Posts Tagged ‘Vernon Owens’

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

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Michael Mahan (r) and Phil Winn (l)

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

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NC Potter Center Board Member Michael Kline serving up drinks

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A last minute inspection of works to be auctioned

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More inspections

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

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

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

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Mark Hewitt describing a painting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, Offers The Potter’s Palette – Something Different – Feb. 4, 2012

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

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Here’s an opportunity to purchase something unique and help the NC Pottery Center at the same time. Imagine owning a painting – yes, I said painting by Mark Hewitt, Cynthia Bringle, or Vernon Owens – great potters, but not known as painters – other than painting glazes on their pots. Now that would be a conversation piece for any pottery collector at any level. If you’re the highest bidder – you might be able to brag of such a possession.

But don’t get me wrong in thinking that owning one of these paintings will just be a novelty – some of these people are very talented with a brush and canvas. As you may know – artists are talented people – many are multi-talented as you’ll see when you check out the 80 canvases being offered on the Pottery Center’s website.

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Work by Mark Hewitt

Can’t be there on Feb. 4th – no worries. You can make your absentee bid online at the Pottery Center’s website, but it won’t be the same as being there during the event in the heat of the action. There’s nothing worse than learning that your silent bid was topped out by $2 – especially when you would have paid much more. So, if you can’t make it and will be making an absentee bid online – remember to bid as high as you would go to have one of these special works and that the money is going to help the NC Pottery Center keep its doors open. That’s what art auctions are all about – helping out and getting something in return – not just getting a bargain.

And if you bid against me – remember that I’m the publisher of a newspaper – like Rupert Murdoch – once I make a bid – others might as well stand down or dig very, very, deep into their pockets. We’re used to getting what we want. All I have to do is make sure I don’t come with a pair of my pants that has holes in the pockets. I wonder if Rupert has that problem?

Here’s the press release:

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The North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, the center of pottery in North Carolina, invited NC clay artists to work outside their regular palette by creating a 12″ x 12” canvas, using any medium they desired. The response has been a wide array of creativity, which is only to be expected by the talented potters of NC. On Feb. 4, 2012, the public will have the opportunity to bid on these outstanding palettes and the opportunity to own a canvas. Truly a one-of-a-kind piece to complement any pottery collection! Many of the artists will be featured guests, and there will be several clay creations to complement the canvases available to purchase as well, making it really a one of a kind purchase. The canvases are posted on the NC Pottery Center’s website at (http://ncpotterycenter.org/canvases.html) with absentee bidding offered until Feb. 1, 2012, at 4pm.

The fun and festive event begins at 4pm on Feb. 4, 2012, with Irish tunes played by Michael Mahan, Seagrove potter, painter and musician and Phil Winn of Greensboro, NC, and includes a scrumptious buffet featuring an array of delicious hors d’oeuvres from gourmet bites to seafood and cheeses to desserts and festive beverages. An event not to be missed!

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Work by Bruce Gholson

Response from the potters and the public has been hugely enthusiastic. Potters from all areas of NC have painted and the canvases are all are currently on display at the North Carolina Pottery Center. Certain themes have spontaneously emerged including birds, especially roosters, fish, cows, houses, pottery imagery as well as some abstracts and mixed media with some surprises and real gems and many have associated stories, some of which are outlined below.

Tickets are $15 per person, or $25 for a pair, and are available through the website or by calling 336/873-8430 and also a limited quantity at the door. We encourage purchase in advance.

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Work by Levi Mahan

Piedmont Area Potter Painters include: Tom Suomalaine, Crystal King, Donna Craven & Susan Greene, Janice & Bruce Latham, Paula Smith, Eck & Fiva & Milly McCanless, Joseph Sand, Hal & Eleanor Pugh, Michael & Levi Mahan, Mary Holmes, Susan McGehee, Ben & LoriAnn Owen, Samantha Henneke, Bruce Gholson, Beth Gore, Chad Brown, Daniel Johnston, Kate Waltman, John Viegland, Stephanie Martin, Charlotte Wooten, Abe Fenberg, Jeff Brown, Michele Hastings, Fred Johnston, Carol Gentithes, Vernon Owens, Pam Owens, Jennie Lorette Keatts, Phillip Pollet, Alexa Modderno, Bonnie Burns, Bobbie Thomas, Scott Thomas, Tom Gray, Mary Farrell, Meredith Heywood, Ann Raven Jorgensen, Vicki Gill, and Jared Zehmer.

Charlotte Area Potter Painters Include: Andrew Linton, Caroleen Sanders, and Roy & Barbara Strassberg.

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Works by Dina Wilde-Ramsing

Costal Area Potter Painters Include: Helene Icard, Dina Wilde-Ramsing, Keith Lambert, Tonda Jeffcoat, and Seo Eo.

Mountains Area Potter Painters Include: Kim Ellington, Tammy Leigh Brooks, Michelle Flowers, John Britt, Michael Kline, Terry Gess, Matt Jones, Doc Welty, Alex Matisse, Becca Floyd, Cynthia Bringle, Karen Mickler, and Kyle Carpenter.

Triangle Area Potter Painters Include: Lynn Morrow, Mark Hewitt, Daphne Cruze-Zug, Ronan Peterson, Mary Paul & John Garland, and Nancy & Dan Lovejoy.

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

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Work by Meredith Heywood

The Center is open, Tuesdays – Saturdays, 10am to 4pm. Admission (excluding free special events): $2 – adults, $1 – students 9th through 12th grades, Free – children through 8th grade, free – NCPC members.  Handicap accessible. Groups and tours welcomed.

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

NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, Educates Area Teachers About NC Pottery History

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

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For three days in late June, 2011, a group of 25 local teachers took a break from their summer vacation to participate in a special workshop hosted by the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, North Carolina, and funded by an educational grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Goodnight Educational Fund. The purpose of this special workshop was to introduce these teachers to the history of pottery making in North Carolina, from the earliest American Indian potters to contemporary potters of today, highlighting old traditions and new traditions. The teachers were selected by random, five from each of the surrounding counties of Chatham, Lee, Moore, Montgomery and Randolph. Each teacher received a packet of publications, posters, and educational materials to share with their students next fall.

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Teachers get an orientation at the NCPC on the first day of the workshop from Dr. Linda Carnes-McNaughton

Day one of the workshop featured guest lectures by Dr. Charles Zug, noted folklorist and North Carolina pottery expert who provided a history of pottery making overview, Dr. Linda Carnes-McNaughton, archaeologist and ceramic scholar who taught them how to identify different ceramics and glazes, plus demonstrations by Caroleen Sanders, Catawba Indian potter who spoke about her heritage and training, and finally Chris Espenshade, an archaeologist who demonstrated hand-building techniques for the teacher’s hands-on experience.

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Catawba potter, Caroleen Sanders gives teachers an overview of  her pottery tradition.

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Teachers in the NCPC Education Building learning how to make coiled pottery from Chris Espenshade.

The second and third days involved field trips to various regional pottery shops to showcase different pottery styles, kilns, glazes, and vessels. The group visited Westmoore Pottery (Mary Farrell) to learn about North Carolina’s early redware industry and use of a chamber kiln. They then moved on to Jugtown Pottery to learn about groundhog kilns, salt-glazed stonewares and the “revitalization” of the craft which took place in the 1920s from generational potters, Vernon and Pam Owens. The afternoon was filled with a visit to Ben Owen Pottery to see new art forms and changes in this family’s wares over the past three generations, plus two functioning groundhog kilns. Last on the second day was a trip to the King’s Pottery to meet Terry, Anna and Crystal King, a family of local potters known for their whimsical face jugs and sculptural figurines of animals.

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Mary Farrrell of Westmoore Pottery greets the teachers in front of her shop before showing them her decorative techniques.

The third day the teachers’ group traveled to Pittsboro, NC, to meet potter Mark Hewitt and learn more about the apprenticeship system of craft-transfer, along with his own version of traditional pottery, use of a catenary arch kiln and other decorative elements revised from North Carolina’s 19th century traditions. The group concluded the field trip day with a visit to Seagrove pottery family, the McCanlesses, where Millie (Dover Pottery), Eck (Eck McCanless Pottery) and Zeke demonstrated elaborate decorative techniques on porcelain-type ceramics.

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Pittsboro, NC, potter, Mark Hewitt talks about his craft and appreciation of North Carolina pottery.

At the end of the workshop, the teachers received their diplomas and stood patiently for a final group photograph.  Overall comments from teachers were very rewarding and positive, “this is the best workshop I’ve attended in my 17 years of teaching”, “loved the literature and the presentations”, “learning firsthand history from NC potters”, “now I have more knowledge to spread with kids and families in the area”,  and “NCPC + Hospitality = Wonderful!”

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Group of 25 Teachers from Chatham, Lee, Moore, Montgomery, and Randolph Counties who participated in the NCPC’s 3-day Teachers Workshop on Pottery making in North Carolina.

The workshop organizers, Dr. Linda Carnes-McNaughton, Mrs. Cindy Edwards, and Mrs. Ann Busick, along with the NCPC staff, hope to do another teachers workshop in the future, offering access to potters, history overview and hands-on demonstrations to teachers from throughout the state an opportunity to transmit this learning to their students….helping to preserve and promote the significance of pottery in North Carolina’s heritage.

Upcoming Fundraiser for the NC Pottery Center

The North Carolina Pottery Center, in Seagrove, partnering with Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd (LLAES), is pleased to announce, the12th annual Going, Going, Gone to Pots fundraising auction on Aug. 11, 2011. This auction, the Center’s main fund raising event of the year, will feature an outstanding selection of contemporary and vintage North Carolina pottery donated by top NC potters and collectors, as well as other exciting participatory and pottery related items. The lots are available for viewing now at (www.ncpotterycenter.com) and (www.llauctions.com).

NC Pottery Center’s Upcoming Exhibitions

The North Carolina Pottery Center will present two new exhibits including:Wild Fire: Alamance County Stoneware – Past and Present and Remember Me as You Pass By… North Carolina Ceramic Grave Markers, both on view from Aug. 19 through Oct. 29, 2011. A reception will be held on Aug. 19, from 5:30-7:30pm.

Exhibitions are made possible through the generosity of our membership, the Mary and Elliott Wood Foundation and the Goodnight Educational Foundation. This project was supported by the NC Arts Council, a division of the NC Department of Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The mission of the North Carolina Pottery Center is to promote public awareness of and appreciation for the history, heritage, and ongoing tradition of pottery making in North Carolina. The Center is located at 233 East Avenue in Seagrove. Hours of operation are Tue. – Sat., 10am – 4pm.

For more information, please call 336/873-8430 or visit (www.ncpotterycenter.org)

NC Potters to be Featured in a Nationwide TV Broadcast

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

After our elation over the University of Michigan football victory over the Irish (don’t even mention that Carolina Panthers’ game) and frustrations over messed up Beatles’ CDs – it’s back to the business of bringing you news about the visual art community in the Carolinas.

It seems that the pottery community in Seagrove, NC, including the North Carolina Pottery Center, is much more significant – statewide and nationwide – than a few individuals would like the NC Legislature to know. Cream will always rise to the top no matter how much you stir the pot. Of course if you stir it too much – you get butter. And, who doesn’t like butter? Butterrrr.

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On Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009, at 8 pm, PBS TV, will air a nationwide broadcast of a brand new episode of the Peabody award-winning series,Craft in America, that features two well-known North Carolina potteries.Craft in America producer, Carol Sauvion, explains why. “North Carolina pottery has inspired and influenced potters from all over the world,” says Sauvion, “It is authentic, original, and powerful in its simplicity. By including Jugtown and the Hewitt pottery in its new episodes, the Craft in America series showcases their significant contribution to the history of craft in America.”

Jugtown potters, Vernon and Pam Owens, and their children Travis and Bayle, and Mark Hewitt in Pittsboro, NC, are proud to represent the state’s pottery tradition in this stunning documentary that serves as a tremendous affirmation of North Carolina’s role in shaping the ceramic heritage of United States.

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Vernon and Pam Owens

Both Pam Owens and Mark Hewitt are on the board of the North Carolina Pottery Center (NCPC) in Seagrove, NC, and have helped organize a series of simultaneous “viewing parties” across the state on Oct. 7, 2009, to coincide with the broadcast, and to raise funds for programming at NCPC.

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Mark Hewitt

These “viewing parties”, described as, “a collective group hug for all the potters and pottery lovers across the state,” demonstrate a remarkable show of support from North Carolina pottery guilds and patrons across the state. This support acknowledges the camaraderie among North Carolina potters, and validates the role that the North Carolina Pottery Center plays in promoting public awareness and appreciation of the history, heritage, and ongoing tradition of pottery making in North Carolina.

Eight pottery Guilds, from the coast to the mountains, are hosting “viewing parties” for their members and supporters, including the Coastal Carolina Clay Guild in Wilmington, NC, the North Carolina Pottery Collectors Guild and the Triangle Pottery Guild (both in Raleigh, NC), Durham Clayworks, Carolina Claymatters and Carolina Clay Connection in Charlotte, NC, and the Potters of the Roan in Bakersville, NC, and Penland, NC. There will also be a gathering at UNC-Asheville in Asheville, NC.

The Umstead Hotel & Spa in Cary, NC, is partnering with NCPC, Craft in America, and UNC-TV, to host a Gala Dinner, Dessert and Viewing Party.

In addition, there are seven parties being held at the homes of NCPC patrons in cities across the state – in Edenton, Fayetteville, Seagrove, Asheboro, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, and Pittsboro.

Visit (www.ncpotterycenter.com) or phone 336/873-8430 for more information about attending one of these events. To contact Jugtown Pottery visit (www.jugtownware.com) or phone 910/464-3266, and to contact Mark Hewitt visit (www.hewittpottery.com) or phone 919/542-2371.

NC Pottery Center Offers Summer Fundraiser – June 20 2009

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

The doors of the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, were kept open due to the efforts of many last year, but – and I hate to be the one to tell you this – the Center is not yet saved, and the cavalry in the form of the NC Arts Council, a.k.a. the State of North Carolina – is nowhere in sight.

The State of North Carolina is not in the same shape it was a few years back when the plan to take over operations of the Pottery Center was first hatched. And, it may be several years before the State gets back to where it was before the bottom dropped out. So, Plan B is in effect – fundraising to keep the doors open.

There are still a few who would like to see the doors of the Pottery Center closed. For what reason – I can’t understand. From the perspective of someone who lives in South Carolina, we would love to have such a facility for any part of the arts here.

So here’s a press release about the fundraiser.

The North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, has planned an exciting, educational and free day for the public on Saturday, June 20, 2009, from 10am-4pm. Visitors from near and far, young and old are invited to spend the day at the Center to be entertained and educated about the history, heritage and ongoing tradition of pottery making in North Carolina, one of the state’s most well-loved and treasured art forms.

The “Pots from the Attic” Fundraiser runs all day and features a collection of over 200 highly unique pieces. Shapes and sizes vary from crocks to candle holders to sugar bowls and Rebecca pitchers as well as marked souvenir pots from the past tourist trade. A majority of pots were donated from the collection of Dr. Everette James. NCPC board member, Pam Owens from Jugtown commented, “I know I speak for the whole NCPC Board in expressing our gratitude to Everette James for the donation of his historic, and well known pottery collection from the Saint James Place Museum in Roberson, NC. There are many wonderful study pieces in the “Pots from the Attic” Fundraiser. We look forward to a full and interesting day of events on June 20.”

Mark Hewitt, accomplished Pittsboro, NC, potter and VP of the NCPC describes the collection like this. “In many ways pots are like people, we give them human associations by describing their feet, bellies, necks, and lips. Pots, like people, are also fragile. Over the course of a lifetime, we all get chipped and banged about, but carry on, somehow tougher for our experiences. Likewise the pots in this sale have been slightly damaged, but they still retain their core beauty, somehow made more real by their flaws. The pots in the sale have been well-loved. There are examples of all types of North Carolina pottery, from utilitarian to art ware, small pieces and large. The sale includes many hidden treasures, rare stamps, and familiar gems.”  The range of pots includes those from Cole Pottery in Sanford, Jugtown, Ben Owen-Master Potter and North State among many others. This is a great opportunity to begin or add to an existing collection in a very affordable way.  All pots are priced to sell.

There will also be live Celtic Music inside the main building from 1:30 – 3:30pm with Michael Mahan and Will McCanless.

In tandem, a reception and book signing of The Living Tradition: North Carolina Potters Speak takes place from 2-4pm. The recently released book includes intimate interviews with 23 of North Carolina’s most distinguished potters. With illuminating interviews conducted by Michelle Francis and Charles “Terry” Zug III, resplendent photography by Rob Amberg, editing by Denny Hubbard Mecham, and publishing by Goosepen Studio & Press, this is the culmination of a documentary project by the North Carolina Pottery Center to promote and preserve North Carolina’s unique pottery making history. The funding for this distinctive project was made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Sciences, a national organization. Featured artists from the book attending the reception include; Ben Owen III, Pam and Vernon Owens, Hal and Eleanor Pugh, Caroleen Sanders, Mark Hewitt and interviewer Terry Zug. Refreshments will be served. All proceeds from The Living Tradition and the “Pots from the Attic” Fundraiser directly benefit the North Carolina Pottery Center. Sample pages can be viewed at (www.NCPotteryCenter.com).

A full day can easily be spent at the Center with individuals and families free this Saturday to take in the significance of the permanent historical section, beginning with the Native American pottery exhibit and artifacts, through the tools and functional pots of the agricultural era, to the movement toward art pottery and to the more contemporary pots of today. Two large display cases hold samples of approximately 85% of the local Seagrove community potters. The Center rotates exhibits every 3 to 4 months and the current exhibit is Dan Finch and the Dan Finch Studio Potters on view through Aug. 1, 2009. Visitors are welcome to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the outdoor tables underneath the grove of 100-year-old oak trees, and wander the charming rural grounds. Here one can explore the outside groundhog kiln and double chambered wood-firing kiln designed and built by potters Ruggles and Rankin (also featured in The Living Traditions book) during a teaching event.

Day-long demonstrations are held on Saturdays in the Center’s Educational Building by local potter Chad Brown. He is a 5th generation potter; his great-great grandfather was William Henry Chriscoe, a portion of whose original log cabin pottery studio now resides in the Smithsonian Museum. Brown is an up-and-coming potter to watch on the Seagrove scene, having worked as a journeyman potter for numerous studios and assisting many local potters with their wood firings. His decision to pursue his own pottery full-time this year was rewarded last month when he received the “The Award of Excellence” at The Arts in the Park show in Blowing Rock, NC. Sid Luck of Luck’s Ware, coordinator of the 2008-09 TAPS (Traditional Arts Program for Students) said, “I was most fortunate to have Chad as an assistant in the TAPS program this year. He is an excellent potter, has a great rapport with students and is very dependable.” TAPS is an afterschool collaboration between the NC Arts Council, the NC Pottery Center, and Seagrove Elementary School. Its purpose is to provide public school students with the knowledge and practices of the Seagrove traditional pottery culture. Mark Hewitt remarked, “Chad Brown has quietly established his presence as one of the most talented younger potters in Seagrove. We all enjoy Chad’s humor and good nature, and know how much he contributes to the NCPC with his patient, insightful demonstrations and his warm, generous personality. His beautiful pots reflect who he is.”

Opened in 1998 in Seagrove, the NCPC mission is to promote public awareness of North Carolina’s remarkable pottery heritage. The Center welcomes and informs visitors to the Seagrove area, enriching their experience through exhibitions and educational programs, and promoting potters working today across the state. The NCPC is a private nonprofit entity, funded primarily through memberships, grants, admissions, and appropriations. The Center’s hours are Tue.-Sat., 10am to 4pm, Admission (excluding free special events) is $2 – adults, $1 – students 9th through 12th grades, Free – children through 8th grade, free – NCPC members. Handicap accessible. Groups and tours welcomed. For further information and details call 336/873-8430, e-mail (to ncpc@atomic.net) or visit (www.NCPotteryCenter.com).

Pottery Events Coming Up in Seagrove, NC, in June 2009

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

First off is the Cousins in Clay event on June 6 & 7, 2009, at Bulldog Pottery in Seagrove featuring works by Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke of Bulldog and invited guest and “clay cousin” Michael Kline from Bakersville, NC.

This will be a wonderful opportunity to meet the artists and add to your pottery collection or begin one. The event begins Sat. June 6 at 9am and continues through 5pm. On Sun. June 7 you can come by at 10am and stay till 4pm, but if you do that – you should buy something. And, why wouldn’t you – all three potters make wonderful works of art – and functional too.

On June 20, 2009, from 10am – 4pm at the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove you can come shop at the Pots from the Attic Fundraiser, a once-in-a-lifetime sale of slightly worn pots. I wondered what that meant so I asked and was told, “this could be anything that is chipped, broken, repaired, or just heavily used with signs of wear. Most of the pots for this event will be from the Dr. Everette James Collection with some other pots from various donors. This will be an outright sale of pots, so folks can browse around and see the pieces and prices and take them home that day.” Sounds like a deal. The good Dr. is once again coming to the aid of the Pottery Center.

You might want to come early for the best selection, but you also might want to stick around until 2pm when a booksigning for The Living Tradition – North Carolina Potters Speak, will take place till 4pm. This book includes interviews by Michelle Francis and Charles “Terry” Zug III of 20 of North Carolina’s most distinguished potters with photographs by Rob Amberg, all edited by Denny Hubbard Mecham, the Pottery Center’s former director.

The potters included in the book are: Paulus Berensohn, Jennie Bireline, Cynthia Bringle, Charles Davis Brown, Kim Ellington, Mark Hewitt, MaryLou Higgins, Nick Joerling, Ben Owen III, Vernon Owens, Pam Owens, Jane Peiser, Hal Pugh, Eleanor Pugh, Will Ruggles, Douglas Rankin, Caroleen Sanders, Norman Schulman, Michael Sherrill, Tom Spleth, Hiroshi Sueyoshi, Tom Suomalainen, and Neolia Cole Womack.

The book was published for the North Carolina Pottery Center by Goosepen Press and is available at the NC Pottery Center for $29.95, (cloth, 192 pages) and on this day between 2 – 4pm you can get your copy or copies signed. They’ll let you buy as many copies as you need – Christmas is right around the corner.

The interviews intimately reveal the “aspirations and attitudes” of clay-working in a contemporary, diverse tradition. From the “fast nickel” or the “slow dime” and the practicalities of pricing and selling, to technical discussions of kiln building, clay processing, throwing, glazing, and firing, to the spirituality of the creative process and the medium of clay as a “reflection of life,” potters from across the state vivify the struggle and reward of their lives and work.

Luminous photographs by Rob Amberg complement the artists ’ own words – revelatory of character and ripe with anecdote – in this culmination of a documentary project by the North Carolina Pottery Center to promote and protect North Carolina’s unique pottery-making history.

The book’s description is not in my words – as if you couldn’t tell, but I believe them – the Pottery Center is a first-class operation.

Now, if you haven’t figured it out yet or you’re new to this blog – I’m a big fan of the North Carolina Pottery Center and the potters of Seagrove – all 100 + of them. I like other potters too, in other parts of the Carolinas, but as long as they need me – I’m trying to be their biggest fan and that’s going to take a lot if I’m even hoping to get close to how big a fan Dr. Everette James is, which might not be possible.

Well, if people from all over the Carolinas and beyond, if there is such a place, would start traveling to Seagrove and taking lots of pots home with them (after paying for them) and told people in Seagrove that I made it sound like they were really missing out on something – maybe then – some people might think I’m as good as the “good Dr.” But, that would take a lot of people. I’d settle for second-best fan.

So, what if you just can’t go to Seagrove? I’m thinking. The concept just doesn’t compute, but I guess if it’s not possible, the Pottery Center can take orders for the book if you call 336/873-8430 or e-mail to (ncpc@atomic.net).

All proceeds from The Living Tradition and the Pots from the Attic Fundraiser directly benefit the North Carolina Pottery Center – if you use this link you can even go download sample pages from the book.

If you don’t need a book or a pot – you can go to the website and make a donation to the Center.

As far as the Cousins in Clay event – I hear it’s even possible to go to the websites of potters (links above) and see works there and purchase them by credit card and have them shipped to your door. You all know how to use credit cards, don’t you? Well, I mean our American readers know what that’s all about.

I guess that would be OK, but I still have a hard time getting my head around why you can’t go to Seagrove. What else are you doing in June? Cutting grass? You know there’s no NFL Europe anymore.