Posts Tagged ‘Michael Kline’

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.

612whynot1

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.

612whynot2

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.

612whynot3

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 – (www.southernsupreme.com). 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 (http://whynotpotteryblog.blogspot.com/) or visit (www.whynotpottery.com).

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 (http://carolinaarts.com/wordpress/2012/05/20/making-plans-for-a-big-weekend-next-weekend-may-25-27-2012/) 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!

612cousins-scene1

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.

612cousins-bulldog2
Works from Bulldog Pottery

612cousins-glaze6
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.

612michael-kline3
Works by Michael Kline

612ron-meyer4
Works by Ron Meyers

612judith-duff5
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 (www.ncpotterycenter.org) 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.

612cousins7
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 (http://www.klinepottery.com/) in Bakersville, NC. For further info visit (www.cousinsinclay.com).

You can keep up with Bulldog Pottery at their blog, Around and About with Bulldog Pottery at (www.bulldogpottery.blogspot.com).

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 (http://www.discoverseagrove.com/).

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

Friday, November 11th, 2011

ncpclogo-313x450

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!

1111ncpc-michael-kline

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

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

1111ncpc-mark-hewitt

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.

1011celebrationseagrovepotters2011-logo

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

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

Bulldog Pottery in Seagrove, NC, Offers 3rd Cousins in Clay Event – May 28 & 29, 2011

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

411bulldog-peter-lenzo
Work by Peter Lenzo

We ran this article in our May 2011 issue of Carolina Arts, but we’ve learned that everyone doesn’t bother with publications these days. Many people’s attention span is just too short for publications. They like blog entries, Facebook status updates or even tweets.

But, I wanted to make sure people interested in pottery would see this – one way or another. I’m hoping I can make another trip to Seagrove (hold the tornadoes this time – please), but it’s a rough time of the month for us to be gone – unless we’ve finished our June issue early. We’ll have our fingers crossed.

Last year I missed meeting up with Peter Lenzo, who was on his way to the 2nd Clay Cousins, as a visitor, and I had to get back home by that time of the day. We probably passed each other on Hwy. 220. I really admire Lenzo and his work. We have a couple of his crazy head pieces – which are pretty strange. But, I like strange – as do a lot of other folks. And, of course there’s always Max – the bulldog who just keeps on ticking.

I also enjoy talking with Michael Kline, and it’s always a plus when you get all these good and talented folks together. I might even be able to go over to Whynot Pottery and get some cake and see the new exhibit at the NC Pottery Center.

A lot of our friends are beginning to figure out that there must be something going on in Seagrove to keep drawing us back. When they ask – I just smile and say – it’s OK. But they know me and they figure I’m holding something back.

Hey, haven’t I been telling folks to go to Seagrove for years now. Duh!

Here’s that article:

411bulldog-jack-troy
Work by Jack Troy

Come meet the “Clay Cousins” who are devoted to making pottery as a way of life. On May 28, from 9am-4pm and May 29, from 10am-4pm, Seagrove, NC, potters Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke of Bulldog Pottery hold their 3rd annual “Cousins in Clay” event. Once again they will bring a line up of renowned potters to their rural pottery community of Seagrove in central North Carolina. Three nationally known studio art potters, Jack Troy, Michael Kline, and Peter Lenzo will bring their ceramic art to Bulldog Pottery for the special two day event. This will be a wonderful opportunity to meet with the artists and add to your pottery collection or begin one. Bulldog Pottery is located five miles south of Seagrove’s single stop light on Alternate Highway 220.

Creative energy is clearly unlimited for Pennsylvanian potter Jack Troy, who weaves his productive life around his passion for ceramics. He began teaching young artists in 1967 at Juniata College, has taught over 185 workshops, written 2 books about clay, a book of original poems titled Calling the Planet Home, published over 60 articles and book reviews, all while producing a constant stream of pottery at his Pennsylvania studio. Troy gives homage to our state of North Carolina in his Wood-fired Stoneware and Porcelain book (1995), by saying, “If North America has a pottery state it must be North Carolina”.

411bulldog-samantha-henneke
Work by Samantha Henneke

Like a writer creating his autobiography, South Carolinian artist Peter Lenzo sculpts head vessels that are symbolic representations of his personal story.  Intrigued by the 19th century southern pottery face jug tradition, Lenzo has created self-portrait face jugs that are clearly unique to his own personal interpretation of this long-standing southern folk art tradition.

411bulldog-michael-kline
Work by Michael Kline

Michael Kline, a studio potter from the mountains of North Carolina, creates inspired traditional forms that are graced with his elegant floral brushwork giving a botanical theme to his wood-fired pottery jugs and jar forms. Sometimes his pots are covered with a honey amber color glaze that is as appetizing as maple syrup. Kline will be presenting brushwork demonstrations on both Saturday (2pm) and Sunday (1:30pm) during the event.

Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke have created a collaborative environment at their Bulldog Pottery studio that provides them the support to express their independent voices, more than they would be able to achieve individually. Their art pottery has become known for an eclectic mix of form, imagery, texture, pattern, and graceful design all integrated by their rich and distinctive glazes.

411bulldog-bruce-gholson
Work by Bruce Gholson

Both Bulldog Pottery and Michael Kline share their personal journeys of the day-to-day life of being full time studio potters through their clay blogs. Join them to find out what is happening next in their studio at Micheal Kline’s “Sawdust and Dirt” blog (www.michaelklinepottery.blogspot.com) and Bruce and Samantha’s blog, “Around and About with Bulldog Pottery” (www.bulldogpottery.blogspot.com).

Come out for the day or spend the weekend in the “Seagrove pottery community”, where three North Carolina rural Piedmont counties come together: Randolph (known for the NC Zoo), Moore (known for Pinehurst Golf), and Montgomery (known for the beautiful Uwharrie Mountains). Bulldog Pottery’s “Cousins in Clay” brings together a rich diversity of contemporary ceramics for this two day event. “Cousins in Clay” is a kinship based on shared appreciation for the pursuit of excellence within the diverse language of clay. Visit their website (www.cousinsinclay.com) for more details and information on accommodations in the area or call 336/302-3469.

Where did the “Cousins in Clay” name come from?

The event’s name, ‘Cousins in Clay”, is attributed to fellow potter Michael Kline who referred euphemistically on his blog Sawdust and Dirt to a “visit to his clay cousins in Seagrove”, Bruce and Samantha decided to invite Michael to participate in their first Bulldog Pottery Studio Art sale, and titled it “Cousins in Clay”.  This is now an annual event.

For further information call Bulldog at 910/428-9728 or visit (www.bulldogpottery.com).

2nd Annual Cousins In Clay Takes Place June 5 & 6, 2010 in Seagrove, NC

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Now is the time to make plans for next weekend. The 2nd Annual, expanded, “Cousins In Clay” event will take place on June 5 & 6, 2010, at two locations – Bulldog Pottery and Johnston and Gentithes Art Pottery in Seagrove, NC. Here’s a link to the official website.

This event features works by Bruce Gholson & Samantha Henneke (Bulldog Pottery), Fred Johnston & Carol Gentithes (Johnston and Gentithes Art Pottery) and special guest Michael Kline, Val Cushing and Allison McGowan. The “cousins” is a kinship based on shared appreciation for the pursuit of excellence within the diverse language of clay. Many also share a connection with Alfred University in New York.

510bdVal2-297x450
Work by Val Cushing

510bdAllison-450x417
Work by Allison McGowan

510bdMichael-450x346
Work by Michael Kline

I hope that my delivery schedule of the June 2010 issue of Carolina Artswill put me in Seagrove on Saturday so that I can become a second-timer, having attended the first “Cousins In Clay” event.

510bdCarol-450x337
Work by Carol Gentithes

510bdFred-345x450
Work by Fred Johnston

If you attend this event and find yourself at Bulldog Pottery – keep an eye out for Ed and Gloria Henneke and dog Max – all team members at Bulldog Pottery.

510bdSamantha2-313x450
Work by Samantha Henneke

510bdbruce-450x397
Work by Bruce Gholson

And, once you’re in Seagrove don’t forget to visit the NC Pottery Centerand some of the other potteries located there. You can check this link for the Seagrove Area Potters Association to learn more about the other potteries. But first go to the Cousins event for best selection.

Here’s some links to other articles or postings related to this event: Article posted at Carolina Arts Online about 2nd Annual Cousins In Clay event, a posting about Michael Kline Spring Kiln Opening, and a posting about the current exhibit at the NC Pottery Center, The Pottery of Buncombe County, A Historical and Contemporary Overview, on view through July 31, 2010.

I think that about covers it. Maybe I’ll see you there. At least a copy of Carolina Arts will be there.

A Visit to the 2009 Celebration of Seagrove Potters Festival in Seagrove, NC – Part I

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

I’m going to let you know right off the bat – this could be a three-parter with all the info I have to offer about this event. It involves much more than the Celebration event in itself. So bear with me while I take you on my journey. I hope some of you will enjoy my tale of our shared experience and the rest of you will kick yourself for not taking my advice to attend this festival. Good thing for you – it will take place again next year – bigger and better than the last two I’m sure.

909seagrovecelebrationlogo

I left Bonneau, SC, and headed north toward Seagrove about noon Friday, Nov. 20, 2009. That’s a short jaunt from Bonneau to Manning, SC, where I picked up I-95 and then at Florence, SC, I got off on Hwy. 52 which took me to Cheraw, SC, where I picked up Hwy. 1 to Rockingham, NC, and then Hwy. 220 (the future I-74) all the way up to Exit 45 to Seagrove. In a little more than 3 1/2 hours I was in the parking lot of the NC Pottery Center. I can’t wait until that new rest area is opened just before Exit 45 so I don’t have to stop at the one in Ellerbe. Sorry Ellerbe, I know you’re getting the short end of the stick with the new I-74, but you’re going to have to come up with something better than a rest area to attract people there.

I just made it in time to see the exhibit, Fire in the Valley: Catawba Valley Pottery Then and Now, which will be on view through Jan. 30, 2010. There will be a separate posting on that exhibit. This is also where I was going to meet up with my friend Will Ravenel, who was coming from Greensboro, NC, to go with me to the Gala Preview event. Linda, my better half, had to work that weekend. Will had agreed to come as my official photographer, since I can’t talk to people and remember to take photos. Plus, he’s a better photographer than I am. Carolina Arts and I are very grateful for his expertise with cameras, computers, websites, blogging and just about anything else technical – and, he asks some pretty good questions as well. He has joined me on several trips to Seagrove and I think he really enjoys it as much as I do.

Will arrived about an hour before the Gala Preview opened so we headed to the Westmoore Family Restaurant – a great place to get some good food at a pretty good price. But, I’m sure a lot of folks traveling to Seagrove have already found that out. Remember, Seagrove is a town of about 250 people, so you wouldn’t expect a lot of places to dine. Asheboro, NC, is just 12 miles away, so you can find everything you might need for a trip to Seagrove there. We knew there was going to be food at the Gala, but we couldn’t think of anything else to do in the meantime. Everyone in Seagrove was getting ready for one pottery festival or another.

Once we finished our dinner we headed back up Hwy. 705, the Pottery Highway, toward Seagrove to the historic Luck’s Cannery where the Celebration of Seagrove Potters was taking place. The closer we got to the turnoff the more cars joined in the line headed to the same place. The Police Officers directing traffic in and out of the Cannery did a great job of moving traffic and the parking attendants found us a place to park very quickly. Both groups did a great job all weekend long moving the horde of people in and out. I’ve waited longer to cross the street in downtown Charleston, SC.

Now it might seem like a lot of stuff – before we step foot through the door to the event I’m blogging about, but it’s all part of the experience – something I think everyone should know. It would be like blogging about an art walk in downtown Charleston, SC, and not mentioning the fact that it may have taken 20-30 minutes to drive around before you found a parking spot and that you were three blocks away from where you would like to be – and that’s someone who knows the city well. It’s all part of the experience. I hate it when people act like they just magically appeared at some event – no hassle at all. What’s not worth doing even it involves a few hassles?

OK, so we’re in the door – we have our tickets (no tickets are sold at the door so you have to buy them in advance – remember that) and right off there are copies of Carolina Arts on the check-in desk. My night was made already. We were one of the media sponsors of this event, but that doesn’t always mean you’re going to be treated in a manner you always hope for – I left the event filled with the glow that our sponsorship was not only appreciated but celebrated. That’s never a bad thing. And, in almost 100 percent of those situations, we are happy to renew our sponsorship – year after year.

So, to answer the questions on everyone’s minds who read my two previous entries about this festival: there was no sign of the Bobbsey Twins of the pottery world or any hired goons making my visit an unpleasant experience. But I did turn my head every time I heard the word Tom shouted a little louder than normal – as if someone was giving me a warning. And, no pottery was sacrificed in any scrambles of people trying to get away from me.

We filled out our ticket stubs for the raffle items and then moved on past the line for food (which looked great), but we had just finished dinner, but we found a dessert table – with lots of desserts. We visited that table several times that evening. We then checked out the items to be auctioned that evening – the collaborative pieces – most done by two different Seagrove potters – a few face jugs done by three different potters and a few done by husband and wife potter teams. Just looking at some of the works and seeing the names associated with them – I knew the bidding would be way over a lot of peoples’ heads – especially mine, plus I was out of the pottery purchasing game altogether this trip. My little joke of the night was that – I’d love to buy something, but I have a struggling arts newspaper instead. Ha Ha. That was the only miserable part of this trip. It was killing me.

We headed into the part of the building where the pottery booths were. Apparently that was a new feature this year. Last year the festival was held in one big space and this year there was a divided wall up separating the entry room where the auction would take place and the entertainment, food, drink, and information tables were set up. This new wall was important in that the band playing in one room didn’t add to the noise of the crowd around the pottery booths so you could talk and the people wanting to hear the music didn’t have to deal with crowd noise. Plus while the auction was taking place people could and were still shopping.

We made a quick tour around the big room divided into three pathways – stopping to talk (when we could – the place was packed) with potters from places we visited during the spring kiln openings earlier this year and fellow bloggers I now think of as friends – Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke of Bulldog Pottery (Samantha’s father – Ed Henneke was there too) and Meredith and Mark Heywood of Whynot Pottery. Some folks we never did get to talk to that night even after several passes – they were tied up with customers. To me sales always come first – whether I’m on the phone with someone or in their gallery or studio – if customers come in – everything is on hold until business is concluded. Business is business.

Blogger’s Note: My apologies to Meredith and Mark Heywood – I keep trying to make them Haywoods.

So, in-between trying to say hi to some folks we roamed around to wherever our eyes took us. At one point we were at David Stuempfle’s booth of Stuempfle Pottery admiring his very big pots and we met Nancy Gottovi who turned out to be the executive director of STARworks NC, located just off Hwy. 220 (the future I-74) in Star, NC. She answered some questions we had about Stuempfle’s work and wood-fired salt glazes and then we talked about STARworks and Central Park NC – but for now you’ll have to check the links and wait for a separate entry on that facility.

At Whynot Pottery’s booth we got an explanation of crystalline glazes and how that works. We were really fascinated by that glaze technique. And I asked about something I thought of on the ride up to Seagrove. I wondered what kind of objects children made in art class in a community like Seagrove – home to over 100 potteries. I had bet myself that the pottery sessions were better than the ones I had in school back in Michigan. Some of the children’s parents would be some of the area’s potters. These are kids who have been hanging around potteries most of their lives – of course they made more interesting objects out of clay than the rest of us and with programs organized by the NC Pottery Center and taught by area potters – why wouldn’t they be better? Of course many turned out like my creations did – we can’t all be gifted artists.

1109meatwhynot-450x300
Here I am (before Thanksgiving, if you can believe it,) talking with Meredith Heywood trying to remember what my first creations in clay looked like.

At the booth for Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery (Fred Johnston and Carol Gentithes) I picked up a flyer for the second Cousins In Clay event which will take place in Seagrove on June 5 & 6, 2010. This expanded version will include the Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery as well as Bulldog Pottery.Michael Kline will be returning to Bulldog Pottery with Val Cushing and Allison McGowen will be a guest at Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery. Put that on your calendars.

While we were looking around Will was beginning to think that Saturday – the first day of the Celebration of Seagrove Potters festival – he might have to do some early Christmas shopping. He was seeing lots of possibilities. Lucky stiff.

Just before 8pm we headed back into the first room to find a good spot to observe the auction. I thought – this is going to be interesting and I wasn’t let down.

As I said in one of my earlier entries about the festival – these items were one-of-a- kind works. You can’t get a piece where two different potters from different potteries worked on a special creation together – so there were some people there ready to spend some money to call those works theirs. And, some of the teams were made up of very high profile potters. The bottom line is that the Friday night auction took in $10,000 which would be used for programs in the Seagrove community and promotion of the event.

I can’t give you details of the entire auction – this would go on forever – just like some of the bidding did – back and forth between two competing bidders and just when you thought the bidding was over a third bidder would throw their hand up – starting the bidding back and forth again.

Here’s a few of the highlights. A vase by Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke (Bulldog Pottery) went for $600. A turtle created by Blaine Avery (Avery Pottery & Tileworks) and Carol Gentithes (Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery) went for $550. Two small vases created by Donna Craven (Donna Craven Pottery) and Samantha Henneke (Bulldog Pottery) demanded a high bid of $725. A very small melon vase by Ben Owen III (Ben Owen Pottery) and Will McCanless (McCanless Pottery) went for $400. But the big winner of the auction was a work by Ben Owen III (Ben Owen Pottery) and Fred Johnston (Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery) that took in $1650 before the bidding was over. All of these potters make pots that sell for more than these works took in, but it was really great of them to donate special works for this auction.

1109benwowen-450x3009
Here is Ben Owen III holding up a work at the auction he and Will McCanless created.

This event was very exciting to watch – some people got some real bargains and others paid perhaps beyond what I’m sure they wanted to, but they walked away with some items – all us spectators wished we were going home with. I know I was drooling over most of the works offered.

By the way, the idea of making collaborative works to auction off was the idea of Michael Mahan of From the Ground Up pottery. He wanted the Celebration to offer something special – something different from other pottery festivals. Perhaps this idea stemming from the positive energy he puts in his creations – soul pots, peace pots – with feelings of love and kindness. I’m not making fun – we all can use a lot more peace, love and kindness in today’s world.

I later learned on Saturday that the Gala Preview may have attracted a few hundred more people than the first year’s event and I’m sure more will be there next year as the word gets out. But for the record – final figures on attendance and money raised will come later – the figures offered here are just what I’ve heard so far, nothing concrete. I’m watching out for the cow pies. (A reference to earlier blog entries.)

Will and I had a good time – learned a lot about pottery and had some good conservations about all kinds of things. When we got back to Greensboro we watched a DVD of the new Star Trek movie – which was also very good – Saturday at the Celebration would be another day and another entry.

Bloggers Note: Of course the minute the Celebration of Seagrove Potters and the Seagrove Pottery Festival ended Sunday afternoon – these potters could take a long deserved rest – wrong! Many are scrambling to get ready for other shows, like the 40th Annual Carolina Designer Craftsmen’s Fine Craft + Design Show at the Exhibition Center at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 27 – 29, 2009, or kiln opening at their own potteries coming in December. This is a busy and critical time for these folks, so if you didn’t make it to either of these festivals – they sure would like you to come to Seagrove to do some holiday shopping. A handmade gift of pottery is better than anything you can find waiting in line in the dark early Friday morning after Thanksgiving.

A Carolina Potter Needs Your Help!

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

I was going through my normal blog list this morning and there was a lot of news there today about all kinds of subjects and I ran across a notice of a benefit to help a potter, Liz Zlot Summerfield, on Michael Kline’s blog. Kline was passing along info he had received from Lindsay Rogers who was organizing this benefit to help a fellow potter in need. I hope all the links work and if not you may have to do a little searching to find things but here it is.

From Lindsay Rogers website:

Liz Zlot Summerfield Benefit

I am writing to announce a benefit auction to assist my friend, and fellow ceramic artist, Liz Zlot Summerfield. In April of this year Liz was diagnosed with a type of cancer called non-hodgkins Lymphoma. When she got the news of her cancer all studio work for Liz and her husband, glass blower Scott Summerfield, stopped. For most artists a halt to work, combined with illness and bills, is a hardship too large to manage alone. Like most plans, our ideas for this benefit started out small and have since bloomed in to something that I believe will be a wonderful, fun and supportive event. With all that said, there are several ways that you can participate!

1) Attend the live auction at Penland or visit the online sale as a buyer!

The live auction is August 16, 2009, in the Northlight Building at Penland School of Crafts. Doors will open at 1:00pm at which point there will be light refreshments, Bandana Klezmer will provide fabulous entertainment and visitors will have a chance to take a good look at the work available in the live and silent auctions. The live auction of work will begin at 2:00pm and is expected to last around an hour or so. At the end of the auction visitors can pick up and pay for their pieces knowing that 100% of the proceeds will go to helping Liz, Scott and their young daughter, Roby, get through this really hard time.

The online sale will be held on Etsy.com and will begin September 1st. I will post more information about the online auction (including the web address) as we get closer to the date.

2) Help us find more buyers by sending out an email of the postcard. You can access an image of the postcard in jpeg or pdf format by clicking the following links to the right.

3) You can make a monetary donation to a PayPal account created for Liz’s benefit. By clicking on the donate button at (http://www.rogerspottery.com/lzsbenefit) to the right/above, or using this link below, you can be assured that all donations will go quickly, safely and directly to Liz.

The link to this account is: (https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=XMYBAEHMPQXEE&lc=US&item_name=Liz%20Zlot%20Summerfield%20Benefit&currency_code=USD&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF%3abtn_donate_LG%2egif%3aNonHosted).

Thank you so much for your generosity!

Rutherford County Visual Arts Center in Rutherfordton, NC, Offers Juried Pottery Exhibition

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

In my continuing effort to bring you readers info about pottery events – not taking place in Seagrove, NC, we received a short e-mail which told us about a juried pottery exhibit taking place at the Rutherford County Visual Arts Center in Rutherfordton, NC. The e-mail came after our deadlines for both the paper and our website. I’m not including this as a reward for being late, but as an example.

The exhibit, Wheel and Coil and Slab, will be on view at the Arts Center from July 10 through Aug. 31, 2009. The Rutherford County Visual Arts Center is located at 173 N. Main Street in Rutherfordton. They are open Tue.-Sat., 10am-3pm and Fridays until 6:30pm. The Center can be contacted by calling 828/288-5009 or visit (www.rcvag.com).

That last paragraph was about all they sent. It makes me wonder if they are paying by the word for their e-mail or what. I know this is a juried show where they may not have even seen the entries yet, but they could say more. I went to their website – looked at the exhibit prospectus, even sent a return e-mail asking for more info, but received none yet as of this posting.

Since this is a juried show it would be nice to know who will be doing the jurying and if that juror was going to make any cash awards. I receive a lot of info about juried shows and usually they include more info about the juror than info about the exhibit.

There was an entry fee mentioned in the prospectus and a statement that all works entered will be for sale and can be taken by a buyer at any time during the exhibit (70/30 split) – if the artists wanted to they could travel to the Center to replace the work sold – with an unjuried work? So what’s the point of this being a juried show?

With what little I’ve learned about pottery I can tell that the title of the exhibit, Wheel and Coil and Slab, refers to different ways of making pottery, but nothing is offered about that in this e-mail – is there an educational component to this exhibit – I don’t know? Or is it just a clever reference to The Wizard of OZ phrase – Lions and Tigers and Bears – Oh My?

This e-mail is an example of a lot of info we receive everyday at Carolina Arts – it says less than it should. You usually have more questions after reading.

So, as someone who might read that there will be a juried pottery exhibit offered in Rutherfordton, NC, during a 50 day period – why should I go see this show? If Cynthia Bringle was the juror, would that pique your interest? If the Best of Show award was $10,000 would that make you want to see that work? If the Center was going to be posting text panels describing various techniques used in making pottery along with live demonstrations – would that make you interested in visiting this exhibit?

As an editor of a visual arts newspaper this kind of e-mail just represents more work on my part. I have enough work to do already – I’m looking for the easy e-mail to process. This particular e-mail came after deadline and in this case will be set aside for the August issue – meaning that readers might not see it until 20 days after it has already started. Maybe too late for someone to go see it. This particular e-mail will get some publicity here, but not the kind I’m sure they wished it would get.

This juried show may be a wonderful exhibit – if so, it deserved a better and more timely press release, but then again I’ve seen many a show that didn’t stand up to the press release sent about it. So what’s an exhibit viewer to do. I know I make my decisions by what the press release says – even if at times the show doesn’t hold up to what was said. You always learn something, but I won’t travel on so little info. Do you?

The other point is – there are so many choices. I also received (after deadline) info about a pottery exhibit at the Crabtree Creek Art & Floral Gallery in Micaville, NC. They are presenting the exhibit, Imagery in Clay, featuring distinctive works by Ken Sedberry, on view from July 2 – 28, 2009. And, there’s a great pottery show at The Bascom in Highlands, NC. The exhibit, The Three Potters: Bringle, Hewitt and Stuempfle, is on view through July 11, 2009, This show features wheel-thrown and hand built work, some 30-40 pieces, by master artists Cynthia Bringle, Mark Hewitt and David Stuempfle.

A good press release can make the difference in why someone selects your exhibit to go see it above all others. That’s the lesson of the day.

But, if I was traveling all the way to Rutherfordton or Micaville, why not go visit Michael Kline Pottery in Bakersville, NC. But, you might want to give him a call first at (828-675-4097) he’s a busy guy. He’s also a blogger. And, if you go there you should stop by the gallery at the Penland School of Crafts in Penland, NC.

Boy, this is turning into an adventure. No matter where you go, there is always something else interesting near by, and that’s why you need Carolina Arts to let you know – just what that is, where it is, and when it’s taking place. Would you go to the opera without a program? Not me.

And, finally for the record. David Stuempfle is a Seagrove, NC, potter and Mark Hewitt is a board member of the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove. You just can’t mention pottery in North Carolina and not have this area show up. Well, at least it seems I can’t find a way not to find the Seagrove connection.

More News on NC Pottery Center

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Well, you just never know where something like this will go. I’m referring to the effort to raise $100,000 to save the North Carolina Pottery Center from having to close its doors after ten years of operation in Seagrove, NC. You can see other postings here under the heading NC Visual Arts (listed to the right).

I received an update on the fundraising effort from both Michael Kline of Michael Kline Pottery in Bakersville, NC, and Meredith Heywood of Whynot Pottery in Seagrove, NC, at about the same time. That tells you how the networking is going on this effort – nothing happens without folks all over Seagrove, the Carolinas, and now the nation – hearing about it.

The latest news is that AKAR, a gallery in Iowa City, IA – that’s Iowa – way out in the mid-west, is holding a benefit to raise money to help the NC Pottery Center. The gallery has images of items (mostly pottery) posted on their website (www.akardesign.com) where 100% of profits will go to the NC Pottery Center. This includes pottery by artists from Wisconsin, New York, Nebraska, and Arizona, as well as works by artists from Canada and Australia.

If you’re wondering how a gallery in Iowa gets involved in this effort – well there is the internet to thank, but it more likely has to do with the fact that Michael Kline is having an exhibition there and he has been very active in trying to help the Pottery Center, but the gallery didn’t have to help out because of that. They’ve represented other potters from this area – so they may be protecting their interest in Carolina potters or just see the importance of the Pottery Center. The important things is – they are doing something to help.

It’s the networking of people that is driving this effort. Take Meredith Heywood, on July 8, 2008, lightning struck a tree near their studio space sending an electrical surge into their building’s wiring, starting a fire which gutted the building. In the middle of her troubles, she is spending a lot of time spreading the word around about the Pottery Center’s problems. Her husband, Mark Heywood has been offered workspace at STARworks, a business incubator located in Star, NC, just down the road from Seagrove. So he’s been working off-site. They have also received a lot of help from the pottery community around Seagrove. It all comes down to people helping people.

But, for many people, no matter what is going on in their lives right now – saving the Pottery Center is on the top of their to do list. And, now we have people in Iowa helping too. What next?

I want to tell you about another fundraiser I overlooked in my last posting. Bulldog Pottery in Seagrove, NC, operated by Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke, is offering a Fossil Fish Jug by Bruce Gholson (15 3/4″ x 10 3/4″ x 10 3/4″) for $600 (shipping included) at (www.bulldogpottery.com). All proceeds will be donated to the NC Pottery Center.

The North Carolina Pottery Center is also calling for e-mails of support to be presented to the NC General Assembly. A few lines of what the Center means to you or to the pottery community as a whole would be appreciated. Send them to Anna Niles at (annan@ncleg.net). Please put in the subject line: support for the NCPC. E-mails can be addressed: To the NC State Legislators.

I have to say for me the North Carolina Pottery Center represents a dream that one day in South Carolina we will have art facilities like this showcasing the talents of artists in our state.

In my 20 plus years of covering the visual arts in South Carolina, and over the last 12 plus years of covering visual arts in both North and South Carolina, the one thing I can say which differentiates the two states is North Carolina’s superior support of their art community – both traditional and contemporary.

We have nothing that compares with facilities like the Folk Art Center in Asheville, the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, the Penland School of Crafts in Penland, and the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, just to mention a few.

But no facility tells the storied history of North Carolina’s Piedmont area’s tradition of handmade pottery like the Pottery Center – covering that tradition from pre-historic Native Americans to artists working in the 21st century.

The temporary exhibitions presented there have featured not only potters from the Seagrove area, but potters from all over North Carolina, the world, and SC. The last exhibit I saw at the Center included works showcasing Rock Hill, SC’s Catawba Indian potters.

For ten years the small community of Seagrove and the surrounding region have carried the weight of the Center on their shoulders. It would be a shame and a tragedy to loose this jewel of the NC art community, the Carolina art community and our nation when saving it as a state facility would take such little funding compared to the rewards the facility gives in return to the state – in tourism and documented cultural history.

If you have had some contact with the NC Pottery Center – either as an artist, visitor or arts administrator – I urge you to send a few lines of support in an e-mail to show your support.

And, don’t for get to make a donation on the Center’s website at (www.ncpotterycenter.com).