Archive for the ‘NC Pottery Center’ Category

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.

December 17, 2011, is Another Active Pottery Day in Seagrove, NC

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

On Dec. 17, 2011, the Seagrove, NC area – the center of NC pottery – will be very active with special holiday kiln openings and open house events. We have some info on a few of these events, but remember – it’s just before Christmas – any of the Seagrove area potteries would be happy to see you at their door with the intention of draining your bank account trying to finish your holiday shopping list. Remember these key words – buy American – buy handmade – buy local – buy art – buy for yourself. Be your own job creator.

We’ll provide all the street addresses involved so you can let Google pull up a map you can print out or stop at the NC Pottery Center and pick up one of the handy maps of the Seagroce area potteries. And, just to be polite, check out the exhibits on view at the Pottery Center.

We’ll start on the fringe with Donna Craven Pottery which will be hosting a Holiday Open House from 8:30am-5pm. The pottery is located at 2616 Old Cox Road in Asheboro, NC – more like between Asheboro and Seagrove.

Join them as they celebrate the holiday season with new pots from the upcoming firing, refreshments and more!

For further details call 336/629-8173 or e-mail to (donnacraven@embarqmail.com).

Bulldog Pottery will be hosting their Holiday Kiln Opening from 9am-5pm. The pottery is located at 3306 Alt. 220, going south from Seagrove. Look for the big blue water tower.

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Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke will have new moka glaze pottery ready. Come see the latest and hottest Bulldog pots of 2011, fresh from the kiln.

Ask them why they are not named – Max the Wonder Bulldog Pottery.

For further details call 336/302-3469, e-mail to (bulldog@bulldogpottery.com) or visit (www.bulldogpottery.com).

Chris Luther Pottery will be having a Kiln Opening from 10am-5pm. The pottery is located at 4823 Busbee Road, just outside of Seagrove.

The pottery will introduce new glazes and shapes for 2012.

For further details call 336/301-3254, e-mail to (info@chrislutherpottery.com) or visit (www.chrislutherpottery.com).

Ben Owen Pottery will be presenting its Holiday Chinese Red Kiln Opening with a preview and refreshments from 9-9:50am and the opening from 10am-5pm. The pottery is located at 2199 S. Hwy. 705, (the Pottery Highway) South of Seagrove.

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There will be an abundance of Chinese Red and other glazes will be available as well. They hope to see you there!

For further details call 336/879-2262, e-mail to (info@benowenpottery.com) or visit (www.benowenpottery.com).

Seagrove Stoneware Inn & Pottery will be hosting its Annual Kiln Opening & Gallery Sale (no hours were given, but lets say 10am-5pm). The pottery is located at 136 West Main Street in “downtown” Seagrove.

Join them for their annual kiln opening and gallery sale featuring new work, one of a kind pieces, and special discounts in the gallery. The sale is both Saturday and Sunday.

For further details call 336/873-8283, e-mail to (artists@seagrovestoneware.com) or visit (seagrovestoneware.com).

Dean and Martin Pottery will be having its Holiday Kiln Opening from 9am to 5pm. The pottery is located at 7739 Nathan Lane, outside of Seagrove.

Come out to their shop for a visit and see their new work.

For further details call 336-879-0683, e-mail to (jeff@deanandmartinpottery.com) or visit (www.deanandmartinpottery.com).

We’ve also heard that Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery will also be having a holiday event on Dec. 17th, but we have no details. They are located at 249 East Main Street in “downtown” Seagrove. Let’s say it would be safe to give them hours of 10am-5pm.

For details call 336/873-9176 or visit (www.johnstonandgentithes.com).

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Work from JLK Jewelry

Of course while you’re in the Seagrove area you could also check out other potteries who happen to be supporters of Carolina Arts including: Eck McCanless Pottery, at 6077 Old US Hwy. 220, Seagrove; From The Ground Up Pottery, at 172 Crestwood Road, Robbins; JLK Jewelry at Jugtown, at 330 Jugtown Road, Seagrove; Whynot Pottery, at 1013 Fork Creek Mill Road, Seagrove; and Wyndham & Brooke Haven Pottery Gallery, at 209 East Main Street in “downtown” Seagrove.

Hey, you could even stop by Phil Morgan Pottery, at 966 Hwy. 705, (the Pottery Highway) just outside of “downtown” Seagrove. Ask him if he’s ready to give Christmas back? Just joking – I hear he’s a pretty good potter.

To find out information about other potteries in the Seagrove area, visit (www.DiscoverSeagrove.com) or (www.SeagrovePotteryMuseum.org). And, once you get your hands on a map, you’ll see you can map out a more convenient route from pottery to pottery than the order mentioned here.

Good shopping!

A Trip to the 4th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters in Seagrove, NC

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

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Well, after a trip to Vista Lights in Columbia, SC, I was lucky to get a day in-between before I hit the road again on my way to Seagrove, NC, a 3 1/2 hour trip North of the Carolina Arts headquarters in Bonneau, SC. When I left home it was 37 degrees and as I headed North is got a little cooler for the first hour, then it eventually started to warm up as the sun began to do its magic. I got to Seagrove just after 10am and the parking lots were pretty jammed at Luck’s Cannery, but people were leaving carrying bags full of pottery. Within a few minutes a space opened up.

Once inside the historic Luck’s Cannery I paid my $5 admission, filled out my raffle card, and got myself ready to jump into the salmon stream. My plan was to make one full run to see all the booths before I’d stop and talk with anyone. You know once I start talking everything else falls to the wayside. As most best laid plans go, I found it hard to do this in one steady stream. So, like most salmon I took some tracks ahead, some backwards, some around a corner or two to tried another route. I think three quarters of the way around I gave up and grabbed the first potter I knew – also trying to swim upstream and pulled him to the side. This was Bruce Gholson of Bulldog Pottery.

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I started the conversation with a little inside joke asking him where Phil Morgan’s booth was. That question dates back to the pottery festival wars that took place a few years ago. I think all potters in Seagrove would agree that Seagrove is BIG enough for two pottery festivals to exist – another joke as Seagrove is a very small town. Gholson gave me a look that said – you media folks really like to stir things up. It’s all water and salmon over the falls now. After a little catching up with Gholson I started my run again.

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This is a shot of the side of Ray Pottery’s booth

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Fred Johnston in the Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery Booth

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Ben Owen III in his booth

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A work at Fat Beagle Pottery booth

Once I thought I had seen everything once, the first booth I stopped into was Whynot Pottery where Meredith Heywood was fighting her own battle taking people’s money and wrapping up their purchases. This would be the theme of the day. I soon realized that this was not going to be a day of catching up with folks from Seagrove except for a few lines here and there. Even standing in a booth for a few seconds got you some looks that said – either you buy something or get out of my way, mister – a message I take in stride as my rule is the customer always comes first – conversation last.

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A shot inside Seagrove Stoneware’s booth

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A shot inside Bulldog Pottery’s booth

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Jennie Lorette Keatts behind the JLK Jewelry at Jugtown’s booth

Taking photos with my camera was a bit of a problem. Using flash to get decent images of shiny pottery is difficult without a better camera and flash unit. The lighting inside the building was way up and booths were full of extra lights that created problems for light meters in cameras, and then there was the constant flow of people. Although I will say that many times when I raised my camera to my eye – people held up to let me take a shot. At least those who saw what I was doing did. Most had that glazed look you see on people’s faces during Black Fridays. They only see what they want – they don’t see anything in between their goal of getting it.

So I spent a lot of my time looking around, gathering materials placed on tables, reading those materials and occasionally getting a word in when I could. And, there was so much to look at – works by over 60 potteries by over 100 potters. Having this opportunity for just $5 is a gas saving bargain. There is no way you could travel to all these potteries without burning up much more in gas, not to mention how many times you might get lost. But, in the Seagrove area that can be part of the journey – the countryside is beautiful.

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NC Pottery Booth

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A display of some of the paintings by potters for an upcoming fundraiser
at the NC Pottery Center. Potters can paint too – imagine that.

At one point I retreated to the first room where you enter the building which contained tables set up by related organizations like the NC Pottery Center and festival sponsors like Our State magazine. That’s also where the silent auction was taking place of donated works of pottery and then there was also the goodies table – where they had all these yummy looking treats. Pottery demos were going on and there was a special section for children’s activities and even a special area where only children could buy items at special prices. This room was less competitive.

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Here’s some big pots by Donna Craven

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Do you think this person likes Ben Owen III’s Chinese Red Pots?

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Some more big pots by Daniel Johnston

By the time I went outside for lunch the weather was in the 50′s and very nice. The Celebration had provided a full range of food vendors on site, but like most of the time when I travel I carry my food with me. I learned from my many years of delivering papers to control what goes in my body and I only eat foods that offer no surprises on the road. TMI – I know.

By lunch time the crowd began to thin a little, so I headed back in for round two where I got a few more pictures and had a few more conversations. I think it was on this run that the hunter became the hunted. At Bulldog Pottery’s booth I was “tagged” as they say on Facebook by Samantha Henneke. By the time I got home later that day there was a photo of me at the Celebration up on Facebook. She had the home-field advantage on me.

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Ed Henneke, Bruce Gholson, and Samantha Henneke at Bulldog Pottery’s
booth. I like this photo for the lady thinking how many gifts she could get in
this one booth.

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Meredith Heywood drowning in sales at the Whynot Pottery booth before her
sister came to the rescue.

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A very busy Michael Mahan at the From the Ground Up Booth

During this second run I finally got to talk with Rhonda McCanless, publisher of In the Grove, a publication about the Seagrove area. She and her husband Eck McCanless have opened their own pottery, Eck McCanless Pottery, since I was last in Seagrove and on this day she was a retailer not a publisher, although copies of In the Grove were going like hotcakes at the admission desks.

I also got a few words in with Jennie Lorette Keatts of JLK Jewelry at Jugtown. But there were some folks I was hoping to talk with but never caught them when they were not in the middle of a sale or deep in discussion with someone who sounded like they were talking about something more important than what I had to say – which was a good thing, I think. This was an important weekend for these potters as visits to Seagrove will fall off during the upcoming Winter. So, I hope they forgive me for not speaking with them – I wanted to and tried, but never got the opportunity.

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After I felt I had accomplished all I could, with the limited time I had, I headed over to the NC Pottery Center to see the exhibit, Collecting North Carolina Pottery for 75 Years, on view through Jan. 28, 2012. The North Carolina Pottery Center and The Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, have partnered to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Mint Museum as an art institution with this special exhibition. In this exhibition, the Mint acknowledges the vital role of collectors, past and present, in making its North Carolina pottery collection one of the largest and most important in the country. The Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte, NC, is also presenting a companion exhibit, A Thriving Tradition: 75 Years of Collecting North Carolina Pottery, featuring more than 100 examples of the Mint’s pottery collection, which has now grown to more than 2,100 examples that includes objects that range from the last quarter of the eighteenth century to the first decades of the twenty-first. This exhibit will be on view through Jan. 5, 2013.

All the works at the NC Pottery Center were under plastic cases, so I took no photos of any of those works. But if you’re into pottery, this is a good show to see a little of the history of NC pottery by examples – great examples.

A pretty neat thing on view at the Pottery Center was a Transparent Kiln put together by a group of Estonian ceramic instructors and students, as well as clay students from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. It shows you how a kiln would be packed as it is fired. A sight that usually only the potter sees.

It’s a good thing that the Mint Museum and the NC Pottery Center have these collections, as many of us may never get the chance to see some examples of these historical works since they all might be held in private collections – behind closed doors. And, it’s also a good thing that some of these collectors have donated their collections or parts of their collections to these institutions.

If you missed the 4th Celebration of Seagrove Potters – shame on you, but you’re in luck. You see, Seagrove is a very active pottery community – something is going on all the time. Here’s a list of some of the events going on in December.

Dec. 3, 2011, 10am-5pm – Chris Luther Pottery Kiln Opening

Dec. 3, 2011, 9am-5pm – Blaine M. Avery- Avery Pottery and Tileworks – Holiday Kiln opening

Dec. 3, 2011, 8:30am-5pm – Jugtown Pottery & JLK Jewelry at the Jugtown Holiday Kiln Opening

Dec. 3, 2011, 9am-5pm – Holiday Open House at Westmoore Pottery

Dec. 3, 2011, 10am-5pm – Thomas Pottery – 2011 Holiday Kiln Opening

Dec. 3, 2011, 10am-5pm & Dec. 4, 2011, noon-4pm – Eck McCanless Pottery Holiday Weekend

Dec. 10 & 11, 2011 – Seagrove Stoneware – Annual Kiln Opening & Gallery Sale

Dec. 17, 2011, 9am-5pm – Bulldog Pottery Holiday Kiln Opening

Dec. 17, 2011, 10am-5pm – Ben Owen Pottery – Holiday Chinese Red Kiln Opening – 2011

Dec. 17, 2011, 10am-5pm – Chris Luther Pottery Kiln Opening

For other info about what’s going on with the potters in Seagrove visit (http://www.discoverseagrove.com).

NC Pottery Center will be Selling Raffle Tickets at the 4th Celebration of Seagrove Potters in Seagrove, NC – Nov. 18-20, 2011

Friday, November 11th, 2011

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The North Carolina Pottery Center invites you to stop by their booth at the 4th Celebration of Seagrove Potters, November 18-20, 2011, held at historic Luck’s Cannery, located at 798 NC Hwy 705 (the Pottery Highway) in Seagrove, NC. Check out the upcoming exhibit schedule and special events such as The Potter’s Palette to be held February 4, 2012. See examples of these outstanding canvasses painted by many of North Carolina’s best potters.  We will also have pottery books, plate stands, membership opportunities, raffles, and more!

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This outstanding piece by Michael Kline of Bakersville, NC, will be raffled to a lucky member of the NCPC. Every member visiting the NCPC booth will get one ticket and have the opportunity to buy additional tickets: 1 for $5.00 or 3 for $10.00. Members who cannot attend the Celebration can call membership at the NCPC by Wed, November, 16, 2011, to have a raffle ticket entered. Don’t miss out on a chance to win this piece.

Join today at (http://www.ncpotterycenter.com/membership.htm) or at the Celebration! You can join for as little as $35.

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The raffle tickets for this beautiful pitcher made by Mark Hewitt, Pittsboro, NC, are available for purchase by everyone attending the Celebration. Stop by the NCPC booth to see this wonderful piece and purchase tickets: 1 for $5.00 or 3 for $10.00.

While in Seagrove be sure to visit the NCPC and see the Mint Museum’s exhibit, Collecting North Carolina Pottery for 75 Years, on view through Jan. 28, 2012, and the Potter’s Palettes, including paintings by NC’s potters. Both are exciting temporary additions to the permanent displays that you won’t want to miss! Your NCPC is open Tuesday thru Saturday, 10am-4pm.

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Admission to the Saturday & Sunday Celebration of Seagrove Potters is $5, with children 12 and under are free. Tickets to the Friday night Gala is $40 in advance. Gala tickets and more info available at (www.CelebrationofSeagrovePotters.com).

For further info about the NC Pottery Center call 336/873-8430 or visit (http://www.ncpotterycenter.com).

North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, Announces 12th Annual Benefit Auction Results!

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

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The North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, in partnership with Leland Little Auction and Estate Sales, Ltd. is pleased to announce that the12th Annual Benefit Auction cleared just over $28,000. The auction, held Aug. 11, 2011, at Leland Little Auction and Estate Sales, Ltd. in Hillsborough, NC, featured over one hundred and ten pieces of fine contemporary and historical North Carolina pottery and several generous raffle prizes and door prizes. Bidding was brisk and the action was lively after the wine & cheese reception with prominent NC potters.

The evening was made possible through the generosity of North Carolina potters and collectors, our partner, Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, and the support of the following sponsors: First Bank of Troy, Brad Crone, Progress Energy, American Ceramics Society, Aftifex, Jugtown Pottery, Caroleen Sanders, Linda Carnes-McNaughton, Pat Palmer & D. A. Livingston, Randolph Telephone Membership Corporation, Community One Bank, The Cranford Agency, Bruce Daws, Carmen Guy, Patricia Hart, Klaussner, Benjamin McDowell, Marilyn Palsha, Pugh Funeral Home, Westmoore Family Restaurant, Gardner Heating & Air, Randolph Electric Membership Corporation, Randolph Printing, The Grove Park Inn, Courtyard by Marriott Chapel Hill, The Umstead Hotel, Ducksmith House B&B, Seagrove Stoneware Inn, NC Zoological Society, and Chili’s.

Our volunteers were many and they made this a wonderful event. The Auction Committee comprised of the NCPC Board members, the NCPC staff and Bonnie Burns put in many hours planning and fund raising.

Board members and staff are staying busy with on-going fundraising efforts, presently planning an exciting event titled “The Potter’s Palette” to be held at the Umstead Hotel on Oct. 28, 2011.

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

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

For more information, please call 336/873-8430 or visit (www.ncpotterycenter.org).

North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, Offers Crystalline Potters of Seagrove – Sept. 24, 2011

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

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The “Crystalline Potters of Seagrove” event will be at the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, on Sept. 24, 2011, from 10am-4pm. In case of rain, the event will be moved to Oct. 1, 2011. This is the first event of its kind at the NCPC and will be held in the oak grove behind the building.

Seven different crystalline pottery shops from the Seagrove area are coming together to show the amazing range and versatility of this special effects glaze.

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The show will feature both zinc silicate and molybdenum crystalline. Participating shops include Bulldog Pottery, Dover Pottery, Eck McCanless Pottery, Pottery by Frank Neef, McCanless Pottery, Uwharrie Crystalline, and Wyndham and Brooke Haven Pottery.

Each pottery shop will set up a booth to sell wares. Everyone will have crystalline available, as well as other items featured in their shops. Several door prizes will be given away, as well.

Admission to the event is free. Admission to the NCPC is $2 for adults, $1 for students 9th through 12th grade, and children 8th grade and under are admitted free.

The NCPC is located at 233 East Avenue in Seagrove, NC.

Crystalline is a tricky glaze technique to master, but can produce a wonderful array of eye-catching results in nearly every color of the rainbow. Crystals are formed on the pots by adding certain chemicals, like zinc or molybdenum to the glaze. The pots are then fired to a high temperature. Once the peak temperature is reached, the kiln is then lowered to a soak temperature and held there for a number of hours. Crystals form during this soak time. Potters have very little to no control over the number of crystals on a pot or where those crystals form, which makes each crystalline pot one-of-a-kind.

Whether you’re a long-time pottery collector or someone who’s just discovered the wealth of talent in the Seagrove area, “Crystalline Potters of Seagrove” is sure to be an event worthy of attendance.

For more information, contact Rhonda at 336/873-7412 or e-mail to (professional_page@rtmc.net).

North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, Receives Grant from NC Arts council

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

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The North Carolina Pottery Center in Randolph County has been awarded $20,412 from the North Carolina Arts Council for State Arts Resources, and $8,000 for the Traditional Arts Program in the Schools held each year in the Center’s educational building for fifth grade students from the Seagrove Elementary School in Seagrove, NC.

Board president, Linda Carnes-McNaughton said “State funds allow Randolph County to provide quality arts programming for students and adults, while also sustaining our local economy.”

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Last year, the North Carolina Pottery Center provided programming for more than 11,000 visitors, including students. Highlights of our programming is the Traditional Arts Program In Schools held each year at the Center’s education building in partnership with the Seagrove Elementary School. The two ten-week workshops are conducted by local fifth-generation potter Sid Luck. Educational programs are also provided by the Center at the Catawba Valley Pottery Festival held in Hickory, NC, each March by well-known pottery historian, Dr. Charles “Terry” Zug of Chapel Hill, NC, and at the local Seagrove Celebration of Seagrove Potters held each November which provides exhibits and educational information to pottery attendees.

“The support of our grants program by the General assembly during these economically challenging times demonstrates the role the arts play in our economy and our quality of life,” said Mary B. Regan, executive director of the NC Arts Council. “Nonprofit arts organizations employ workers, stimulate commerce, generate tax revenues and help communities retain their vibrancy.”

More than 8.7 million people participated in NC Arts Council-funded projects last year in schools, senior centers, museums, concert halls and community centers. Nearly 2.9 million of these were children and youth.

The NC Arts Council awards grant money each year to provide diverse arts experiences for citizens to all 100 counties of NC. In fiscal year 2011-2012, the Arts Council is expected to distribute $6.4 million in state and federal grant funds to arts organizations, schools and other nonprofit organizations that sponsor arts programs.

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The NC Arts Council is a division of the NC Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future. Information on Cultural Resources is available at (www.ncculture.com).

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, and free – NCPC members.  Handicap accessible. Groups and tours welcomed.

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

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

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Fundraiser for the NC Pottery Center

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

NC Pottery Center’s Upcoming Exhibitions

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

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

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

For more information, please call 336/873-8430 or visit (www.ncpotterycenter.org)