Archive for November, 2011

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

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011


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.



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.

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

Fred Johnston in the Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery Booth

Ben Owen III in his booth

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.

A shot inside Seagrove Stoneware’s booth

A shot inside Bulldog Pottery’s booth

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.

NC Pottery Booth

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.

Here’s some big pots by Donna Craven

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

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.

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.

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

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.


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 (

A Trip to Vista Lights 2011 in Columbia, SC

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

If it’s the Thursday before Thanksgiving, then it’s time for Vista Lights in the Congaree Vista area of Columbia, SC. That’s when the art galleries, restaurants, and various shops turn up the lights for an evening celebration of the coming holiday season. It’s not the same as the Artista Vista event which focuses only on the arts community of the Vista, but it is still an enjoyable event – one I always try to make. Unfortunately for Linda, she was on call at her 911 dispatch job and that call came for her to come into work at noon. So I made the trip solo.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in my 37 years of living in SC’s Lowcountry it is the fact that although I love where I live – it is good to get out from time to time to enjoy the offerings of other communities – just a few hours drive away. I wish more people in the Lowcountry would feel that way, but I guess when you are born with pluffmud between your toes you see things differently. I’m originally from Michigan.

So, within two hours of leaving the Carolina Arts headquarters in Bonneau, SC, I was pulling into a nice parking space at about 4:45pm right on Lady Street in the heart of this event which would close off Gervais Street from 5-8pm. I guess most folks in Columbia didn’t think they could get a parking space so close to the action.

I started my Vista Lights journey at Vista Studios, a group of artists’ studios and Gallery 80808, which was presenting the exhibit Legally Twenty-One, featuring works by the studio artists, on view through Nov. 29, 2011.

I took my first photo and pulled out my note pad and – where’s my pen? And, it hits me like a lead brick – I took it out to write down my beginning mileage and it’s sitting on the passenger car seat. Darn! I took a few more photos but not too many that I couldn’t remember the order and then went to call on Susan Lenz who has a studio at Vista Studios. She’s a highly organized individual and I just knew she would have a spare pen or pencil. And sure enough, she had a fishbowl full of pens and pencils on one of her work tables.

Talking Trash by Kirkland Smith

Talking Trash, the full image.

We had a good chat about various subjects ranging from upcoming shows, business deductions that don’t grow on trees, and the sad fact that she will be “forced” to attend an artist’s residency for the month of March 2012 in Key West, FL. Poor Susan. The things some artists are forced to go through to keep the creativity going is downright heartbreaking at times. This was not one of those times, but Lenz has had her fair share of struggles so I gave her a pass while I was thinking that I’ll still be cleaning up Winter’s mess left in our yard during the month of March.

Reliquary to All by Heidi Darr-Hope

White Trash by Kirkland Smith. Works by Stephen Chesley to the left, work by
Laura Spong to the right.

Bill and Nan in Their Prime by Pat Gilmartin

So with pen in hand, I returned to my photo path and recorded titles and took a few more photos. Once home reviewing my photos I realized I didn’t get any photos of Lenz’s works in the exhibit, but I’m sure I’ll make that up sometime in the future. After all, she saved me a trip back to the car.

I also has a chat with Laura Spong, which is a tradition going back to my first days of delivering Carolina Arts to Columbia – back in the days when it was a printed publication – so old hat. When I think about that I realize I’d still be on the road right now if I had to deliver the 77,000 plus papers people have downloaded so far this month. My back and feet would be killing me.

Spong will be having an exhibit opening at the Spartanburg Art Museum in Spartanburg, SC, next month. Her exhibition, Laura Spong: Early Workswill open on Dec. 20 and continue through Feb. 18, 2012. Make sure you put that on your calendar.

Other folks meeting Bill and Nan

Vista Studios was beginning to fill up so I headed on to my next stop – City Art Gallery to see the exhibit, New Abstracts: Rodney Wimer, which will be on view through Dec. 23, 2011. The key word here is “abstracts”. I like abstracts – regular readers know that by now. I’d seen the photos that we presented in our Nov. issue of Wimer’s exhibit, but photos never do much for me when it comes to seeing abstracts up close, in person. Wimer had my attention and his works did not disappoint. Since red is a favorite of mine, it was a plus that the color red seems to show up in most of his works.

The photos I took of Wimer’s works at City Art have made the reds look too orange, but I’m including some of the images we received for the paper to show the true colors, but all computer screens show colors differently. Take my word – his reds are red.

People checking out Rodney Wimer’s works

St. George and the Dragon by Rodney Wimer. Photo from City Art

A detail of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints to show the texture of Rodney
Wimer’s work.

Randy Hanna, one of the owners at City Art and the art supply guru, matched up with me as we declared our favorites. That just shows me what an eye for art he has.


I found some not too tall women by Harriet Marshall Goode. These paintings
were only 45″ tall compared to the 7′ tall paintings Goode presented a few
months ago.

Of course Vista Lights is more about visuals than words, so I’ll let these meager photos tell just a little of the story you need to experience for yourself.

These folks were entertaining the crowd on Gervais Street

These children are waiting for their turn to preform

These folks were checking out the windows at Carol Sanders Gallery

Folks were flowing in and out of The Gallery at Nonnah’s

Here you can see some of the art on display at The Gallery at Nonnah’s

Here folks are roasting marshmellows

To illustrate how different the crowd is for Vista Lights compared to Artista Vista I stood on the Blue Marlin side of Lady Street looking across at if ART Gallery and the Lewis + Clark’s work studio. Streams of people were flowing past if ART with one in ten going in the door, but everyone was stopping to check out what they were seeing at Lewis + Clark, which was an odd collection of robot lamps – at least that’s what seemed to be drawing people in. During Artista Vista the crowd is there for the arts, during Vista Lights, more families are on the street. I would guess that during Artista Vista no one would be passing by if Arts.

Various lamps at Lewis + Clark

A closer look at one of the lamps

Body of the Robot Lamp/Stooges by Clark Ellefson

This was Lenin Bot by Clark Ellefson

My last stop of the evening was at One Eared Cow Glass. No trip to Columbia is complete without a stop to see the cowboys who were be demonstrating their magic for Vista Lights. Tommy Lockart, Mark Woodham and their sidekick Ryan Crabtree were doing the dance of glass making with an entranced audience on hand. Nowhere better does the concept behind Vista Lights works better than at One Eared Cow Glass where light sparkles off the surfaces of the colorful glass creations. If you squint your eyes it’s as if your looking at one big Christmas tree.

View inside the showroom at One Eared Cow Glass

This lamp is one of my new favorites
Mark Woodham talks to a very interested crowd

One parting shot – just another wonderful creation

I’m telling you – if you’ve never been before, put the Thursday before Thanksgiving on your calendar for a trip to Vista Lights in Columbia, SC. And then mark that weekend in for a trip to Seagrove, NC – my next blog entry.

6th Charleston Art Auction Sets New Sales Record in Charleston, SC

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

The 6th Charleston Art Auction set a new sales record on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, in Charleston, SC, when enthusiastic bidders, including recognized collectors from the Lowcountry as well as telephone and absentee buyers throughout the United States pushed the total above $700,000.

Phone lines were filled for several lots of contemporary masterworks including Clark Huling’s The Sugar Cane Vendor (estimated $200,000 – $300,000) that brought $218,000, San Miguel (estimated at $70,000 – $90,000) that fetched $88,550 and The Bread Wagon (estimated at $35,000 – $45,000) that hammered down at $51,750; Stephen Scott Young’s The Blues (estimated at $75,000 – $100,000) sold for $86,250 and a very rare portfolio of eighteen gelatin silver prints by Eudora Welty (estimated at $40,000 – $50,000) achieved $44,850.

Two highly prized bronzes by the noted American sculptor, Glenna Goodacre were eagerly sought through heated competition between the telephones and the audience.  A maquette for Carefree (estimated at $5,000 – $7,000) sold for $14,950 in the sale room and a maquette forOlympic Wannabees (estimated at $7,000 – $9,000) hammered down at $13,800 to a Virginia collector.

Hidden by Mary Whyte

Mary Whyte’s Hidden, a sensitive watercolor that places Whyte in the ranks of Andrew Wyeth and Stephen Scott Young, (estimated at $20, 000 – $30,000) sold on the telephone to a Connecticut bidder for $26,450. Whyte’s work was recently featured on CBS Sunday Morning and an exhibition of her paintings, Working South, is the subject of a recently released book and exhibition touring five museums in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia.

Other leading artists from the Charleston Fine Art Dealers Association network (CFADA) included, William Berra, James Calk, John Carroll Doyle, Ted Ellis, Kim English, Russell Gordon, John Austin Hanna, Evan Harrington, Betsy Havens, Earl B. Lewis, Susan Lyon, George Pate, Robert Palevitz, Guido Petruzzi, Joan Potter, Jennifer Smith Rogers, Betty Anglin Smith, Shannon Smith, Rhett Thurman and Karen Larson Turner.

Bid caller for the evening event was Gerald Bowie who kept the audience alert with his quick pace and engaging manner as he, with son Mark and grandson John Mark serving as ringmen, represented three generations of auctioneers from the nationally acclaimed Auction Way Company in Georgia.  “Entertaining and exciting” was how spirited bidders described the sale as they exited the DoubleTree Guest Suites Historic Charleston on Saturday evening.

Attendees also noted a more diversified offering this year and solid bidding for premium works throughout the evening suggested that, despite rumors of a soft economy, the art market in Charleston, South Carolina is alive and healthy. Sale date for 2012 has been set for Saturday, October 20, 2012.

For complete results visit (

For further information contact Jack A. Morris, Jr. by calling 843/842-4433 or e-mail to (

North Charleston Artist Guild in North Charleston, SC, Offers $5-$50 Gift Market! – Dec. 3 and 4, 2011

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011


Looking for one-of-a-kind, handcrafted gifts this holiday season? With the $5 to $50 Gift Market, the North Charleston Artist Guild brings affordable art to the community just in time for holiday gift giving. The $5 to $50 Gift Market is Dec. 3 & 4, 2011, from 11am to 3pm at the Meeting Place, located at 1077 East Montague Avenue in Park Circle. All items for sale will be $50 and below, and each day features different participating artists. Admission to the market is free, and there will be plenty of free parking available.

The North Charleston Artist Guild is an arts organization hosted by the The Olde North Charleston Merchants Association operating out of the Old Village of Park Circle North Charleston. The purposes of the guild are to network local artists, promote their works through alliance with Park Circle area businesses, advance artist communities in the area, organize and promote events in all art disciplines, and educate the public about the arts. To find out more about the guild, visit our website at ( or e-mail us at (

In October I attended Parktober Fest held in this same area. Together with the Olde North Charleston Merchants Association, the North Charleston Artist Guild presented this outdoor arts festival along East Montague Avenue. I ran out of time working on our November 2011 issue of Carolina Arts, to make a timely posting on that event, but I thought I’d show you some photos from that day – which was wonderful – in hopes that more people would travel to this changed part of North Charleston – which is turning into a very nice community. I assure you, if you haven’t been there in over ten years you’ll be surprised and amazed at what you’ll find there.

Here’s some photos:










For further information contact guild member Liv Antonecchia at ( or visit (

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


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!


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 ( or at the Celebration! You can join for as little as $35.


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.


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 (

For further info about the NC Pottery Center call 336/873-8430 or visit (

Tracking the Numbers for the First Ten Days of the Nov. 2011 Issue of Carolina Arts

Friday, November 11th, 2011


Last month I was shocked when I checked our download stats on Oct. 11 to find that we had 55,160 downloads of our Oct. 2011 issue of Carolina Arts. I don’t know what to say my reaction is this month. So this morning on 11/11/11 – a strange day on the calendar – I checked the stats for the first ten days in Nov. and after I took off my glasses and rubbed my eyes to make sure they were cleared and looked again, the total was 71,752. What the heck!

I knew we had passed last month’s total for the first ten days, but I hadn’t checked in two days and was I very surprised. This total was 3,392 over the total (68,360) for all of October. So, we already have a new all time winner for most downloads and the month is only a third of the way over. But, don’t get overly excited as I’m trying not to. The first ten days of the month is when the bulk of our downloads take place. After that time period the numbers drop off to a trickle. At least that seems to be the pattern.

The roots of this avalanche lie in the activity which took place last month. We received many more request from people who were receiving our link from third parties to be added to our list to make sure they always got notice of new issues. And, many more people involved in visual art organizations expressed a willingness to help us spread the word about the paper by sending our link out on their e-mail list. As one person said – we want as many people as possible to see our coverage in your paper showing that we’re not just a local news story – we’re being seen regionally. I had to say – amen to that.

We don’t have a mailing list of 70,000 people and I doubt we ever will. Our list has grown tenfold since we started this online venture, but without the help of others we’d have never seen the numbers we have today. So we hope those who have been sowing our seed throughout the Carolinas keep doing so and also that others will join them.

The rest of the numbers are: 19,502 “others” or the unknown. This is about the same as last month (19,865), but we all know by now that by the end of the month this number may overtake our total downloads – it always does – except for last month.


Our cult issue, March 2011, has regained its foothold on second place with 5,510 downloads and our May 2011 issue has moved into third with 1,342. Remember there was a time when the May issue had gone AWOL.

The June 2011 issue came in 4th with 735, after holding second place for a few months. Next was January 2011 with 160; July 2011 with 127; and February 2011 with 56 downloads.

Our October 2011 issue which set a record for size (76 pages) and downloads until this month, just had 37 downloads. It’s amazing how “old hat” these issues get as soon as the next issue comes out. It takes a few months to go by before people are interested in looking back.

That was the totals for the top 200 entries on our stats list of 10,001 items. In taking a peek at the next 100, I found our September 2011 issue with 21 downloads. No sign of April 2011 or August 2011. Who wants to revisit August in the Carolinas? Maybe once the cool winds of Winter set in, everyone will be wishing it could be a little more like August. How soon we forget.

If you’re not one of the 70,000+ who have downloaded our November 2011 issue of Carolina Arts – the link is ( It will take a few minutes to download, but well worth the wait in my opinion and, I hope that of many others. And feel free to join our “resend” club and pass this link around to others.

Two final things. One – these numbers are great but unless our advertisers – those folks who make this paper possible see some kind of reaction on their end – it won’t mean anything. So, it’s important for our readers to let them know you appreciate their support for Carolina Arts. And, two – we could use a few more – well a lot more advertisers. Our rates are pretty cheap to expose yourself to this many viewers. You can find info about advertising at this link ( There are many areas of the Carolinas where we don’t have any advertisers. By being the first – you’ll stand out like a wise man or woman in Congress.

Here’s hoping I’m blown away when I check the stats at the end of the month.

A Trip to the Best Art Galleries on Hilton Head Island, SC

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

As many people in the Carolinas and beyond were heading to Charleston, SC, for a big visual art weekend including the first Friday art walk, the opening of the SC Watermedia Society’s annual member exhibition, the Charleston Fine Art Dealers’ Fine Art Annual, and the 6th Charleston Art Auction – Linda and I were headed to Hilton Head Island, SC, to visit some galleries and attend a good friend’s wedding.

We would be missing one of the biggest gatherings of people interested in the visual arts in Charleston’s history – bigger than the Spoleto Festival which is mostly performing arts – and close to attracting the crowd the Southeastern Wildlife Expo says they bring in. But that’s a whole different crowd and would be a major blog explaining who those folks really are. We still haven’t figured out how to be in two or three places at once so it’s a pretty normal thing of having to make hard choices. There are always several good things going on at the same time in different parts of the Carolinas.

Now, I’m not just calling these galleries the best on Hilton Head Island because they are two of our best supporters, they earned that reputation on their own, but I think you’ll see by the photos I present and when you go check it out for yourself – if you don’t already know I’m telling the truth. And, I ask you – why would I go to galleries that don’t support our paper?

We left early Friday morning to get to Hilton Head in time to still catch the crew at Morris & Whiteside Galleries before they left for Charleston to set up for the Saturday night Charleston Art Auction, which we have now received a report that the auction set a new record this year with over $700,000 in sales – not bad for one evening, but months and months of work.




The auction team of Jack A. Morris, Jr., J. Ben Whiteside, David G. Leahy, (of Morris & Whiteside Galleries) and Janie & Joe B. Sylvan (of The Sylvan Gallery in Charleston) have over thirty years experience presenting fine art to collectors throughout the Unites States. The Morris & Whiteside group is also involved in the Scottsdale Arizona Auction which sold over $15 million this Spring. Of course they had 411 items in that auction compared to the 100 in the Charleston Art Auction. They know what they are doing and by establishing an art auction in Charleston have helped that city be a major arts destination in the South. It may have helped Charleston become the number one destination for travelers in the US this year. Who knows?



We arrived at Morris & Whiteside Galleries just in time to help load art on to the truck headed to Charleston. I actually handed one painting up to someone in the truck, but I would have done more, but I felt an obligation to get some photos of the gallery for you readers. It’s all about the readers with me when it comes to heavy lifting. We also got to see Clark Hulings paintings before they were loaded, which is a good thing as they all sold at the auction. But they have a few more at the gallery – just for you.

I’ve been in this same space when it was the Red Piano Gallery years before Morris & Whiteside Galleries took it over and it has never looked so good, as you can see from the photos. The red piano is still there.



We didn’t want to over stay our welcome and they had a lot of work to do before they could head to Charleston so we headed to the next stop, Smith Galleries in the Village at Wexford.

But before that, you should know that Morris & Whiteside Galleries will be presenting a reception for the exhibit, Recent Works: Dean Mitchell, on Nov. 18, 2011, from 6-8pm.  If you’re going to be in the area or know of Mitchell’s work – check it out.

I have an interesting story about Smith Galleries. Long before we ever got involved with art galleries and visual art newspapers – back when we were still in the photo processing biz, Linda and I made a trip to Gatlinburg, TN. Back then, pottery and photography was the only art we were collecting. We asked someone in the town where we would see the best pottery and someone suggested a potter named Wally Smith. So we checked it out and we purchased one of the best pieces in our collection. Years later, by 1995 when we decided to take our paper Charleston Arts and expand it intoSouth Carolina Arts I traveled to Hilton Head Island to check out the galleries there and get them to participate in our venture.

When I got to Smith Galleries there was Wally and his wife, Jean, who makes wearable art. They had moved from Gatlinburg to Hilton Head – I think to play more tennis. What I found strange and amazing was the fact that Wally had given up pottery to run a gallery that featured other people’s work. It was and still is a fantastic gallery filled with amazing work, but still – I’d give my left toe to be as good at creating anything as good as he was at making pottery. But, over the years I’ve learned that’s not so unusual – some talented artists have to make hard choices at times.

When I mentioned that I still had that piece, Jean said I’ve got a rare item there. And, I bet I do.





I took a good many pictures around the gallery and yet I don’t think I came close to showing the place off. It’s the kind of place where you almost feel like you have to leave a trail of crumbs to find your way back, but please don’t and say I told you to do so. I want to be able to go back.

You’ll notice I didn’t take any pictures of all the jewelry they had as Linda would have been in every one I tried to take.





The pictures I took came in handy later as we got together with other friends who had arrived for the wedding we were attending Saturday afternoon. Someone asked something about galleries and I was suggested as the perfect tour guide, so I showed a few folks the pictures I took. Next thing I know Linda and I are waiting outside Smith Galleries early Saturday morning with a group of folks – one couple all the way from Australia – for the gallery to open as we had limited time for gallery hopping. They weren’t disappointed and I later saw that one wedding gift had come from the gallery.









Whether it’s loading artwork onto trucks or giving gallery tours – we at Carolina Arts are here to serve our supporters any way we can.

That’s about it except for telling you that Smith Galleries will be having their annual Holiday Open House on Nov. 25 & 26, 2011. It should be a great event.

What about the wedding? We had a fantastic time and I heard it was so awesome that there might be a movie in the works. I heard they’re thinking of Pitt and Jolie to play the lead roles. I wonder who they’ll get to play me? I hear Sean Connery is no longer taking on any roles. Too bad.

4th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters Takes Place in Seagrove, NC – Nov. 18-20, 2011

Monday, November 7th, 2011


Planning for the 4th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters is well underway and the participating artists are all busily working on special pieces for the Celebration weekend, as well as on collaborative pieces to be auctioned at the Friday night Gala, on Nov. 18, 2011, from 6-9pm, including a catered reception and live music. The Celebration then opens on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, from 9am-6pm, and a second, silent auction will take place on Saturday from 1-3pm. The event continues on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011, from 10am-4pm.

Of course all this takes place at historic Luck’s Cannery, located at 798 NC Hwy 705 (the Pottery Highway) in Seagrove, NC.

Admission to the Saturday & Sunday Show 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 (


Last year’s event was another resounding success, drawing over 400 people to the Friday evening Gala and over 5,000 folks from NC and multiple states to the unique festival weekend. Each year the event has generated a total measurable financial impact of over $485,000.

Collaborative work by Jugtown Pottery and JLK Jewlery

The Celebration is distinctive; it is a showcase of the pottery artists of Seagrove, an area that covers the three county corner region of Randolph, Moore and Montgomery counties. Over 100 Seagrove potters, from 62 shops, are participating this year. Participating shops are: Avery, Ben Owen, Blue Hen, Blue Stone, Bulldog, Cadwell-Hohl, Chad Brown, Chris Luther, Country Pots, Cross Creek, Crystal King, Daniel Johnston, David Stuempfle, Dean & Martin, Dirt Works, Dixieland, Donna Craven, Dover, Eck McCanless, Fat Beagle, Firestone, From the Ground Up, Gingerbread House, Great White Oak Gallery, Hatfield, Hickory Hill, Humble Mill, JLK Jewelry, Johnston & Gentithes, Jugtown, Keith Martindale, King’s, Koepnick, Kovack, Lantern Hill, Latham’s, Luck’s Ware, McCanless, McKay, Michele Hastings & Jeff Brown, Nelda French, Nichols, Old Gap, Ole Fish House, Original Owens, Patrick Rowe, Pebbles, Pottery by Frank Neef, Potts, Ray, Riggs, Rockhouse, Seagrove Stoneware, Studio Touya, The Hutch, Thomas, Tom Gray, Triple C, Turn & Burn, Uwharrie Crystalline, Whynot, and Windsong.

Collaborative work by Michal Mahan and Will McCanless

The Celebration of Seagrove Potters will again be held indoors at the historic Luck’s Cannery, on NC 705, Pottery Highway, one half mile south of the traffic light in Seagrove. The Celebration potters admire and continue the spirit of the original Luck’s Cannery – people of the Seagrove area working together to provide a future for their community. The festival offers shoppers a one-stop, indoor-shopping opportunity to purchase authentic Seagrove pottery. The show offers the chance to meet the Seagrove artists, to learn about and purchase their work, all under one roof. There is excitement in every booth, where the exhibits embrace a striking variety of forms and functions.

Seagrove is the largest working community of potters and clay artists in the country, and offers something for everyone. The event offers not only the authenticity of Seagrove pottery, but also the opportunity to participate in historical and educational demonstrations. Children have a special area dedicated to them, where they can try their hand in clay and also purchase specially “Kid Priced” pieces of pottery. A donation from the proceeds of the children’s area is given to the arts programs of our local elementary schools.

The event kicks off with the opening night Gala. Guests can peruse and purchase from the booths, while enjoying food and beverages, live jazz music and enjoy the opportunity to view and bid on collaborative, one-of-a-kind pottery pieces.


The planning and implementation of the Celebration of Seagrove Potters festival has become a strong example of community and teamwork. Many committees work together to bring this professional and creative event to life. Local companies and organizations, such as The Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau, First Bank, Randolph Hospital, Randolph Electric Membership Corporation, Randolph Telephone Membership Corporation, The North Carolina Zoological Society, Asheboro Magazine, Life 103.1,Carolina Arts, Our State Magazine, Flowers on Main, StarWorks, and Wet Dog Glass have already provided sponsorship and there are many opportunities still available to partner with additional sponsors who recognize the unique prospects provided by the distinctive demographics of the Celebration attendees. Contact Rhonda McCanless for additional sponsor information at 336/873-7412 or e-mail to (

Volunteers serve as the backbone of the festival. We strive to provide Celebration attendees the finest experience possible, warmly welcoming them to spend a leisurely time browsing and shopping, seeing the process, developing and renewing relationships with the potters of Seagrove. This would not be possible without the immense dedication of our volunteers, including members from the Asheboro City Council, The Randolph Arts Guild, auctioneers, educators, pottery lovers and collectors. We are always looking for ways to build on this essential team. Volunteers have the opportunity to work on many aspects of the festival, including the auctions, artist relations, gala preview event, production, special projects and more. Contact Bonnie Burns by e-mail at (, ( or call 336/953-5491.

Seagrove pottery has long been known for its collectability and the Seagrove name is recognized worldwide. Located in the central piedmont, the town of Seagrove is at the intersection of NC Business Highway 220 and NC Highway 705, which in 2002 was designated as Pottery Highway because it runs through the heart of pottery country. Seagrove potters are located throughout the countryside, all around these two major roads, and are all easily accessible from them. The shops are diverse and interesting, and all worthy of a visit and most will be open throughout the Celebration weekend. The Celebration of Seagrove Potters merged with SAPA, (Seagrove Area Potters Association) a local non-profit marketing entity that promotes, publicizes and markets the Seagrove community of potters in August of 2008.

For up-to-date information and photos on the upcoming Celebration visit ( and for more on potters of the Seagrove community and other local events visit ( Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook at Celebration of Seagrove Potters.

Tracking the Numbers of the Oct. 2011 issue of Carolina Arts

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011


Wow! What a month. Our friends who help us spread the word about the visual arts community in the Carolinas by sending our paper’s download link to their e-mail list of friends and contacts, mentioning or sharing our link on their Facebook page, or just promoting us in any way possible – did a fantastic, super, job last month. The Oct. 2011 issue set several records including: having 76 pages (our largest ever), bringing in 68,360 downloads (May 2011 had 61,199) and attracting 88,300 sessions to our website.

The Oct. 2011 issue also attracted another record, but we don’t get excited about it (87,065 “other”) – a category we can’t tell you much about, other than we got a whole lot of them. Our Internet server says they might be downloads of the paper which come from untrackable sources, but they could also be people looking for tee times on a Myrtle Beach, SC, golf course. They just don’t know, so they get thrown in the a bucket called “other”.

It’s like someone bringing you a birthday present – three years early, and they want you to wait the full three years to open it. You can look at it, shake it, speculate all you want, but you won’t know what it is until you can open it and see, but in this case – no one can tell us how to open the box. The box exist, but it can’t doing anything but frustrate you. That’s the “other” count – all 87,065 of them.

This month was like night and day compared to last month where our total for the month was 37,344 – an amount we surpassed in the first three days of October. We chalk that up to the “holiday at the beginning of the month factor”. We’re thinking of ways to deal with Jan. 1.

The fact that so many people were downloading our October issue also had a major effect on downloads of previous issues. Our second place winner was our June 2011 issue with 1,827 downloads. That’s the second month in a row the June issue has brought in the second highest downloads, but last month it was 2,599. In third place was our March 2011 issue with 1,813 downloads.

After that, the numbers really take a dive. Our July 2011 issue got 523 downloads, August had 390, January got 66 and April had 60. The other issues were way down the list of 10,001 pages tracked – so far down we couldn’t find them. It’s a real puzzle as to how our May 2011 issue, until October, our top issue, has fallen so far out of interest.

The record 88,300 sessions on our website was also a nice surprise. The number of sessions have been growing steadily each month, but in October it was a big jump which means that a lot of those new people who downloaded the October issue took a look at our website too – either at other old issues or other archived items on our website – of which there are plenty.

Which brings up a point of special interest to me. Our stat numbers say 316 people checked out our advertising rates. My question is – what did you see there that you didn’t like? Our prices are dirt cheap for putting your ad in front of a possible 50,000 viewers each month. A 1/4 ad is just $35. If only 1,000 people see your ad – that’s a lot cheaper than most ways you can communicate with a 1,000 people. And that ad can keep on working month after month as people look at previous issues of the paper. We could use more advertising. It’s one thing to have lots of people viewing the paper, we also need to make some money to pay bills. That’s my pitch.

If you haven’t seen the paper yet, the link for the download is ( It usually takes just a few minutes to download to your computer’s desktop, your tablet, or smart phone. Then you’ve got it at your finger tips all month long.

If you want to be a real “friend” of Carolina Arts, you can become one of those angles who sends the link out to their e-mail list or your organization’s e-mail list.  It’s good for us, good for you, and good for the Carolina visual arts community.

And, finally, if you downloaded the paper and didn’t see your gallery, exhibit, or organization’s exhibit listed – what are you waiting for? Send us the info by deadline – Nov. 24 for our Dec. 2011 issue. Visit our website at ( to learn what you need to send us. Opportunity is knocking. Don’t you hear it?

The November 2011 Issue of Carolina Arts is Now Ready to Download

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011


The November 2011 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at ( – all 69 pages of it. We had just over 86,000 downloads of the October 2011 issue – a new record.

We ask that you help us bring the news about the Carolina visual art community to others by spreading the link for the download around to your e-mail lists and posting it on your Facebook page. Once people see all that is going on in the visual art community they will spread it around to their lists and on their Facebook pages.

The link is: (
If you are receiving this because you are on someone’s list, you can send us an e-mail to ( to be placed on our list, so you will get a notice of every new issue.

I’ve heard from some people that they are receiving numerous copies of this e-mail. I’m sorry about that, but it just goes to show how well connected you are in the Carolina art community.

So download that PDF and dig in – it’s going to take a while to get through this issue. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.
Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts