Archive for June, 2012

A Trip to Columbia, SC, the Famously Hot City, to See Some Art and Attend a High Noon Event

Thursday, June 28th, 2012


Last Saturday (June 23, 2012), before I was knee deep in our July 2012 issue of Carolina Arts I headed to Columbia, SC, to catch up on a few things going on there. I wanted to attend one of the Nigh Noon series that City Art was offering – Mary Gilkerson was giving a demo on how to start a painting. I wanted to see the exhibit, Abstract Art in South Carolina: 1949-2012, which offers the first inclusive look at the evolution and influences of abstract painting and sculpture in South Carolina, on view at the SC State Museum through Aug. 26, 2012. And, for me, no trip to Columbia is complete without a stop at One Eared Cow Glass to see what the cowboys, Tom Lockart and Mark Woodham, are up to.

Hitting the road these days is less painful. I filled up the car in Moncks Corner, SC, with $2.91 a gallon gas – thanks to my BiLo Fuel Perks card. Any day under $3 is a good day. I saw on the Weather Channel the other day that Greenville, SC, has the cheapest gas in the nation at $2.69. Our car, a Honda Civic Hybrid, is getting between 42 – 44mpg these days, but we still like lower gas prices.

As usual, I arrived at City Art in Columbia’s Congaree Vista area within two hours of leaving home. A short trip compared to my paper delivery driving days where I would spend 16 -18 hours a day in the car. Thank you Al Gore for inventing the Internet – ha, ha.

I checked out the exhibit of works by Michael Fowler which were still on display, before the big SC Watermedia Society exhibit comes to City Art (beginning July 7). I like abstract works and Fowler offers some good ones. Unfortunately, this day also confirmed that my pocket camera just wasn’t cutting it. I have been disappointed in how it acts in low-light situations. And, on this day I was running a test with my new iPhone’s camera – which after inspection showed it did much better, but it’s going to take some practice getting used to using it – especially keeping my fingers out of the way. In good daylight – the pocket camera is OK.

Here’s a photo I took with my camera

Here’s the same painting off the City Art website

A view of a few more paintings

a few more

While at City Art I also checked out some of their other art offerings, but I never got upstairs. I also went downstairs and looked over the art supplies. Not being an artist, I’ve never had much need for art supplies. There was a time when Linda and I did some silkscreening of T-shirts and a few Spoleto Posters with some friends. But this was in relationship to the photography we once did. And, back in the day when we had to physically layout the pages of the paper we used some spray adhesive. When I got to tubes of oil paints I instantly started trying to add up how much the paint might cost an artist like Brian Rutenberg who puts gallons of paint on his paintings – sometimes sticking an inch or two off the canvas. That’s got to cost a pretty penny. I’d learn some tricks about stretching out paint at Mary Gilkerson’s demo.

A view of some of Harriet Goode’s tall women – from a previous exhibit at City Art

A colorful painting by Jo Dean Bauknight with a lot of texture

So, close to noon I headed back upstairs and people were beginning to flow in for the demo. At first ten, then twenty, and thirty to eventually forty people and about a handful of staff from City Art. Gilkerson, being an art professor at Columbia College in Columbia came well prepared for this demo – no winging it here, and as I’m sure she’s used to after all her years of teaching – the hour moved on a steady path and I was amazed at how much material she covered with her ten point system in such a short period of time. And it wasn’t all lecture – there was plenty of show and tell, opportunity for questions, and at the end – opportunity to try out some of the materials – on the spot. The show and tell is good for people like me who need people to draw a picture for them to understand a concept sometimes. Words alone don’t always bring up the clearest picture for me.

High Noon with Mary Gilkerson

A view of the whole group

The bonus of this kind of learning event taking place at City Art is the staff being able to add info about materials, brands, and availability of items mentioned. (Which is no surprise – I’m sure they are offering these events in hope that what people learn will lead to sales of products and early reports were that this was the case.) Just like Carolina Arts, City Art is doing what they are doing because they like the arts, but they are in business too. Gilkerson was handing out info about upcoming workshops. She’s also hoping for some return on her efforts.

Folks trying out materials from the demo and collecting sample goodies

Pushing paint with painting knives – easier to clean

Gilkerson, being an active painter has her habits, but she was flexible to offer alternative ways of doing things. But, at the same time she made her pitch to work safe (some toxic materials are involved in painting) and working green. She explained that she knew artists who have gotten sick and a few who died due to their careless handling of some of these materials.

I have no intention of becoming a painter, but I learned a few things while listening. The number one point was – cheap materials usually result in cheap results, but in some cases – cheap is useful. Gilkerson finds suitable brushes at dollar stores for prepping canvases, but when laying paint on the canvas – the best is best. She also advised that sometimes you have to do bad work to learn from it – just don’t show off your learning experiences. That’s a trick of a real pro.

I remember back in my photography days learning that a National Geographic photographer might shoot 1,000 images for every one that is used in the magazine. This makes it look like they only take fantastic images – they just don’t show you all the misses. It’s a good practice for any artist. I see too much work not ready for public viewing.

From what I saw, I liked this High Noon series and it seemed others there did too. I understand that City Art already has programs scheduled for every Saturday at High Noon through the fall. I don’t think they expected the reaction to their offerings to be so good right off the bat. But, the art community always needs to remember that education and involvement is the key to success and development. It can’t always be about begging for funding.

And, here’s where I ask the usual question. Why couldn’t programs like this get funding from public resources? Not that anyone’s asking – I’m just saying… What makes programs that are hosted by non-profits more worthy – when many times they are not and many times they are not free? The business part of the arts community understands our role in the arts and many of the non-profits look to us for help, but it makes no sense to me why it’s an absolute that for-profits can never share in public funding. Isn’t the point of public funding to help people do good things they would not be able to afford otherwise – for the benefit of the public. And what business couldn’t do better things without a little help? It’s funny that the government doesn’t seem to have any problem helping out big farm operations, oil companies, and other big corporations with public funding – why not in the arts?

I feel a headache coming on – so on to the SC State Museum where there is something better to talk about. Regular readers know I like my abstract art and the show at the State Museum was like Christmas in July, although it was still June. To me there is nothing better than wall to wall abstracts and this exhibit offered many treats from artists who are already some of my favorites and some by folks I had not seen much of before this visit.

Thanks to Paul Matheny, the curator of art at the State Museum, I can offer you great shots of the gallery space. I handled the individual works – as best I could between camera and iPhone, but the lighting is always better for viewing than for taking photos at the Museum.






For anyone who loves abstract works as I do this show is a must see. I mean it – you have until Aug. 26 to see this show and then you’ll probably never see such an assemblage again – in my lifetime. And, for those who say – I don’t get it – when they view abstracts – this is also an opportunity to give abstracts a chance to see if you’ll ever like abstracts. Because after viewing this show – if you still don’t see the beauty in these works – you probably never will and you can cross them off your bucket list. I didn’t get them at first – many a year ago. One day looking at works by Eva Carter and William Halsey – the lightblub in my head went off.






The exhibit seems to be organized by area of influence or around universities. You have the Charleston/College of Charleston group; Columbia/University of South Carolina group; Rock Hill/Winthrop University group; Upstate/Clemson University group and so on.

You have works by artists who were born as far back as 1897 with Faith Murry being the oldest and Hollis Brown Thornton the youngest born in 1976. In this exhibit – being in your 50′s and 60′s might still make you a young upstart.

A slightly fuzzy photo of a work by Eva Carter

A work by William “Bill” Buggel

A work by Brian Rutenberg

It’s hard enough being an abstract artist today, but I can only imagine how hard it was for some of these folks who were working in the 50′s and 60′s in South Carolina. No problem if you were in New York City, but in SC – folks like to be able to tell what they are looking at – an old house, marsh scene, mountain stream or people. Many of these artists had to make their living by teaching art and trying to convert a few students – over to the dark side when they could. And, the exhibit probably has a number of teacher/student groupings – if not even a third generation of influence. Others had to show and sell their works – out of state.

A work by Gene Speer

A work by Marge Moody

A work by Tom Flowers

Sculpture was represented with some excellent works, but the majority of the works are paintings – large paintings. Not many would fit in my car for a ride home – not that I’m saying I’d try something like that, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a lot of these works on my walls – if I had walls big enough to hold any of these works.

A work by John Acorn who will have an exhibit at 701 Center for Contemporary Art in July

A close in detail of that same work by John Acorn

After seeing all this great work, I still felt like I wanted more. This was a pretty big exhibition in one of our state’s largest galleries, but I would have liked to see more works by some of these artists and more works by others not included. In fact I told several folks at the State Museum that I can hardly wait for the follow-up exhibit, Abstract Works in South Carolina: Today, which I don’t think is being planned any time soon – too bad.

The Museum produced a very nice catalogue for this exhibition and SCETV produced an informative video which plays just outside the entrance to the exhibit. Don’t leave without viewing it. I suggest the State Museum place a few chairs out there for us older folks.

Thank you Paul Matheny for organizing this exhibition.

Like I said before – no trip to Columbia is complete without a visit to One Eared Cow Glass and I used my iPhone to show some new works from the cowboys – Tom Lockart and Mark Woodham. They’re working on a special display for this year’s SC State Fair – which is going to be BIG. We’ll have details about that later.

A group of works at One Eared Cow Glass

All these images are from the iPhone

My favorite photo from the day’s trip – love that iPhone

Not sure what these are – might be for the State Fair exhibit

I didn’t stay there long – probably because they were not working their magic – turning melted sand into art, but while there, Lockart said I was brave to come to Columbia on one of the first hot days of summer. I mean for the city that calls itself Famously Hot! I didn’t think it was that hot. I don’t think I spent more than ten minutes going from my car to a well cooled space, but when I left it was 98 degrees and by the time I got back to Bonneau – two hours later, but still the hot part of the day – it was only 91 degrees – so I guess they are hot there, but not too hot to view art or learn something about the arts.

So you folks in the Upstate with $2.69 gas – you have no excuse not to travel to Columbia and you won’t melt and by the time you get back to the Upstate – it will feel so much nicer. For the folks on the coast – stop in Columbia on your way to the mountains – you’re driving right by anyway. Beside there’s cheap gas in the Upstate – go get yourself some.

Want to Get Away from it All and Ham it up at the Same Time – the Carolina Renaissance Festival is Looking for You

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

This will be one of my goals – when I retire. Here’s a photo of one of my costumes for this festival.


Here’s their press release:


Renaissance Festival Auditions Underway – Your Chance To Act and Play!

The Carolina Renaissance Festival, a combination of outdoor theater, circus, arts and crafts fair, jousting tournament and feast, will hold open auditions on Wednesday, June 27th from 6:30 to 9pm and Saturday, June 30th from 9am – noon at Ballantyne Arts Center located at the 11318 North Community House Road, Charlotte, NC, (on the second floor).

In addition to the open auditions, the Renaissance Festival is also seeking to fill the following specific roles:

·       Adult male actors to fill the role of The Royal Guard.
·       Interactive Living Statues.
·       Variety performers (jugglers, circus skills, etc.).
·       Outgoing personalities to portray renaissance era villagers.

Professional and amateur opportunities are available. Prepared material, head shots, and resumes are appreciated but not required. Auditionees should be age 16 or older.  Contact 704/896-5555 or e-mail ( to schedule an audition appointment. Additional information can be found at (

The 19th annual Renaissance Festival will be underway for seven weekends, Saturdays and Sundays, October 6 through November 18, 2012, on a 245 acre site minutes north of Charlotte, between Concord and Huntersville, at the junction of NC 73 and Poplar Tent Road

We Also Have Pictures of Tidewater Gallery in Swansboro, NC

Monday, June 18th, 2012

It just so happens we have some photos of Tidewater Gallery in Swansboro, NC. A lot of folks will be heading to that part of North Carolina this Summer to see the Atlantic Ocean. Here’s what you’d see if you visited this gallery.







Tidewater Gallery is located at 107 N. Front Street in Swansboro, NC.

Hours through Aug. 31, 2012 are, Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-5pm.

For further info call the gallery at 910/325-0660 or visit (

Elder Gallery in Charlotte, NC, Moved into New Diggs – We Have Pictures

Monday, June 18th, 2012


Earlier this Spring, Elder Gallery moved to 1520 South Tryon Street, in Charlotte, NC’s SouthEnd. The new building has approximately 6500 square feet of space.

We don’t have anything else to say, so we’ll let the pictures do the talking.








The gallery is open Tue.-Fri., 10am-6pm; Sat., 10am-2pm; or by appt.

For further info call 704/370-6337 or visit (

An Art Show in My Own Back Yard – Berkeley Artist’s Guild’s Annual Juried Exhibition at the Berkeley County Library in Moncks Corner, SC

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

I was doing another post office/bank run into Moncks Corner, SC, and I also had to return some materials to the Berkeley County Library, which is now my main library since I’m not delivering papers anymore. It’s not the Charleston County Library, but it’s pretty good.

On the way out, I noticed that there was an exhibit up in the entrance way of the library. On close inspection I found that it was the Berkeley Artist’s Guild’s Annual Juried Exhibition, which started on June 1 and will be up until June 24, 2012, when a meet and greet the artists reception will be held from 4-5:30pm. The public is invited.

The Berkeley County Library is located at 1003 Hwy. 52, just as you enter Moncks Corner, in the Berkeley County Administration Complex. Hours are Mon.-Thur., 9am-7pm and Fri. and Sat., 9am-7pm. For further info call the library at 843/719-4223.

After scanning the works in the show for a few minutes I left the library to get in my car and head home. I didn’t come to town to review any art exhibits, but I decided to go back in and write some notes on some mail I picked up earlier and try to take a few pics with my phone (not my best camera). It’s not often that visual art events take place in my back yard and the last time I saw one of this group’s show was in 2009.

Why not give them a better look and a little exposure.

I don’t know how many members the Berkeley Artist’s Guild has, but it can’t be many. I can understand why any group wants to show off their work, but in cases like this – of which there are many in the Carolinas – I wonder why such a small group wants to have their show judged? I can only imagine that it might lead to a little friction throughout the year is such a small group, but in this case almost every one walks away with a ribbon and a few artists – an arm load of ribbons.

There were only eleven different artists participating in this exhibit – only one artist on display did not win an award (ribbon), and I can only imagine how they feel, unless they are a beginner and feel lucky to be in any show. But when it comes to juried shows – artists need to develope a thick skin. Sometimes you win – sometimes you don’t even make the cut.

In the past, I have tried to convince people who host these small shows that they should tell the judge they don’t have to award all the ribbons or award slots planned for. But, it seems if they buy 12 ribbons – they want the judge to award 12 ribbons – which is hard if there are only 11 entries. But, that seems to be the pattern I’ve seen thoughout my 25 years of covering such shows. To me, it kind of devalues a 3rd Place award out of 3 entries. It doesn’t mean it’s not deserving, but it makes me wonder.

Also of note, there was a sign up listing the names of 8 members who had died. I don’t know if that was since the last exhibit, but that could be almost half of the group’s membership.

There were six categories: mixed media, drawing, pastel, watercolor, oil, and acrylic. One category had just two entries by two different artists. The judge, which I later learned was James Christopher Hill from Charleston, SC, then had to determine who got 1st place and the rest is history. The hardest task he had was the oil category which had 11 entries by 8 different artists.

This was the “oil” category

Now the fact that this was such a small group of artists competing for awards, it didn’t mean there wasn’t quality works on display. With a few exceptions, these works could have been in just about any juried or judged exhibit I’ve seen this year. They may not have been so lucky with awards, but they could have been winners. You never know.

For anyone looking for a bargain, the prices of some of these works were very low compared to what you would find just 50 miles down Hwy. 52 in Charleston.

As usual, I try to pick a personal favorite, and although there were no true abstract works on display I liked the works by Trish Emery – which had a loose feel to them. Not quite abstract, but not far off. It seems Moncks Corner’s Mayor, Bill Peagler liked her work too as he selected one of her works for the award in his name.

Back seat driver remark: I wondered if the judge wasn’t looking too much at the frame when he selected his Best of Show award. But, then when you have to pick a best out of 30 works – it can’t be easy.

Here’s the results (category, number of different artists entered and number of entries).

Mixed Media – 2 artist, 4 entries
1st Place – Trish Emery
2nd Place – Trish Emery
3rd Place – Ruth Griebe
HM – Ruth Griebe

Drawing – 2 artists, 2 entries
1st Place & Mayor’s Award – Trish Emery
2nd Place – Elliott West

Pastel – 3 artists, 3 entries
1st Place – Trish Emery
2nd Place – Elliott West
3rd Place – Marcia Litschewski

Watercolor – 4 artists, 5 entries
1st Place – Louise James
2nd Place – Marcia Litschewski
3rd Place – Elliott West
HM – Ruth Griebe
HM – Louise James

This was 1st Place in oil by Ginger Martin

Oil – 8 artists, 11 entries
Best of Show – Ginger Martin
1st Place – Ginger Martin
2nd Place – Jan Roach
3rd Place – Gayle Jourdain
HM – Elliott West
HM – Ruth Griebe
HM – Jan Roach

This was 1st Place in acrylic by Elliott West

Acrylic – 4 artists, 5 entries
1st Place – Elliott West
2nd Place – Horace Nobles
3rd Place – Stephanie Reed
HM – Ruth Griebe

I didn’t find any contact info for this group at the exhibit or in a Google search.

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in South Carolina Expands Again

Thursday, June 14th, 2012


Cynthia Leggett of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in South Carolina brings us news about the latest expansion of the Quilt Trail.


Heirlooms & Comforts has updated the face of their home on 104 Madden Bridge Rd. in Central, SC. The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail has crafted a replica of one section of a Double Wedding Ring Quilt made by Sara Newton, about 25 years ago. Sara Newton’s mother, or Mema as she was called, loved the great art of quilting and never had idle hands. She loved putting the quilt puzzles together and passing them along to a friend who then quilted them by hand.

As her daughter Sara told us, “She loved to give those quilts to me, my brother Bob and our children as well as to special friends on special occasions. One Christmas not long after my father’s death Mom went to her quilt closet and pulled out nine quilts to give as gifts to each separate household of her family because she could not “afford” shopping for each household that year. One day she and I counted the number of Double Wedding Ring quilts that she had made and given to family and friends – we could remember 30. Each of her grandchildren received one as a wedding gift. The one that we replicated on the front of H&C is a “rare” one because she also hand quilted it herself. It therefore has special significance for us. Additionally, it is the quilt we used as a funeral pall to honor her art and skill when she died in 2006.”

The Double Wedding Ring is one of the most beloved patterns of the early 20th Century. It appears to have developed as a simplified version of Pickle Dish, a late 19th Century pattern. Because of its name, this pattern is often selected for quilts associated with marriage. The curved seams make this a pattern for experienced quilters.

“This gives us a chance to honor our heritage of quilt making by displaying a replica of a section of her quilt. We are indeed a family blessed for having had the loving, caring, teaching, uplifting guidance of one who understood the value of keeping hands and mind occupied in a worthwhile activity, never letting idle mind and idle hands put you in a mire of doldrums.”


The Central Roller Mill in Central, SC, has also joined the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. A pattern called a Double Nine Patch has been mounted on the old mill because it is reminiscent of the Purina sign that was used on the mill for many years. Sara Newton, mother-in-law of Bobby Ballentine, and the original quilter, liked to make this pattern.

William Danforth founded the Ralston Purina Company.  According to the Nestlé Purina website, (, “William Danforth worked in his father’s store in Charleston, MO. Every Saturday he watched the Brown brood come to town, all clad in red and white checks. It was convenient for Mrs. Brown to make the entire family’s clothes from the same bolt of checkerboard cloth, and when it came time to go home…well, you couldn’t miss a Brown kid.”

“In 1902, Danforth was looking for a distinctive dress for his products, and remembered Mrs. Brown. His reasoning was sound, for the red and white checkerboard identified his products just as boldly as it had the Brown family. The Checkerboard trademark has since been used with a consistency unique in American business. Even Company headquarters in St. Louis is known as Checkerboard Square.”

The mill property was purchased in 1899 for $43, and the original structure was built around 1903. The mill manufactured the famous Issaqueena Flour, Meal and a full line of Poultry, Dairy and Hog Feeds. The Indian princess logo printed on the feed sack ensured quality.

In its heyday the mill produced 100 barrels of flour, 5000 lbs of corn meal, and 15 tons of mixed feed per day and had a storage capacity of 80,000 bushels of grain. The corn mill and feed mill remained in operation until the late 70′s or early 80′s but the flourmill ceased operation when local schools stopped making their own bread, causing the mill to lose such a significant amount of business they were forced to close.

A food salvage business, then an antique store operated until around 2004. No occupants have used the building since 2006. The Issaqueena Mills, LLC from Pendleton Oil Company, purchased the mill in 2008. Plans today include restoring the one story structure for use as a conference and meeting center; to restore some of the corn meal equipment in order to produce a limited amount of stone ground grits and corn meal; and to create a first class destination venue that will preserve the historic designation of the building, attract area residents and tourists to visit, shop and enjoy.


Stacie and James Powell of Walhalla, SC, are sponsors of this latest addition to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail, and the pattern is called James River Blues, an antique reproduction quilt designed by Paula Barnes, well known specialist and author of books on quilt reproductions. This quilt pattern has a history with the Powell family.

Stacie and James have a daughter named Marlowe James Powell. She was named after Stacie’s favorite poet, Christopher Marlowe, after her father and his mother’s family.  Stacie felt the pattern name, James River Blues, was rather serendipitous. The James family was originally from Ireland and settled in the Mountain Rest, SC, area sometime in the 1800’s. The name of the quilt is also the name of a song by one of her husband’s favorite bluegrass bands, The Old Crow Medicine Show. He plays the guitar, banjo and mandolin and his grandmother and her family are all bluegrass gospel singers and musicians. He’s also an avid kayaker, especially of the whitewaters in the area. It seemed to her that a quilt pattern with a name encompassing his hobbies would somehow be fitting.

They also have a passion for the historic, having restored six old homes in the Walhalla area over the past seven years. They are presently living in the old St. Luke Methodist parsonage that used to be located next to the church before it was vandalized and burned in 2010. The house was moved to the corner of Main and S. John Street and the James’s bought it and moved in. Though they have loved every house they ever lived in, this old parsonage feels perfect and is a great place to raise their family. They are both natives of Oconee County and have families with deep roots here. Their grandmother’s were quilters and many of their family members worked in the textile mills in the area. It is here at the parsonage that the quilt will be hung.

The original quilter of James River Blues is James’ grandmother, Grace James Whitaker. She began quilting in 1952 in Mountain Rest when her mother-in-law, Clemer James, taught her how to quilt and included her in projects creating quilts of necessity for their home. Clemer and Grace quilted for many years and Grace’s husband, Cliff, constructed a quilting rack that hung in their living room for many years. Grace became a master quilter creating extraordinary quilts for her children, friends and neighbors. Her most memorable quilt is called the Double Wedding Ring, which was completed in the early 1990’s with her daughter, Joyce Powell. Grace passed down the art of quilting to her daughter who has made many quilts as gifts for her children. James River Blues was chosen to honor the James family and to express their love for the River.


The Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, located at the intersection of Highway 123 and Route 11, between Westminister and Seneca, SC, has joined the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. Three quilts from the family of Carolyn and John Harris of Fair Play, SC, have been mounted on the knoll in front of BREC facing onto 123. The three patterns include a Caesar’s Crown, a Flower Pot or Flower Basket; and a Cactus Blossom.


According to Brackman, an important guide to quilt patterns, the Caesar’s Crown has been a popular pieced pattern in South Carolina since the 1840’s. This one was found in a closet in the home of John Harris’s grandmother, Eula (and Mark) Harris, and looks to be mid-19th century from the way the reds and greens have faded.

The Flower Pot or Flower Basket was one of the simplest versions of the basket pattern. This particular quilt was Carolyn Harris’s first quilt project and she obviously carefully cut and arranged the printed fabric so the “flower” diamonds create a secondary design.

The original quilter of the Cactus Blossom is unknown, but it is an early twentieth century, rounded-off interpretation of the more angular pieced tulip pattern. Carolyn has many fond childhood memories of weekends at her grandparents’ home, the Old Newton home place, where she slept on the upstairs sleeping porch. This particular quilt was used to cover the well pump on that same porch in the winter to keep it from freezing. Today, her sister Jane and husband Don Acevedo live on this century farm.

Carolyn is a native of Anderson, SC, and John is a native of Oconee County. He is the seventh generation grandson of Andrew Pickens. They are both graduates of Clemson University and Carolyn’s great grandfather was W.D. Garrison of Denver Downs. The Harris Farm is known for its cattle, both Angus and a few others from only the finest families. They also have a fine swine operation and John is President of the South Carolina Pork Board. Carolyn was with the Cooperative Extension Service at Clemson.  So the Harris’s have deep roots in the Upstate of South Carolina.

From its very beginning in 1940, Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative viewed itself as a community builder. By taking electric service into geographic areas where it had never been available before, the cooperative helped open the door to any number of positive developments. Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative provides service and community support in Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties.

For further information about the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail visit (

Possibility of a New Advertising Opportunity for Individual Artists at Carolina Arts

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

The key word here is “possibility” – this is not a new offer.

I have gotten a request from an individual artist who asked if I could offer a page for ads by individual artists in the Carolinas in Carolina Arts. I said we already have such a program – it’s our regular ads and individual artists have been using them for years. But, what they wanted was something different and something cheaper than what we now offer. I think we’re pretty cheap already. Plus, I’m not keen on undercutting our regular advertisers. But, this person insisted individual artists need a break on advertising, and, also thinks it would be good to have their ads grouped together.

After some discussion back and forth I got the feeling that this person didn’t think I was being very flexible. I explained that what they were asking for would be a big pain in the rear for us to manage and maintain, but not wanting to be inflexible I came up with an offer and this person claims that artists will “jump” on this offer. My 25 years of experience tells me differently, but I have been proven wrong before. I don’t usually admit it – ask Linda, but it has happened.

After thinking about the request and the work it would mean on our part I came up with an offer that we could maybe live with. I took a look at a page and made three columns. Leaving some space to give the page a name, the page gives 12 spaces – three rows by four spaces which are about 3 1/4″ wide by 3 3/4″ tall (not set in stone yet). We would offer this special opportunity to artists (individual artists only) and charge $20 a month. We would require them to pay six months ahead – to keep them from pulling out after two months. And, we will only run this page while all 12 slots are full. After one page is full – we’ll only add another page after 12 more artists are signed up and paid. We’ll have a standby list for people waiting for any individual who wants to stop after six months to replace them.

If artists are supplying their ads “copy ready” (to our specs) they can change their ad each month as long as they submit the change before our monthly deadline. If we are putting the ad together for the artists, we will only make slight changes – every other month – if needed, and only if requests for changes are made well before each deadline. The best thing is for the ads to stay the same over the six month period.

In my opinion this could be like trying to herd cats. So, at any point when managing this becomes a major hassle – we would stop the program – if it even starts.

If you look at our regular ad sizes and prices on our website, for $15 more you could have a 1/4 page ad $5. more for an 1/8 page ad. But, I’m just trying to be flexible.

If you want to “jump” on this opportunity to be one of The Twelve – possibly a name for the page, but then I guess we would have to call the second page – The Next Twelve – contact us by e-mail at ( or call 843/825-3408.

This is a limited time offer, which means if we don’t hear from 12 people in a reasonable amount of time, this offer will no longer be available.

Tracking the Numbers for the May 2012 issue of Carolina Arts

Thursday, June 7th, 2012


This report will be short and sweet. We did set a new record for downloads in May, which was a surprise, with 121,745 downloads of the May 2012 issue of Carolina Arts. That’s almost a 10,000 jump from April 2012. It’s a little hard to get my head around this growth, thinking that it will fade, but as of six days in June we have 104,020 downloads of the June 2012 issue – so who knows what will happen by the end of the month. Many thanks to those folks who help us spread the paper around by sending the link to download the paper out to their e-mail lists.

The link for the June 2012 issue is: (

In other news about May downloads, our cult issue – March 2011 took in 11,801 downloads. Not bad for an issue that is well over a year old. April 2012 had a strong showing with 5,206 downloads. The last issue before the current issue always takes a dive, but not last month, showing April was a strong issue – but, nothing like the March 2011 issue.

In looking at the rest of the top 100 downloads we see that March 2012 took in 716 downloads, August 2011 took in 662, and February 2011 took in 654. There was a lot of interest in looking back at last year in May. I wonder what that was all about.

That’s the numbers for those keeping track.

Some Things You Never Plan On – Another Trip to Seagrove, NC

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

One of the many plans we had for the big Memorial Day weekend was to make a trip to Seagrove, NC, to attend the Cousins in Clay event at Bulldog Pottery and a spring kiln opening at Whynot Pottery – both taking place on Saturday, May 26, 2012.

For a couple of weeks before that Saturday, I was sharing posts made by Bulldog Pottery and Whynot Pottery on Facebook so that others would know about these two events taking place in Seagrove. I kept injecting into the conversation a question as to whether their would be cookies at Whynot Pottery’s kiln opening – as a joke. Cookies are a big part of an event Whynot has earlier in the Spring, but they were not advertised as a part of this kiln opening.

I like to banter back and forth with the folks in Seagrove about different subjects just to make our Facebook and blog postings a little more interesting. Sometimes it’s about cookies – sometimes it’s about Michigan vs. Virginia Tech football.

Linda and I went to the Cousins in Clay event first as it is the first location we come to once we arrive in the area, but I want to talk about what happened at Whynot first.

When we arrived at Whynot Pottery, Meredith and Mark Heywood came out to greet us as we got out of our car and Meredith invited us inside for a slice of cake, I thought I heard her say pineapple upside-down cake, I said sure, but insisted that we came to see fresh pottery – right out of the kiln. Within 2 seconds of entering their showroom/gallery I found a plate of cookies and had one in my mouth.


You see the joke there was – way back – sometime after we first met in person, pineapple upside-down cake made its way into a conversation and I told Meredith that was my mother’s specialty and one of my favorite foods – which I haven’t had in years. She told me if I gave her a heads up before I was coming to Seagrove she would make me one. Well, it was several years later now and I had never made the request. It always seemed like I was going there at the last minute and to an occasion where they would be too busy to be making cake for me. So when I heard it mentioned – I just took it as more banter about my begging for cookies.


After that first cookie I started taking some pictures, but soon realized she wasn’t kidding around. She had a fresh pineapple upside-down cake waiting.

You ever have an experience where lightening flashes in your brain and when the clap of thunder comes you forget everything before that time? I really planned to get some pictures of Whynot pottery and the surroundings for future blog postings, but when I got home and downloaded my camera – I had three images from Whynot – and they were not what they should have been. That was a darn shame, but the important thing to me was I got some pineapple upside-down cake and a flood of memories of my mother that afternoon.


Looking back, this was a real bummer. I totally blew my mission and let them down – as far as having more images to use, but I assured Meredith that I would pay them back ten fold in any way I could. These are the same folks who sent me fruitcake during the last Christmas holiday when I was jonesin’ for fruitcake. And, it was super-fruitcake – much better than I ever had (Southern Supreme from Bear Creek, NC – ( They didn’t do it because they knew they would get anything out of it – they’re just good folks.

And, when you buy art, you want to buy quality art, but don’t you also want to buy art from good people? That’s one of the reasons I keep going back to Seagrove. It’s not only about the great pottery being produced there it’s about the great people we’ve met there too. Seagrove doesn’t have a lock on that in the Carolinas, we know great people all over the Carolinas, but it is a special place.

The pineapple upside-down cake was really good too. A little different than the way my mother made it, but then what isn’t. Most of the time your mother’s food is the best or at least that’s the way you remember it. This was southern style and of course my family is from the mid-west.

I hate that most of this posting about Whynot is about cookies and cake, but I didn’t plan on either of these items getting in the way of our plans. But, as you’ll read a little further on down – food can be a distraction for me.

So while other people were coming and going at Whynot Pottery and buying pottery – we were off eating cake. I’d be ashamed, but it was so long since I had some and so good. Man can not live on art alone.

Believe me, they have some great pottery at Whynot, check their website and blog – then go there and buy some. I make no promise of cookies or cake, but you will meet some good folks.

You can check out the Whynot Pottery’s blog at ( or visit (

I’ll refer you back to a blog posting I made before going to Seagrove to show I’m not always distracted. Click this link ( to see what our plans were.

So, at the Cousins in Clay event at Bulldog Pottery it was a different set up this year in case of possible bad weather, but it was a beautiful day in Seagrove. The event was taking place in the breezeway between their industrial looking home and studio. I don’t have a picture, but you have to see it to know what I’m talking about.

On hand were pottery displays by Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke, of Bulldog Pottery, joined by their mountain “clay cousin” Michael Kline of Bakersville, NC, and two special guest potters, Ron Meyers, an icon of American ceramics from Athens, GA, and Judith Duff, a full-time studio potter from Brevard, NC. We have pictures!


Several other area and regional potters were on hand and from pictures I saw later on Facebook and blogs – many Seagrove potters came to see the pottery and talk with the potters. Potters are great fans of other potters.

Works from Bulldog Pottery

A close up of some of the crystalline glaze on one of Bulldog’s pieces. (I hope I have that right) Anyway it’s pretty amazing.

Linda and I spent a lot of time “looking” at pottery before we got into any conversations. Like many of our visits to Seagrove of late, or anywhere else, we spent thousands of dollars with our eyes wishing we could have known we would win the lottery that evening so we would be taking lots of pottery home with us, but even though we had lottery tickets for that Saturday’s drawing – we were stuck in “looking” mode. And, as it turned out – neither of our tickets had one number selected that evening – which is usually the case when we buy a chance at wealth.

Works by Michael Kline

Works by Ron Meyers

Works by Judith Duff

To ease my pain I turned to conversation, something that springs freely from me and is always rewarding – when I let others speak. I also concentrated on taking photos. And over time, I’ve learned that there is some pleasure in looking at great works of art and there was plenty to see on this day.

At one point I was in deep conversation about the NC Pottery Center ( in Seagrove with Michael Kline and Ed Henneke, both on the Board of the Pottery Center when Linda appeared in the corner of my eye with a plate of amazing looking food.

It turned out that Chronis Pou Vasiliou’s wife, Mary Jane (Bruce Gholson’s sister) from Greensboro, NC, was providing a feast for the guests. Vasiliou was providing Greek music for the event. I guess it helps to have talented relatives close by, but then a lot of folks in Seagrove seem to also be gifted musicians and gifted with food too.

Chronis Pou Vasiliou

So are you getting a picture of our day? A nice drive to Seagrove (3 1/2 to 4 hours), great weather (not hot), great pottery, great conversation, great folks, and to top it off, great food and pineapple upside-down cake! After all, it was our anniversary and my birthday weekend.

By the way, we got gas for $3.15 a gallon in Cheraw, SC, within 20 miles of the NC border. Sorry NC, we need all the help we can get. It’s probably even lower now.

Some folks back in the Charleston, SC, area asked me earlier in the week and some later that weekend – “so let me get this straight, the Spoleto Festival begins on Friday in Charleston and you’re planning a day trip to Seagrove, NC?”. I said, “Yes and had a great time – always do. You should go there sometime and check it out”. And, many of them think it must be something special as it keeps drawing my attention from what they keep reading on this blog.

I told Meredith Heywood back at Whynot Pottery that sometime I might have to check into renting a bus from Charleston and making a magical mystery tour to Seagrove to get some people to come there.

And I’m telling you – you should go there. Seagrove is open for visitors and business – most of the time, but make plans. Your plans may turn out differently, but sometimes you’ll get rewards you didn’t plan on getting.

The next Cousins in Clay event takes place on Aug. 25 & 26, 2012. Michael Kline hosts potters Mark Shapiro, Sam Taylor, Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke, at Michael Kline’s Pottery ( in Bakersville, NC. For further info visit (

You can keep up with Bulldog Pottery at their blog, Around and About with Bulldog Pottery at (

And, what about Mad Max the Wonder Dog? At some point I saw a flash of something dark and red out of the corner of my eye up on the skywalk between the two buildings at Bulldog Pottery, but no close encounters this time.

To learn more about Seagrove’s pottery community visit the Seagrove Area Potters Association’s website at (

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

Friday, June 1st, 2012

The June 2012 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at ( – all 67 pages of it. We had an amazing month during May with over 121,734 downloads. That’s more than 9,000 more from April. It proves that size matters for the moment – our largest issue brings in the largest amount of downloads, but we’ll see if that’s true next month.


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 would like to get direct notice that our latest issue is ready to be downloaded you can send us an e-mail to ( to be placed on our mailing list.

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