Archive for the ‘SC Pottery’ Category

The Exhibit of Works by Patz and Mike Fowle at Francis Marion University Has Plenty of Funk and is Pretty Awesome

Sunday, October 9th, 2011


I’ve been wanting to see a big collection of works by Patz and Mike Fowle and the opportunity came on Oct. 6, 2011, at Francis Marion University. The gallery at the Hyman Fine Arts Center at FMU is presenting the exhibit, Funk and Awesome!, featuring individual and collaborative works by Patz and Mike Fowle of Hartsville, SC, through Nov. 10, 2011.

I first discovered Patz Fowle’s unique ceramic creations at one of thePalmetto Hands exhibitions during the North Charleston Arts Festival held at the Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston, SC. The first work I saw was a miniature Noah’s Ark with many sets of crazy looking animals on board. I had never seen anything like it. And, each successive year I would see another or maybe two new works by her and then eventually works by her husband Mike Fowle.

Earlier this year I had an opportunity to see an actual exhibition of works by these two talented artists at the Florence Regional Arts Alliance gallery in Florence, SC, but this was a small show. It just served to whet my appetite. And, I saw a few more pieces at exhibits at the Art Trail Gallery in Florence. So when I heard about the exhibit at FMU – I was ready to go.

Unfortunately for me, it was on a day when so many other interesting exhibits would be opening and I can only be in one place at a time. I’d love to have one of those Harry Potter devices where you can be in several places during the same time frame, but I haven’t been able to work that out yet. It’s one of the many problems with covering such a large region – making hard choices is never easy.

Florence is closer to Bonneau, SC, than most people know, so it helped make my decision a little easier. An extra bonus was that Linda was off from her “other” job and she could go too, but she worked the next day so our trip had to be a quick run in and out.

I think we were some of the first people to arrive, so I started taking photos before it was too late. Translation – before I started talking with folks. And, I did a lot of talking with some of the movers and shakers of the Pee Dee art community that night.

Taking photos was a bit of a challenge as many of the works were presented in glassed cases, but I was pleased with the results – never as good as being there, but still good enough to give you a taste. Without these images there would be no way for me to describe these works.

Tell Me More



After coming back from seeing the exhibit I posted this on my Facebook page, “It was like visiting a dream written by Dr. Seuss combined with Alice and Wonderland and Where the Wild Things Are. A lot of wild, crazy ceramic creatures.” This is a pretty good description of the collaborative creatures made by both of these artists, but this exhibit offered more than the ceramic creatures.

Magic Carpet Ride

Catbird in Flight

Let’s Sit a While and Yackety Yack

O’Keeffe’s Beautiful Bones

This exhibit also included some ceramic “portraits” with titles like: Frida Without Diego, Picasso’s Palette, Dali’s Dilemma, and O’Keeffe’s Beautiful Bones. One closer to home was A Pearl of A Man, of SC’s Pearl Fryar. There were also some paintings by Patz Fowle. And of course they all carry a touch of that Fowle humor – the couple’s trademark.

Pearl Fryar’s Fantastic Fro-piary Garden oil painting by Patz Fowle

What was unexpected was a group of works that were re-purposed. You wouldn’t say they were recycled as those are objects that some people toss away, but can be collected and remade into usable products again – like saving aluminium cans to be remade into aluminium cans or other aluminium products.

In this case the Fowle’s, mainly Mike, were re-purposing children’s plastic toys into works of art. He also does that a lot with discarded metal objects. Of course one piece entitled the Plastic Planet used plastic water bottles as a core material. The photos give you a better look at this piece, but it would take you maybe an hour or two to discover all the working “toys” making up the crust of this planet.

Plastic Planet

Plastic Planet, detail

Plastic Planet, detail

I can imagine if we, as a people, keep going the way we are that our planet could look like this one day – a big plastic ball.

Prestone by Mike Fowle

I didn’t get this work’s title but it reminded me of man’s beginning on earth (if I can say that in South Carolina) from the primordial ooze of the trash we leave behind, this creature evolved.

These works reminded me of another show that opened that same night in Columbia, SC, at Vista Studios. On view in Gallery 80808 is an exhibit featuring assemblage “portraits” by Kirkland Smith, entitled, Re-Created, on view through Oct. 18, 2011. Smith creates amazing paintings out of re-purposed objects and some that I’ve seen are made up of plastic children’s toys and action figures.

Image of Audrey Hepburn by Kirkland Smith

I don’t want to detract from the Fowle’s exhibit, but these three artists are saving our landfills from thousands of items which would take 100′s of years to breakdown by making works of art from them – art people want.

Smith’s show will be up for a shorter period of time, so you have to act fast to see it. I’m hoping I do that before it’s down, but time is not a friend of mine. You have a longer time to see Funk and Awesome!, but don’t put it off and miss it.

One advantage of going to an opening is that you can hear stories in the background, like the one of Mike Fowle going into second-hand stores looking for children’s shoes to use with some of their ceramic creatures.

Now you have to understand that Mike is a big guy – he could be described as a mountain man. So imagine this big guy going into a store and asking people if they have any small children’s shoes. It might make some people wonder – what is he doing with all those children’s shoes? It’s just part of being an artist. Sometimes you’re looking for unusual things to do your work – especially when you are re-purposing items. And, I’m sure his search for little children’s shoes have given some folks a creepy story to pass along. I don’t think it’s creepy – the picture it paints in my mind gives me a chuckle.

Walkin’ the Walk

Before I knew it – it was time to head home. It always seems like it’s time to head home.

You can read about this exhibit and Kirkland Smith’s exhibit in the Oct. 2011 issue of Carolina Arts and see a few more images of the works.

The gallery at the Hyman Fine Arts Center at Francis Marion University is open Mon. through Fri., from 8am-5pm.

For further information you can call the FMU Art Department at 843/661-1385 or visit ( To see more works visit (

Adding To The Carolina Clay Resource Directory

Friday, December 3rd, 2010


Although the Thanksgiving – Black Friday weekend is probably not the best time to launch a new venture, I’m happy to report that at least a few potters made it through the lists and sent us additions of individual potters and galleries showing pottery.

Since then we’ve been adding them as soon as we received most of them. Hopefully as people recover from each blockbuster weekend, presented until Christmas, more people will check the site out and send us more info to add. This is a process that we expect to be ongoing. And once the holidays are over – people will have lots of time to look at websites – all winter long.

For potters, they should also check out the active ad link for Bulldog Pottery in Seagrove, NC, to see how you can extend your presence in such a crowded field. And, we’ve just scratch the surface as far as listing Carolina potters, clay sculptors, and other creative artists using clay. You know what the say about squeaky wheels. Contact us about becoming one of them.

Just go on over to Carolina Arts and click on the Carolina Clay Resource Directory link and explore.

Carolina Arts Launches Carolina Clay Resource Directory

Monday, November 22nd, 2010


Finally! After months of collecting info about the clay community in both North and South Carolina we have finally gotten to a point where I felt we could launch this puppy. Plus, when we got close to this being our 400th entry to Carolina Arts Unleashed, I felt that was the time to put it out there and begin the long journey of collecting more info, updating, refining, and letting others have access to this info.

Our logo was designed by Zelda Ravenel – our blog graphics guru atCarolina Arts and Linda, my better half, and our web master at Carolina Arts, put it all together and actually made it work. I’m a content kind of guy – in other words – technically illiterate.

I’m not sure what the folks who make up the Carolina clay community will think of our efforts, but I didn’t find this info collected in one place anywhere else – until now. And, right up front I’ll admit – we have just scratched the surface. We have a long way to go yet, but everything has to start somewhere or it never gets anywhere.

We’re open to any suggestions – within our abilities. Like Carolina Arts and all its related sites – we’re not fancy, but we are simple and clean.

Right off, it won’t take any observer too long to notice that the South Carolina clay community looks like the little cousin to the clay community in North Carolina. We know there is a lot more out there in South Carolina, but North Carolina is a lot more organized and supported by many more institutions. But hopefully we’ll soon be hearing from those potters in the Palmetto State.

And, that’s where NC and SC potters can help. Check out the info we’re offering and if you find yourself there – check the info offered and if it is not correct – get back to us with the correct info. Then, see if other potters, galleries that carry pottery, pottery festivals & events, and other info (you know about) are there and if it isn’t – send us the info or contact others to send it to us.

Now, our readers can help too. Hopefully you’ll find the info easy to use and informative, but if you have any questions or problems – we want to hear from you too.

Back when I was collecting info and talking with some potters about my plans, I was asked – why do you want to do this? It’s not an unusual question and my answer wasn’t too unusual either – at least I don’t think it is.

Carolina Arts is in the business of collecting info and offering it back to the public in a timely fashion. By attracting readers and visitors to our sites we open up opportunities for people who want to have access to those folks interested in the info we offer – advertising opportunities.

The various editions of our printed arts newspapers have been doing this for 23 years and we’ve been on the Internet for 11 of those years. With this posting, Carolina Arts Unleashed has offered 400 entries and nowCarolina Arts News is offering info on a daily basis – as soon as we get it – sometimes within the hour. So, we’re attracting a lot of viewers and I think that the Carolina Clay Resource Directory will attract even more.

I also felt that the clay community was an underserved part of the overall Carolina art community. It surely is in South Carolina. We’re just doing what we’ve been doing for 23 years.

So, go on over to Carolina Arts and click on the link for the Carolina Clay Resource Directory and see what you think.

Cone 10 Studios & Gallery in Charleston, SC, Offers a Winter Wonderland Welcoming – Dec. 4, 2010

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Betsey Carter of Cone 10 Studios, located at 1080-B Morrison Drive in Charleston, SC, (in the heart of NoMo) writes that the group has finished scraping, painting, hammering, and sawing. The wheels are turning, the kilns are firing, and the gallery is stocked with fresh new work. They’re ready to show off the fabulous new studio and gallery. So mark your calendars for Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010, from 5-9pm as a reminder to attend their Winter Wonderland Welcoming.


Cone 10 Studios & Gallery moved from Meeting Street over the summer to Morrison Street, which I’m told is the up and coming NoMo area of Charleston – North Morrison Street. At least that’s the hope as the developed area of Charleston moves into that “in-between” area known as the “neck” between North Charleston and Charleston. Out with the old industries of Charleston – In with the new residential and shopping districts. And, artist’s studios, art galleries, and artist’s colonies.

Work by Anne John

Work by Betsey Carter

Cone 10 Studios is a working studio and gallery of potters and sculptors featuring affordable and distinctive handcrafted pottery, sculpture, jewelry, handmade paper, and paintings. The gallery presents member and invitational exhibitions and the studio offers classes in wheelthrowing and clay sculpture as well as studio memberships to advanced ceramicists. Visitors are welcome to tour the studio.

Founded in 2000 by Susan Filley as Clay Works, the community gallery and work space has been home to hobbyists and professionals, those practicing forms and those nationally collected. It is a schoolhouse blend for the sharing of ideas and techniques and provides the ability for clay artists to combine the financial and physical responsibilities of firing in a gas reduction kiln. Cone 10 Studio offers memberships for studio space, classes in wheelthrowing and clay sculpture as well as exhibition events.

Work by Sally Burrell

Work by Susan Gregory

Artists with works featured at this event and on a regular basis include: Betsey Carter, Caroline Cercone, Fiorenzo Berardozzi, Susan Gregory, Anne John, Bev Ballow, Barbara Bergwerf, Arthur McDonald, Edwina Powell, Juliann Bannon, Pana Wilder, Sally Burrell and others.

For further information call 843/853-3345, e-mail at ( or visit (