seagrove pottery.

It’s happened to me – don’t think it can’t happen to you.

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A peice by Bruce Gholson

Bulldog Pottery specializes in flowing glazes, including their molybdenum crystalline glazes that feature diamond-shaped iridescent crystals. That’s pottery talk. Let me break it down for you – “pretty sparkles”.

To find out more about Gholson and Henneke, visit their blog, “Around and About with Bulldog Pottery” at (www.bulldogpottery.blogspot.com).

But just take my word for it – you should make plans to visit Bulldog Pottery this weekend – I’m not making any of this stuff up. It’s all true. And even thou Ed Henneke still thinks it’s all a dream – Michigan did beat Virginia Tech – just ask the referees.

I’m kidding – really.

NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, Announces Results of The Potter’s Palette Fundraiser

Friday, February 17th, 2012

As I have said before – this is the kind of art auction fundraiser that I can get behind and support and it turns out to have been a very successful idea – one soon to be copied by other non-profits. But, this will be the NC Pottery Center’s for the time being.

Here’s the good news.

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Unique canvases created by NC’s premier potters for the first-of-its-kind event at the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, were auctioned on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012.

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“The Potter’s Palette” featured over 90, 12”x12” canvases produced by clay artists from around the state, who were invited to create a canvas using any medium they desired, to be sold in a fund raiser to benefit the NC Pottery Center. The outstanding results raised over $18,000 during the event, which included live Celtic music by Seagrove potter Michael Mahan and an outstanding buffet of food produced by Jennie Lorette Keatts with some help from sister Pam Owens.

The palettes are still on display at the NC Pottery Center’s website (www.ncpotterycenter.org). This unusual and new event, brought another level of creativity to the North Carolina Pottery Center, and was a wonderful showcase for a different side of talent that the clay artists in NC have to offer.

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Painting by Mary Paul and John Garland

There was an air of excitement and festivity during the event where bidding went high for the exceptional paintings. The highest bid was $1700 and every palette sold, with over half bringing $100 and much more. Absentee bidding was also available at the Center and on the NCPC website and bidders came nationally from GA to VA, to CO and CA to participate in the event. Virgil Thomas of Able Auctions generously and graciously lent his expertise, while potter’s pictures were described by NCPC Vice-President and notable potter, Mark Hewitt of Pittsboro, NC, and displayed by Seagrove potter Fred Johnston and volunteer Kirk McNaughton.

Highlights of the evening included over $14,000 of palette sales, over $4,000 of donations and ticket sales and over 70 registered bidders. The NC Pottery Center relies on its fundraising activities and membership, to maintain its ongoing exhibitions and educational  activities, as the main revenue stream.

Supporting potters included: Rita Abee, Colleen Black-Semelka, Cynthia Bringle, John Britt, Tammy Leigh Brooks, Jeff Brown, Chad Brown, Bonnie Burns, Kyle Carpenter, Donna Craven and Susan Greene, Daphne Cruze, Naomi Daglish, Jeffrey Dean, Kim Ellington, Seo Eo, Mary Farrell, Abe Fenberg, Michelle Flowers, Becca Floyd, Carol Gentithes, Terry Gess, Bruce Gholson, Vicki Gill, Beth Gore, Tom Gray, Sue Grier, Michele Hastings, Samantha Henneke, Mark Hewitt, Meredith Heywood, Mary Holmes, Helene Icard, Tonda Jeffcoat, Mary Paul and John Garland, Daniel Johnston, Fred Johnston, Matt Jones, Ann Raven Jorgenson, Jennie Lorette Keatts, Crystal King, Michael Kline, Keith Lambert, Bruce Latham, Janice Latham, Andrew Linton, Dan Lovejoy, Nancy Lovejoy, Levi Mahan, Michael Mahan, Alex Matisse, Eck McCanless, Fiva McCanless, Milly McCanless, Susan McGehee, Karen Mickler, Alexa Modderno, Lynn Morrow, Ben Owen III, LoriAnn Owen, Pam Owens, Travis Owens, Vernon Owens, Hal and Eleanor Pugh, Joseph Sand, Caroleen Sanders, Hitomi Shibata, Takuro Shibata, Paula Smith, Barbara Strassberg, Roy Strassberg, Tom Soumalainen, Bobbie Thomas, Scott Thomas, John Viegland, Kate Waltman, Doc Welty, Dina Wilde-Ramsing, Charlotte Wooten and Jared Zehmer.

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Painting by Bruce Gholson

The evening was supported and sponsored by: The Goodknight Foundation; Lucy C Daniels; Daniel & Genene Uyesato; Martha Luck Johnson; Dr. Terry Zug; Brad Crone; Mark & Carol Hewitt; Ed & Gloria Henneke; Harriet Herring; Ellen Jordan; Dr. Linda Carnes-McNaughton; Janice & GE Gavin; Lane Wharton; Charles W Millard III; Jo M Grimley; Shelton Gorelick; Something Different Restaurant; Peggy Myers; Archie Purcell; Nancy Farmer. Many volunteers stepped forward in their efforts to support the NC Pottery Center helping with check in and registration to the food service and auction. The NC Pottery Center is grateful for the generous support of our sponsors and volunteers, without them our efforts would be lacking!

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 NC Pottery Center is open, Tue.-Sat., 10am to 4pm. Admission (excluding free special events): $2 – adults, $1 – students 9th through 12th grades, Free – children through 8th grade, free – NCPC members. The center is handicap accessible and groups and tours are welcomed.

For further information and details call 336/873-8430, e-mail to (info@ncpotterycenter.org) or visit (www.NCPotteryCenter.org).

A Trip to Seagrove, NC, to a Fundraiser for the NC Pottery Center – The Potter’s Palette – Feb. 4, 2012

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

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As is usually the case – many planets have to come into alignment for Linda and I to be able to go somewhere together. I hate it when I have to go somewhere without her and she hates it even more than I do, but it just so happened that the Feb. 2012 issue of Carolina Arts was launched – e-mail notices were sent out and she was off from her other job on Saturday, Feb. 4. So we made plans to head to Seagrove, NC, to visit a few potters and then attend The Potter’s Palette, a unique fundraising art auction where potters from throughout NC were asked to make a painting to be auctioned off in support of the NC Pottery Center.

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OK, two points have to be addressed before we can continue. One, I have grown to dislike art auctions, like many artists who are asked on a regular basis to contribute artworks to them. There are way too many of them and some are just a facade for some folks to throw a party for themselves and take home some cheap art. Also the “art auction” seems to be only a burden of the visual art community – what about the performing and literary arts? But, I do support art auctions that make sense for the artists to support. NC potters supporting the NC Pottery Center is a given.

Point two – what another fundraiser? Yes, fundraisers are the name of the game these days. Government funding of the arts is almost non-existent and has been shrinking over the last decade. Believe me, these folks would love not to do it, but it’s a fact of survival.

What I loved about The Potter’s Palette fundraiser was that it wasn’t potters giving more pots to be auctioned off – reducing the market value of their pots in the name of a good cause. This was asking them to work out of the box creating art that doesn’t compete with their pottery – appealing to pottery collectors – offering them a chance to bid on something rare and unusual – a real one-of-a-kind item. This concept is similar to the collaborative pots auctioned off during the Celebration of Seagrove Potter’s festival. How often can you bid on a pot made by two different potters – who are not married to each other?

The trip to Seagrove from Bonneau, SC, the headquarters of Carolina Artsis about a 3 1/2 to 4 hour drive – some on rural roads, but mostly on Interstate highways (I-95 and the future I-73 & I 74), with Florence, SC, acting as a rest stop. We left early to drop in on a few potteries that I have not been to since I stopped delivering the paper – over a year now. I was in Seagrove in November of 2011 for the Celebration of Seagrove Potters, but had no time to visit individual potteries. Besides, most were at pottery festivals that weekend.

We got to the rest area just outside of Seagrove about 12:30pm. We had lunch and headed to Bulldog Pottery to pay a visit to Samantha Henneke and Bruce Gholson, as well as Max the wonder bulldog and Ed and Gloria Henneke. But we had to settle for two out of five. Max was walled off from us. The excuse was that Max had pottery studio dust feet, which Max being Max would end up all over us (a big bummer) and they claimed Ed and Gloria were down in Florida, but I think Ed was still mad at me over the fact that Michigan had beaten Virginia Tech in a bowl game. Some people take a football loss like that hard. Just kidding Ed – it’s a good thing Michigan had paid off the refs ahead of time – right.

We got a tour of their new studio space. Well it was not so new to them, but new to us. Again, I’m amazed at all the stuff and equipment that goes into making pottery. If the public only knew what I have seen – behind the scenes of making art – they wouldn’t complain about the price of art much. At least you would think that. Most think it just involves a potter’s wheel and some clay.

We also got to talk some more about social media. Which is when my head started hurting and I noticed that there were two pots still spinning on wheels and the light bulb when off – they’re in the middle of working.

We next headed to Whynot Pottery to visit with Meredith and Mark Heywood to see what they were up to since we last saw them. Yes, I follow the blog and Facebook entries of these folks, but you can’t get the whole picture from those postings. Besides I still like the old school social media where you talk with people – face to face.

My mistake at Whynot Pottery was when we went inside their home, I sat or melted into their couch. If we didn’t have the event at the Pottery Center to go to and Linda wasn’t on call Sunday for her 911 job – I might have ended up watching the Super Bowl from that couch. Talk about visitors who never leave – it could have been me.

You ever notice that when couples get together that eventually the guys will be talking on one subject and the gals on another and sometimes the two paths of conversation will cross – and make sense? We had a few of those, but mostly we talked about a project they are working on with a designer from Charlotte, NC, who is working with a bigger designer in California.

At this point no one knows where this project will lead, but it really sounds interesting in that these designers are going to be pitching American Made up against Made in China and hopefully American consumers are ready to buy into the concept of the value of American craft over China’s price. We hope to have more about this project later.

Once I looked at the time, I think it took me about 20 minutes to transition slowly to a point where I could move off of that couch. My body didn’t want to go.

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We got to the NC Pottery Center in downtown Seagrove just a little after the event started and the parking lot was packed. And, so was the Center. Very soon we were standing in a line which eventually led to the food, which was being provided by Jennie Lorette Keatts, of JLK Jewelry at Jugtown, who we later learned was a caterer in a previous life. And what a spread it was – steamed shrimp, smoked salmon pate, tuna pate, sundried tomato tapenade, Rosemary white bean spread, Asian marinated meatballs, miniature quiches, stuffed baby red potatoes, cheeses, fruit, veggies, desserts, and more. You won’t see any photos of the food, as there was never a time that there wasn’t a crowd of people around those tables, except during the live auction, and I found it impossible to fill my plate and take pictures. But I know my priorities.

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Michael Mahan (r) and Phil Winn (l)

Wonderful Irish music was being provided by Michael Mahan, of From the Ground Up Pottery, and Phil Winn from Greensboro, NC. It doesn’t seem fair that these artists have so many talents. They should have left some for the rest of us.

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NC Potter Center Board Member Michael Kline serving up drinks

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A last minute inspection of works to be auctioned

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More inspections

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Potter Fred Johnston of Johnston and Gentithes Art Pottery giving folks a closer look at a work

Soon the live auction was starting, but it took the crowd a little time to settle down. There was a lot of excitement in the air and so many people to talk to. Bidding started a little slowly, but before you knew it – it was moving along fast and the bidding was getting heated on some of the items. One painting by Vernon Owens of Jugtown Pottery went for $1700. The high bidder was somewhere on the other end of a cell phone manned by Travis Owens. The crowd erupted when the auctioneer called out – “Sold for $1700!” I later learned that Alex Matisse’s painting came in second and brought a final bid of $1650.

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Travis Owens making a bid for the mystery person on the phone

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Mark Hewitt describing a painting

One of the highlights of the auction was the commentary by Mark Hewitt of Pittsboro, NC, potter and board member of the NC Pottery Center, about each of the paintings being offered. His comments got interesting, especially when it came to a work by himself or of a good friend. At times it sounded as if he was auditioning for a job at Sotheby’s or to be an Art History professor.

There wasn’t any painting that didn’t attract a bid – thank you bidding audience, and at least 50 percent of the paintings went for over $100 and some climbed to $400, $500, $600, and higher as several bidders fought to become the owner. A few bargains were had for what I would call a steal, but the bidding was well spread throughout the crowd. Some of the potters who had contributed a painting were also bidding on other potter’s paintings. The spirit of a true fundraiser was in this crowd.

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People checking their bid sheets to see which painting is up next

Before the evening was over, what I would call halfway over by looking at the bid list, Linda and I had to head back to Bonneau. Linda was on call on Sunday, and although she didn’t get called in and was able to participate in the first ever Carolina Arts All Day Super Bowl Celebration, we didn’t want to take the chance of getting home around 1 or 2am and she getting that dreaded call to come in to work at 7am.

The Pottery Center has not issued a final total raised during the event, but it might come in over $15,000. An official press release will come later, but I’d say it was a very successful venture, one that I’m sure we’ll see again and will no doubt be better than this first one. That’s the way they roll in Seagrove.

You can see other photos from the event (better than mine) at the Pottery Center’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/North-Carolina-Pottery-Center-Seagrove-NC/102520396006). While you’re there you might want to “Like” it to keep up with future events. Their annual potter auction will be coming up soon.

You can read more details about this event at an earlier post I made on Jan. 31, 2012, at this link (http://carolinaarts.com/wordpress/2012/01/31/north-carolina-pottery-center-in-seagrove-nc-offers-the-potters-palette-something-different-feb-4-2012/).

To learn more about the NC Pottery Center, check our their website at (www.NCPotteryCenter.org).

North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, Offers The Potter’s Palette – Something Different – Feb. 4, 2012

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

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Here’s an opportunity to purchase something unique and help the NC Pottery Center at the same time. Imagine owning a painting – yes, I said painting by Mark Hewitt, Cynthia Bringle, or Vernon Owens – great potters, but not known as painters – other than painting glazes on their pots. Now that would be a conversation piece for any pottery collector at any level. If you’re the highest bidder – you might be able to brag of such a possession.

But don’t get me wrong in thinking that owning one of these paintings will just be a novelty – some of these people are very talented with a brush and canvas. As you may know – artists are talented people – many are multi-talented as you’ll see when you check out the 80 canvases being offered on the Pottery Center’s website.

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Work by Mark Hewitt

Can’t be there on Feb. 4th – no worries. You can make your absentee bid online at the Pottery Center’s website, but it won’t be the same as being there during the event in the heat of the action. There’s nothing worse than learning that your silent bid was topped out by $2 – especially when you would have paid much more. So, if you can’t make it and will be making an absentee bid online – remember to bid as high as you would go to have one of these special works and that the money is going to help the NC Pottery Center keep its doors open. That’s what art auctions are all about – helping out and getting something in return – not just getting a bargain.

And if you bid against me – remember that I’m the publisher of a newspaper – like Rupert Murdoch – once I make a bid – others might as well stand down or dig very, very, deep into their pockets. We’re used to getting what we want. All I have to do is make sure I don’t come with a pair of my pants that has holes in the pockets. I wonder if Rupert has that problem?

Here’s the press release:

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The North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, the center of pottery in North Carolina, invited NC clay artists to work outside their regular palette by creating a 12″ x 12” canvas, using any medium they desired. The response has been a wide array of creativity, which is only to be expected by the talented potters of NC. On Feb. 4, 2012, the public will have the opportunity to bid on these outstanding palettes and the opportunity to own a canvas. Truly a one-of-a-kind piece to complement any pottery collection! Many of the artists will be featured guests, and there will be several clay creations to complement the canvases available to purchase as well, making it really a one of a kind purchase. The canvases are posted on the NC Pottery Center’s website at (http://ncpotterycenter.org/canvases.html) with absentee bidding offered until Feb. 1, 2012, at 4pm.

The fun and festive event begins at 4pm on Feb. 4, 2012, with Irish tunes played by Michael Mahan, Seagrove potter, painter and musician and Phil Winn of Greensboro, NC, and includes a scrumptious buffet featuring an array of delicious hors d’oeuvres from gourmet bites to seafood and cheeses to desserts and festive beverages. An event not to be missed!

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Work by Bruce Gholson

Response from the potters and the public has been hugely enthusiastic. Potters from all areas of NC have painted and the canvases are all are currently on display at the North Carolina Pottery Center. Certain themes have spontaneously emerged including birds, especially roosters, fish, cows, houses, pottery imagery as well as some abstracts and mixed media with some surprises and real gems and many have associated stories, some of which are outlined below.

Tickets are $15 per person, or $25 for a pair, and are available through the website or by calling 336/873-8430 and also a limited quantity at the door. We encourage purchase in advance.

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Work by Levi Mahan

Piedmont Area Potter Painters include: Tom Suomalaine, Crystal King, Donna Craven & Susan Greene, Janice & Bruce Latham, Paula Smith, Eck & Fiva & Milly McCanless, Joseph Sand, Hal & Eleanor Pugh, Michael & Levi Mahan, Mary Holmes, Susan McGehee, Ben & LoriAnn Owen, Samantha Henneke, Bruce Gholson, Beth Gore, Chad Brown, Daniel Johnston, Kate Waltman, John Viegland, Stephanie Martin, Charlotte Wooten, Abe Fenberg, Jeff Brown, Michele Hastings, Fred Johnston, Carol Gentithes, Vernon Owens, Pam Owens, Jennie Lorette Keatts, Phillip Pollet, Alexa Modderno, Bonnie Burns, Bobbie Thomas, Scott Thomas, Tom Gray, Mary Farrell, Meredith Heywood, Ann Raven Jorgensen, Vicki Gill, and Jared Zehmer.

Charlotte Area Potter Painters Include: Andrew Linton, Caroleen Sanders, and Roy & Barbara Strassberg.

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Works by Dina Wilde-Ramsing

Costal Area Potter Painters Include: Helene Icard, Dina Wilde-Ramsing, Keith Lambert, Tonda Jeffcoat, and Seo Eo.

Mountains Area Potter Painters Include: Kim Ellington, Tammy Leigh Brooks, Michelle Flowers, John Britt, Michael Kline, Terry Gess, Matt Jones, Doc Welty, Alex Matisse, Becca Floyd, Cynthia Bringle, Karen Mickler, and Kyle Carpenter.

Triangle Area Potter Painters Include: Lynn Morrow, Mark Hewitt, Daphne Cruze-Zug, Ronan Peterson, Mary Paul & John Garland, and Nancy & Dan Lovejoy.

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.

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Work by Meredith Heywood

The Center is open, Tuesdays – Saturdays, 10am to 4pm. Admission (excluding free special events): $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 (info@ncpotterycenter.org) or visit (www.NCPotteryCenter.org).

The Potter’s Palette………..A Different Spin on Creativity and Fundraiser for the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC – Feb. 4, 2012

Monday, January 16th, 2012

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Seagrove, NC……And someone said that making a tile is as close to a painting as a potter can get – how wrong they were!  The NC Pottery Center presents “The Potter’s Palette”, featuring over 80 12” x 12” canvases done by prominent NC clay artists. Clay artists from around the state were invited to produce a canvas using any medium they desired to present a different expression of themselves and their talent, to be sold in a fundraiser to benefit the North Carolina Pottery Center. The results are impressive and are currently on display at the Center in Seagrove.

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Painting by Daphnie Cruz Zug

This rare and unique fundraiser is the first of its kind at the NC Pottery Center. On Feb. 4, 2012, the public will have the opportunity to bid on these palettes and the opportunity to own a canvas created in a medium not used everyday by these outstanding artists. Truly a one-of-a-kind piece to complement any pottery collection! Many of the artists will be featured guests, and there will be several clay creations to complement the canvases available to purchase as well, making it really a one of a kind purchase.

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Painting by Levi Mahan

The canvases are posted on the NC Pottery Center’s website (www.ncpotterycenter.org) and absentee bidding will soon be offered until Feb. 1, 2012, at 4pm, for those who can not attend this special event. The fun and festive event begins at 4pm on Feb. 4, 2012, with live musical entertainment and a delectable buffet featuring an array of delicious hors d’oeuvres from gourmet bites to seafood and cheeses to desserts and much more. Join us for this wonderful spread and a selection of beverages while you preview the collection and register to bid. The exciting auction starts at 5pm.

Participating clay artists include: Rita Abee, Colleen Black Semelka, John Britt, Tammy Leigh Brooks, Jeff Brown, Michele Hastings, Bonnie Burns, Kim Ellington, Mary Farrell, Alexa Modderno, Michelle Flowers, Becca Floyd, Mary Paul and John Garland, Terry Gess, Vicki Gill, Tom Gray, Mark Hewitt, Meredith Heywood, Helene Icard, Tonda Jeffcoat, Fred Johnston, Carol  Genthithes, Matt Jones, Jennie Lorette Keatts, Crystal King, Bruce and Janice Latham, Andrew Linton, Nancy Lovejoy, Dan Lovejoy, Mary Holmes, Michael Mahan, Eck McCanless, Milly McCanless, Fiva McCanless, Beth Gore, Karen Mickler, Lyn Morrow, Vernon Owens, Pam Owens, Ronan Kyle Peterson, Phillip Pollet, Hal and Eleanor Pugh, Joseph Sand, Caroleen Sanders, Barbara Strassberg, Tom Suomalainen, Bobbie Thomas, Doc Welty, Charlotte Wooten, Daphne Cruz Zug, Kyle Carpenter, Seo Eo, Roy Strassberg, Abe Fenberg, Susan McGehee, Levi Mahan, Ben Owen III, LoriAnn Owen, Samantha Henneke, Bruce Gholson, Daniel  Johnston, Kate Waltman, John Viegland, Alex Matisse, Donna Craven, Susan Greene, Anne Raven Jorgensen, Stephanie Martin, Michael Kline, Cynthia Bringle, and Keith Lambert.

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Painting by Alexa Modderno

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Painting by Pam Owens

Tickets are $15 per person, or $25 for a pair, and must be purchased in advance.

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): $2 – adults, $1 – students 9th through 12th grades, Free – children through 8th grade, free – NCPC members.  Handicap accessible. Groups and tours welcomed.

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Painting by Dan Lovejoy

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Painting by Fiva McCanless

For further information and details call 336/873-8430, e-mail to (info@ncpotterycenter.org) or visit (www.NCPotteryCenter.org).

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Editor’s Note: The NC Potter Center is a great place to visit if only to learn about pottery, the history of pottery in North Carolina, what kind of pottery is being made in North Carolina today as well as the Seagrove area, but beyond that, it presents important and education exhibitions of pottery – historical and contemporary. It is also a great educational facility for the region’s school students. And because offering all that takes money – lots of money – they need the public’s help to supplement the funding they receive from local, regional, state and national sources. Whether you take part in one of the fundraisers offered, you can always make a donation – on a visit, by mail or on their website. Anything you can do will make a difference.

On the First Day of Winter My Christmas Fruitcake Arrived in the Mail – Oh the Joy!

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

So, it’s 6:30am and I wake up. Linda has already gone to her 911 dispatch job and there’s no covers on me and it’s a little cool. It only got down in the 50′s overnight so it was a little warm for covers. It’s the first day of Winter, Dec. 21, 2011, and the Amazon weather gal on The Weather Channel – Stephanie Abrams says it’s going to be around 77 degrees in our area today and 80 tomorrow. That’s Winter?

This weather reminds me of my first year in Charleston or more exact, North Charleston, SC. It was 75 degrees on Christmas and on New Years day I went to Folly Beach and got a sunburn. I called my parents back in Michigan and it was 20 below with blowing snow. That was my first Winter in the South in 1974. The next year at the same time we had some of the coldest, damp weather I’ve experienced. That’s Winter in the South. It’s all relative. When you have months of 95 degrees + in the Summer, 30 degrees can seem very cold. And, it’s always the humidity that makes the difference.

So when I first went on Facebook to check things out, I posted a picture of an 8 inch snowfall we had a couple years back and asked Mama Nature – what’s up? Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving it, if not just for the fact that the heater isn’t running all day and I don’t need air conditioning.

About noon, it’s time to make the mail run and if there are some checks in the mail – a run into town to the bank. I also wanted to make a run to the trash site to take some garbage and some papers and plastic to recycle. When I opened our drawer at the local post office there’s one of those slips to let you know you have a package inside. My first thought is – what did Linda or our son Andrew order online now, and then I think it’s almost Christmas – who sent us something in the mail.

When I exchange the slip for a box with the Postmaster I see that it’s from Whynot Pottery in Seagrove, NC. My mind is racing between the notion that it’s a piece of potter or fruitcake that Meredith Heywood made. Either one would be great, but I’ve been jonesin’ for fruitcake lately.

I can’t explain why all of a sudden in the last two years that when Christmas time has come around I’ve had fruitcake on my mind. It had been almost 20 years since I’ve had real good fruitcake. For awhile everyone was making fun of fruitcake – so much so that people stopped giving them as gifts or if they still did – kept it on the down low. Too bad, a good fruitcake is heaven in your mouth and in your teeth for days.

The kind of fruitcakes I grew up on were heavy on the candied fruit and highlighted with a little booze. Linda’s mother made an 80 proof fruitcake that fermented for six months. There was a two slice limit on those cakes and no driving after three. We had a friend back in our photography days who’s wife made a killer fruitcake, but when the shipyard in North Charleston closed they moved away.

So with that box in hand I jumped in the car and drove home. Once I pulled into the yard I realized that I forgot to go to the trash site. So I put the box in the house and went back to finish my duties. When I finally got home I went straight to the box and opened it and there was a little pottery Christmas ornament and a shiny gold box. The box said it was from Southern Supreme – Old Fashioned Nutty Fruitcake. This was the company Meredith and a few other potters from Seagrove had told me about the first time I mentioned my desire for fruitcake a few weeks ago on Facebook.

The box said it was 8 oz. but it felt like 2 or 3 pounds. This was going to be good fruitcake – far from the mistake I made in thinking I might get something acceptable at Wal-Mart. What was I thinking? It was the fruitcake fever that made me do it.

In a note in the box Meredith said that this was probably more nuts than fruit and the box says that this was “More Nuts than Fruit….Fruitcake”. Opening the box it looked real good too as you can see from the picture. Also in the note Meredith said her husband Mark called this a single serving, which was kind of funny.

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Around here, when it comes to slicing pie or cake or dishing out ice cream, Linda always ask if someone wants a “Starland” size portion or a normal portion. I guess my family has a habit of making big portions when it comes to desert. Our family was big so you took a big portion knowing there might not be any left over for seconds.

It took a lot of will power and a public posting on Facebook announcing that I had received a fruitcake in the mail to keep me from opening that packaging and putting a little bit of heaven in my mouth before Linda got home. A lot of will power.

Linda finally got home around 8pm and we had dinner and then I brought out the box. We took a picture first and then had at it.

Linda was reading the back label which said that it was a 100 calories per serving, not bad if you overlooked the fact that this 8oz. cake has 11 servings. That’s 1,100 calories total. Fairly soon Linda remarks that she can’t believe I’m still eating it – almost half-way through. I reply – I can’t seem to stop, but I do. And, before long I felt like I had a brick or two in my stomach. It was sooooo good, but oh my! I think I’ll try and save the other half for Christmas day. At least that’s the plan.

Southern Supreme Fruitcakes are homemade by the Scott family in Bear Creek, NC, which is on NC Hwy. 902 which runs between Seagrove and Pittsboro, NC. They have a website at (www.southernsupreme.com) where you can make an order. Their photo number is 336/581-3141.

This fruitcake is not Yankee fruitcake, but it’s damn Yankee good. And, you’all know what a damn Yankee is – one that comes South and stays. I know something about that.

I can’t say enough about how appreciative I am to Mark and Meredith Heywood for thinking of me and Linda and my recent craving for fruitcake during the holidays. They’re a couple of the great friends we have made in Seagrove – the center of pottery in North Carolina. They didn’t do this to generate this kind of response, but no good deed and fruitcake in the mail goes unrewarded.

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Mark and Meredith Heywood operate Whynot Pottery, located at 1013 Fork Creek Mill Road in Seagrove. You can check out their pottery on their website at (www.whynotpottery.com); follow Meredith on her blog at (http://whynotpotteryblog.blogspot.com/); and you can check out the items they have for sale on Etsy at (http://www.etsy.com/shop/whynotpottery?ref=badge). But the best thing is to make a trip to Seagrove and visit their pottery, but call first to make sure they are there this time of year. Of course they are also on Facebook at Whynot Pottery.

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Mark and Meredith are going to celebrate their 30th anniversary of operating Whynot Pottery in October of 2012. Marking our own 25th anniversary this year, we know what that means – a lot of blood, sweat and tears down the road and good times too.

Today is also Meredith’s birthday. Happy birthday my friend. We’re a better world with folks like you.

P.S. I want you to know that I’m still holding you to the promise of pineapple upsidedown cake. I know – give you a few days warning before I visit. You can count on that.