Archive for February, 2012

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

Friday, February 17th, 2012

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

Here’s the good news.

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

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

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

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Painting by Mary Paul and John Garland

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

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

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

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Painting by Bruce Gholson

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

The North Carolina Pottery Center offers educational opportunities to statewide schools and individuals, changing historical and contemporary exhibitions, demonstrations, and information about statewide potters. The NCPC is a private nonprofit entity, funded primarily through memberships, grants, admissions, and appropriations.

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Michael Mahan (r) and Phil Winn (l)

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

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NC Potter Center Board Member Michael Kline serving up drinks

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A last minute inspection of works to be auctioned

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More inspections

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

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

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

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Mark Hewitt describing a painting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Poem I Heard on the Radio

Monday, February 6th, 2012

I heard this poem read on the radio the other day.

Let America be America Again

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed–
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek–
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean–
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today–O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home–
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay–
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose–
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain–
All, all the stretch of these great green states–
And make America again!

Think about when this poem was written. Of course many of the words give it away.

I sure didn’t hear this on the campaign trail by a Republican Presidential candidate. I’ve heard them say , “Let American be America Again” or “Let’s Take Back America” but they were talking about a different America – their America – the America of the 1%.

When I heard it, I heard a family standing in front of their foreclosed home; I heard men and woman standing in front of the factory and buildings they used to work in; I heard thousands and thousands of college graduates holding a diploma in one hand and the tally of their college loans in the other; I heard the people who have picked our fruit and vegetables for next to nothing and now are being shown the exit door; I heard our veterans checking out a public bench – their bed every night – I heard my self wondering how long before I’ll be voicing these words.

This poem was written by Langston Hughes, a black man in 1938. But, how true it rings today.

The February 2012 Issue of Carolina Arts is Now Ready to Download

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

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The February 2012 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (www.carolinaarts.com) – all 68 pages of it. We had over 84,000 downloads of the January 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: (http://www.carolinaarts.com/212/212carolinaarts.pdf).

If you are receiving this because you are on someone’s list, you can send us an e-mail to (info@carolinaarts.com) to be placed on our list, so you will get a notice of every new issue.

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
843-825-3408
info@carolinaarts.com