Archive for the ‘About Seagrove Pottery’ Category

A Visit to Downtown Charleston, SC’s Art Walks – May 6, 2011

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Even though I haven’t been to many art walks in Charleston lately, it’s still our backyard as far as art communities go. I don’t know everyone there now and many don’t know me, but for a lot of the folks who have been there more than a few years, it’s hard for Linda and I to just slip into a gallery and not be spotted. Gallery owners and artists seem to gravitate to us – one because we’re friends with a lot of these folks – at least we feel we are, and two, we haven’t seen most of these folks – face to face in a long time. So we’re like a blast for the past.

It would be nice to do an art walk and not be working, but the nature of these events is always social/working. I want to write the trip up for our blog and they hope I’ll write it up – everyone needs publicity. The problem in Charleston is we know and meet so many people we want to talk to that I end up doing more talking than taking photos. So, I have some images to not make this blog all words, but in no way all that I should have. I’m sorry for that. We got some from the galleries or their websites.

I’ll refresh people’s memory of the weather on May 6, 2011, in the Charleston area. A forecast called for scattered showers, but it seem to be raining most of the day up here in Bonneau, the headquarters of Shoestring Publishing Company on the shore of Lake Moultrie. And just as it was about time to leave, the rain came down hard, but the weather wizards said the system would clear out of the area by 6pm. This time I was hoping they were right. It rained pretty hard all the way to Charleston’s borders, but as we crossed that border the rain stopped and the sky opened up.

By the time we found the same parking space I used in visiting the April art walk, the sun was shinning. Thanks to whoever saved it for us. The rain had cleared the air and cooled it down to a very pleasant 75 degrees. We’ve had some great weather as far as temps go lately – although dangerous at times.  At least there weren’t any tornado warnings on May 6.

Our first stop, due to location, was Nina Liu and Friends, at 24 State Street. The gallery is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. The exhibit being presented that evening was Defining Moments, featuring works by Susie Miller Simon of Colorado, on view through June 30, 2011. Simon couldn’t be there for this opening, but will come in a few weeks.

Nina Liu’s gallery is spread throughout three levels in her home – which is still up for sale – if anyone is interested in living in the heart of Charleston’s French Quarter district and wants to also have a gallery – or not. She’ll sell – either way. Liu is hopping to retire one day to the home she has waiting in Mexico – someday. But, we’re not in any hurry to see her go.

We noticed something strange going on. People were coming into the gallery, saying hi as they passed by, heading upstairs. Liu noticed the strange look on our faces and explained that they were regulars to her openings and they know the food and drink is upstairs. I rolled my eyes, thinking to myself that they could have at least glanced at the works in the exhibit before – running upstairs, but it doesn’t seem to bother her as another group zoomed by. Her food is very popular.


Work by Susie Miller Simon

Simon’s works give reference to imagery of the Southwestern United States – a million miles from Lowcountry art, which is refreshing at times and I’m sure a reason why her works are so popular here. I’ve included an image, that I’m sure wasn’t in this exhibit. I got it off the Internet just to give you an idea of what the work is like. But you’ll see some images like this and some very different, but you’ll be able to tell it came from Simon.

It was reassuring to see some of those folks who rushed upstairs eventually filtered down to see the exhibit, one even asking about the price of a work found upstairs. A good time for us to move on.

For the second month in a row, I was focused on going to Smith-Killian Fine Art, at 9 Queen Street, at the corner of Queen & State Streets. Last month it was to see an exhibit by Shannon Smith and this month to see “abstract” works by her mother, Betty Anglin Smith, as well as works by a very strong group of SC’s contemporary artists including: Carl Blair, Eva Carter, Matt Overend, Laura Spong, Leo Twiggs and Scott Upton. The exhibit, Contemporary Carolinas – an Invitational Exhibition, will be on view through June 12, 2011.


Works by Laura Spong (L) and Leo Twiggs (R)

The week before we had talked with Laura Spong at Vista Studios in Columbia, SC, during Artista Vista (read about it at this link) and knew she would be there. And, I was hoping to see and talk with Carl Blair, whom I haven’t seen in a while. Blair, was the one and only member of the Commission of the SC Arts Commission who listened to my complaints and tried to do something about them. The one and only! A true arts leader in SC – a rare exception. Unfortunately he didn’t make the trip from Greenville, SC.

That’s OK – I’ll take the hugs from Betty, Eva, and Laura any day.


Work by Eva Carter

In my opinion, the day William Halsey passed on, Eva Carter became Charleston’s top “abstract” artist, if not one of the best in SC. After closing up her gallery a few years ago, this was the first of her work in an exhibit in Charleston. Although she has now opened a studio just around the corner from her old gallery, at 16 Gillon Street, we haven’t been able to catch her there when we were in Charleston – so we were also looking forward to seeing and talking with her and seeing what she was painting these days.

But, the real kicker in this show was to see more “abstract” paintings by Betty Anglin Smith. I mentioned in my write up of the April 2011 art walk in Charleston that we saw an unexpected work – an abstract painting by Betty at Shannon Smith’s show. We loved the work and I wanted to see if it was a one hit wonder or if we have a new abstract artists in town. Folks – we weren’t disappointed.


Work by Betty Anglin Smith

Of course as Betty put it – she’s not quitting her day job of painting landscapes – just yet. We all know there’s a smaller audience for “abstract” art in the Carolinas. But, every day we see more of it all the time – and that means more people are buying it. I tip my hat to Smith Killian Fine Art for taking the risk to present such a show – during the Spoleto Festival season in Charleston. I hope it pays off for them – so they can do it again. I know I could have spent a good bit of my lottery winnings there that evening. Now all I have to do is win one.

This was a great show of works from some of SC’s best artists, not painting what most people expect to see when they go to Charleston to see or buy art. But, I’ve always said there is a lot of this kind of art being made in Charleston – you just have to work a little to find it.

What a good time to transition over to Corrigan Gallery, located at 62 Queen Street – one of those places you won’t find what some people call “Charleston” art. But, you will find plenty of art made by Charleston artists. The exhibit, Egg Meditations, the continuation of a ten year exploration by Yvette Dede, was being presented. The exhibit will be on view through May 31, 2011. I swear it’s been that long – ten years since I’ve seen work by Dede on view in Charleston. At one time she ran Print Studio South, which eventually turned into the Redux Contemporary Arts Center (which hasn’t sent a press release about its May/June exhibit yet). But, that’s what happens when you become an adjunct college professor. You spend more time teaching than exhibiting.


Works by Yvette Dede

For regular readers of my views on art – presentation is a big factor with me and this exhibit was a top notch example of how to present a cohesive group of works – in this case based on the egg shape. Dede made special frames for her small works and in the intimate space at Corrigan Gallery they looked fantastic. I’m talking about the presentation of the art. I really don’t care what the wall looks like or the floor – as long as they don’t distract the viewer from the art, and in that case – that’s a bigger problem for the artist. There’s nothing wrong with the wall or floors at Corrigan Gallery – I’m just saying well presented art can look good in someone’s cluttered basement.


Works by Yvette Dede

After checking out all the variations Dede presented, we checked out some of the other works being displayed at the gallery and I came across a work which really fooled me at first in an alcove between the two main rooms of the gallery.  There was a large abstract work on one wall – blue and red. You know how I like abstracts. When I got close enough to see who the artist was,  I was, well not totally surprised, but embarrassed that it was by a good friend of ours -  John Moore. I’ve seen a lot of Moore’s abstract photographs, but for some reason this image didn’t click, I was seeing it from the side and I had just looked through some of his works in a stack and this just fooled me at first.


Work by John Moore

The real joke here is that Moore and I have talked a million times about the fact that it’s too bad he presents his work as photographs – more people would buy them if they were presented as paintings. A sad fact but true. And, the real tragedy is that many people think they are Photoshopped, but these are the real deal. He finds these outrageous colors – in man-made materials touched by nature. And, to top it off – Moore is color blind. Figure that one out and you can help me pick lottery numbers.

Moore is a purest, he doesn’t manipulate his images and he doesn’t want to fool people into thinking these are not photos just for the sake of sales. He just has a good eye, takes his time before he clicks the shutter and knows how to get the best out of his equipment and when the light is right. That’s the real art of photography.

After Linda coaxed me off the soapbox, our next stop was Horton Hayes Fine Art, at 30 State Street. We wanted to see what Mark Horton was painting these days. The gallery also shows works by Nancy Hoerter, Shannon Runquist, Bjorn Runquist and Chris Groves – all skilled painters. Now, I guess these works don’t fit the classic description of “Charleston” art in that although they are landscapes of the Lowcountry and still lifes – I just think of them as master works. You just want to be in these places put on canvas. You can feel them – smell them. We didn’t talk to anyone here – it was too crowded.


Work by Mark Horton

Seeing the works at Horton Hayes made me want to go check out Mickey Williams Studio-Gallery, the next street over at 132 E. Bay Street, at the corner of East Bay and Broad Street. This was our old hangout, once the office for IF Labs, then for Carolina Arts newspaper and Carolina Arts Gallery. I spent many a day and night in that space. It survived Hurricane Hugo as if it was just a thunder storm. This was also Eva Carter’s old gallery space.


Work by Mickey Williams

Williams paints some incredible Lowcountry landscapes. I wanted to go by and see his works and talk to him about facebook. Sometimes I get on facebook by 7am and most days by then Williams has been on for several hours – talking about the birds in his back yard, his garden or the colors in the morning sky. He’s like the good morning guy in the Charleston facebook family – which is funny – as he, like me, is technology challenged. But, he’s got facebook down to a science. I called him and asked him to send me a photo – he had to check with his wife. Sound familiar? We’re two peas in an iPod. We embrace technology – we just don’t know how to make it work.

Our last stop was at Lowcountry Artists Ltd, at 148 E. Bay Street. Their next exhibit is The Power of Glass, featuring blown glass  by Robbie Clair and etched and fused glass by Steve Hazard which will be on view from May 28 through June 11, 2011. This gallery has almost doubled in size since the last time I was in it. As a co-op gallery it has also seen many changes in the group of artists currently showing on the walls.

Another space where we could slip in and get a good look at the art first. Of course we knew some of the artists by name or work and there were a few surprises – like seeing works by Patsy Tidwell on the wall. Her gallery was one of the mainstays of the Charleston art community, but she sold it a few years ago and now it’s closed. I’m sure she is enjoying life now creating artwork vs. trying to sell other artists’ works. It’s not easy running a gallery as an artist – even when you’re doing it as a co-op of artists.

Another surprise was seeing works by Jason Luck, a Seagrove potter who has moved to Charleston. Those Seagrove potters are everywhere. Well they’re not really – but their work seems to be getting everywhere. But, you really have to go to Seagrove, NC, for Seagrove pottery. The chamber of commerce pays me to say that.


Work by Jackie Wukela

Because we didn’t have to answer a million questions as to how the paper is doing we finally got to eat some of the goodies being offered during the art walk. But, our anonymity could only last so long as I had questions I wanted to ask so we went up front and introduced ourselves to – who I felt sure was Jackie Wukela (due to facebook). She is typical of most of the folks we “know” through the paper. We’ve talked on the phone and e-mailed back and forth, but never met – face to face.

The minute we did this, Carolyn Epperly, who I’ve talked to many times at Tidwell’s Art Gallery, but not in a while, said “I thought you looked familiar.” Jackie Wukela and Lynda English, who are members of Lowcountry Artists Ltd. are also part of the visual art community in Florence, SC, where they live and have a gallery. So this was a twofer – we got to talk about Charleston and Florence’s art communities.

Before long the end of the art walk was on us and it was time to head back to Bonneau. On the ride home a few things struck me. We’ve been to two art walks in two months in Charleston and the art walks have changed – as have the galleries and artists who fill them with works since the days when we went to every one of them.

Charleston’s visual art community is moving away from what many people have tagged it as being for years, a city of artists who are in love with the city, a bad rap in my opinion. Sure there is lots of “tourist” art here to be had – it’s what most tourists want and Charleston is a tourist town, but the artists have moved on to creating what they want – hoping that the more discriminating visitors will want to take that art home. And, a good number of the artworks are being made by artists who live elsewhere – all over the US. The so called “Charleston” art is no longer a novelty – it’s now moved into the realm of novelties – souvenirs.

And, the art walks as I knew them have also changed. There was a time when an art walk in the French Quarter was a near festival – one big party event. I used to equate them to going to the Mall during Christmas – you’d run into everyone you haven’t seen since the last one there, but not so these days. There is an art walk every month in Charleston and most galleries stay open whether they’re in the group hosting it or not. So, it’s not such a special occasion any more. Still, lots of people go to them and enjoy them, but if it rains a little it’s easy to say – I’ll just go to the next one.

Of course my memories are from the 1990′s – what I call the golden age of the visual arts in the Carolinas. It might not be fair to make comparisons to current times – an age where many people are attacking the arts to gain political points and the economy has suffered one blow after another.

I for one am glad to be able to go to them again, but it might be some time before I go to the next one. We’re a little exhausted at this point and there’s so much going on all over the Carolinas. If you don’t believe me – just check our paper out at (www.carolinaarts.com). See how long it takes you to get through it all – end to end.

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

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011


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:


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”.


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.


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.


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).

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Close Call in Seagrove, NC, While Attending Celebration of Seagrove Potters’ 3rd Annual Spring Kiln Openings

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Being close only counts in a game of horseshoes. I was in Seagrove, NC, yesterday, April 16, 2011, for the 3rd Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potter’s Spring Kiln Openings, but besides a little rain, wind and thunder – at times, you wouldn’t have known that the deadliest storm system of the year was passing overhead and all around. A system that killed nearly 50 people and left millions of dollars in damage from Oklahoma to North Carolina – including an area just 10 miles from the headquarters of Carolina Arts in Bonneau, SC, where a tornado destroyed a church.

Such is life. It reminds me of a time when some high school friends and I decided to make a trip to Montreal, Canada for a weekend visit in 1969. When we got home we learned that the Woodstock Festival had taken place just 100 miles to the south in New York. Timing is everything, and I guess I had good timing yesterday as I traveled 200 miles to Seagrove and 200 miles back home and saw very little of what I would call nasty weather.

My day started at 4am. It almost felt like the old days when I delivered Carolina Arts. I had prepared food and drink, I had my pack of CD’s of the greatest music every made from the 1960′s and a full tank of gas. It’s a good thing the Honda is getting 42.5 mpg these days.

Linda, my better half, had been hoping to make this trip with me, but she still had a bad cold that had her confined to the house.

Within 45 minutes of leaving the homestead I was on I-95 heading towards Florence, SC, where I would pick up Hwy. 52 to head north to Rockingham, NC, where I would pick up Hwy. 220, the future I-74, I-73, which would take me right to Seagrove. I can’t wait for the day I don’t have to use the word “future” when I’m saying I-74 or I-73.

The first thing I noticed was that there was a steady stream of traffic on I-95 heading South. What was that all about? Then it hit me. It’s been awhile since our boy – who is now a man (with a job) was in school – this was the Disney World migration – Easter break for schools. I was glad I was heading North. For a few seconds I wondered if the forecast of the storm had turned for the worst overnight and folks were evacuating from NC.

And, where was that storm anyway? It had rained for a few moments when I was shaving, around 4:15am, but it didn’t even sprinkle again until I reached the NC border on US 1, between Cheraw, SC, and Rockingham, the worst part of my travels this day – a narrow single lane road. But 5 minutes out of Seagrove on Hwy. 220, it seemed that the skies had opened up, but again for less than a few minutes. So, a little rain for a few minutes every hour wasn’t too bad.

The trip to Seagrove took 3 1/2 hours including two stops along the way. And, I don’t ever speed.

My first stop, after a visit to one of the new Rest Areas outside of Seagrove on Hwy 220, was Bulldog Pottery. I was the first visitor of the day, just after 9am.


Works inside Bulldog Pottery

I was first greeted by Bruce Gholson at the shop and then we walked back down to the house where I was soon greeted by Samantha Henneke and of course Mighty Max, their bulldog. Max always looks smaller in pictures. In about a half hour he finally settled down.

I always enjoy my early morning visits to Bulldog Pottery, as it means conversations about marketing, social media, and what’s going on in Seagrove. The only disappointment on this day was that Ed and Gloria Henneke, Samantha’s parents were gone on a trip to Florida. They always add some good insights into any conversation. But, before long the electronic warning system was going off telling them someone was driving up to the shop. The day was beginning.

Bruce went up to the shop to deal with the visitors and Samantha and I talked a bit more about Facebook, blogging, and Twitter. She’s trying to sell me on Twitter and I’m being a hard sell. During the conversation a few more warning signals went off and before long there was a knock at the door and it was a couple who were collectors of Bulldog Pottery’s wares. They wanted to say hello to Samantha and let her know they had purchased one of her wall hangings – which apparently someone else had expressed an interest in.

This brought up a conversation about putting off the purchase of something you fall in love with at first sight and sometimes losing out when you finally decide you can’t live without it – but then have to learn to do just that as someone else decided it had to be their’s sooner than later.

About 30 minutes later at the shop, Samantha and I watched a visitor from the New England area do just that, but this guy was going to be in bigger trouble as I think it was his wife who really wanted to buy a piece and he wanted to wait and see what the day would bring. He’ll probably be hearing about that decision all the way back to New England.

That’s right, Seagrove has much more pull than regionally in NC, my 200 mile trip was nothing compared to how far some people travel to get their fix of Seagrove pottery. They draw people from all over the world. It’s not like having an art gallery in Charleston, SC, where you can see walk ins from around the world – people visiting Charleston. The city of Seagrove, with all it’s charms – is no Charleston. Most people you find there are there for the pottery. And, I think the folks who live in Seagrove like it that way.

Speaking of downtown Seagrove, my next stop was the newly opened Co-op of Seagrove Potters, at 128 East Main, at the corner of North Street. A group of ten or so of the local potters have joined together to open this new shop. You might call it a visitor’s center for their potteries.

The participating potteries include: Bulldog Pottery, Dover Pottery, Latham’s Pottery, Lufkin Pottery, Michelle Hastings & Jeff Brown Pottery, Nelda French Pottery, Old Gap Pottery, Ole Fish House Pottery, Seagrove Stoneware, and Tom Gray Pottery. Nelda French, who was maintaining the shop this day told me she was the only potter of the group who didn’t have another pottery shop – yet. All the others can be found throughout the Seagrove area – one was just a block away.

The Co-op will be open seven days a week so it will serve as a good ambassador to all the member potteries. There’s not a website yet, but you can reach them at 336/873-7713. The shop is centrally located in the heart of downtown Seagrove – you can’t miss them.

A few blocks away was the NC Pottery Center (www.ncpotterycenter.org), always a must stop when visiting Seagrove. They have a great display of works from all the potteries, along with maps to help you find the potteries. They always have an interesting exhibit of pottery from some area of NC or an interesting theme, they have a great display dealing with the history of pottery in NC, and they have rest rooms. The two dollar donation is well worth any of those factors and after you’re finished taking in all it has to offer you’ll feel like you would have paid much more to get in the door – guess what – they’ll accept any other amount of donation you feel like making. In these days of reduced public funding – they’ll need it.

The exhibit I wanted to see was Tea Time: Series I (Teapots and Tea cups), on view through Apr. 30, 2011, so you better hurry if you want to see it. This exhibit features functional teapots and tea cups, handmade by over 70 potters from across NC – some from the Seagrove area. And, what a show it is. Unfortunately, some of the works were presented under Plexiglas, but I got a few good photos of some of the works that were not covered.


Searching Heart Teapot by Richard Montgomery


Works by John Garland (L) and works by Marty Paul (R)

I was familiar with a good number of the potters represented, like Samantha Henneke and Bruce Gholson (Bulldog Pottery), Mark and Meredith Heywood (Whynot Pottery), Susan Filley (who was in Charleston, SC, for a while but is now in Durham, NC, at Claymakers Gallery), Ronan Kyle Peterson (Nine Toes Pottery in Chapel Hill, NC), and Michael Kline (in Bakersville, NC).


Works by Stanley Mace Anderson


Works by Molly Lithgo

Two potters I wish I could have gotten photos of their work were Betsy Vaden, who had a wonderful set called, Possum Tea Party, and a group of a teapot, cups with saucers by Jenny Lou Sherburn. But it’s impossible to get a decent photo through Plexiglas. I wish I could be showing them to you as no words I could say will do justice in describing them.

I know I would drink a lot more tea if I owned a teapot and cups like any of these creations, but then I’d also be afraid to use them on any regular basis. They all may be functional, but they were really fine works of art to me. But I might bring them out every once in a while to show off or if the Queen stopped by one day to discuss one of my commentaries.


Work by Susan Farrar Parrish

On the drive to Whynot pottery, beside thinking of cookies, I was wondering where this big storm was. It really wasn’t showing signs of any impending doom. I was passing potteries that had cars parked outside and was passing cars going here and there, but no rain, no big wind, no thunder. I wasn’t the only one who didn’t let a weather forecast spoil my plans.

As I drove into the parking area at Whynot I was greeted by Meredith Heywood – her cookie alarm must have gone off. I was soon escorted to their studio where they had set up this year’s Mud and Suds offerings, inside due to the forecasted storm. That’s also where the cookies were.


Tile by Laura Weant Johnson

Inside I found Laurie Abela from Abela Soaps, Laura Weant Johnson from Snow Hill Tileworks, Anne Raven Jorgensen from Raven Pottery and platters of cookies. Not just one kind of cookie, but about six to eight different kinds of cookies – all homemade. I can tell you this. I made a respectable tour of all the art offerings before one cookie touched my lips.


Handmade soap by Laurie Abela

You can read an earlier blog posting about Mud and Suds at this link. I took a few photos, but then what was that? It started raining and there was a few claps of thunder, was this finally the storm? But again, nothing lasted very long and  people were still driving up to take a look.


Some works by Anne Raven Jorgensen


A detail of a work by Anne Raven Jorgensen


I shot this one for Linda, but you can see my focus is on the pottery

At one point I went with Mark Heywood out to their shop when another group of folks drove up. While we were inside the shop a burst of wind came up, a little rain and then a few big claps of thunder (which shook the building) and we were wondering if this was it – the storm had arrived. But, in a few minutes, it was all gone. We talked a while about work he’s been doing with Wet Dog Glass, LLC, over at Starworks in Star, NC, just down the road. They make equipment for hot glass studios, but that’s another story.

It was getting late, so we headed back to the studio once the visitors cleared out and it seemed that the storm had also cleared out – for good this time. I got a few cookies for the road and said my good-byes. As I was getting in the car, a few more people drove up and I grabbed my camera for a parting shot – it looked great outside – there were even patches of blue sky coming through the gray. Little did we know – about this same time tornadoes were touching down just East of Seagrove, beginning their paths of destruction toward Raleigh, NC, and beyond.


Does this look like stormy weather?

Next I headed to Jugtown Pottery, I was hoping to run into Jennie Lorette Keatts at JLK Jewelry at Jugtown. As it turned out, she wasn’t there when I arrived. But I got to check out the goods at Jugtown and when some ladies finally surrendered the case of jewelry, I took my turn and made a few ladies wait on me. I’m sure they were wondering why I was taking it all in – for so long, but it’s always nice to see works up close that you have only seen in photos. Linda was really missing out.  Of course if she had come along, we might still be there.

Soon I was back on Hwy. 220 heading back South and the weather was improving, more sun, more blue skies. About 20 minutes into the drive Linda called telling me a tornado had hit Raleigh and was wondering if I was OK. No sign of storms or tornadoes on my radar. About an hour later she called again and said there was a report of a church being hit by a tornado in St. Stephen, SC, a town about 10 miles from Bonneau where we live on Hwy. 52. I said I guess I’ll see – as I had to drive past that area on the way home. Our power was also out at home.

By the time I got back to Florence – back to I-95, it was just another spring day in SC – clear blue skies on one side of the Interstate and a bank of clouds far off near the coast on the other side. When I got to St. Stephen I could tell they had a big downpour, as the streets we littered with leaves and pinecones, but as I made the big turn in the middle of town, I could see down the road a line of cars, and many vehicles with flashing lights. The closer I got, it looked as if every emergency vehicle in the county was there and half of St. Stephen was there looking at what used to be a building used as a church.

The building was demolished. The path of destruction was about as wide as a football field and not as long as one. It was as if a giant had put his foot down and smashed everything. Across the four lanes of the highway there was no damage at all. This was a very specific hit – very weird. Luckily, no one was killed.

All day Sunday we received e-mails and calls from friends who had seen the news stories on the major networks and The Weather Channel who wondered if we were OK. It was about ten miles away. Here I had driven 400 miles through an area that was in the watch and warning area – seeing nothing and ten miles from our home gets hit. It just goes to show that Mother Nature is unpredictable – she’s gonna do what she’s gonna do.

I was happy to see reports on Facebook and in a few pottery blogs that many more people showed up in Seagrove on Sunday. I guess you could say – they and I were lucky.

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Chasing Tornados in Seagrove, NC

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Real hard core pottery lovers don’t let reports of the deadliest storm system of the year stop them from attending the Celebration of Seagrove Potters Spring Kiln Openings in Seagrove, NC. And for all those who stayed home in fear of what they might run into in Seagrove, we see more rain, thunder and lightening on any given afternoon – all summer long, here at the lake and FYI – a tornado struck a church about 10 miles from our home today.


Photo from Post & Courier newspaper in Charleston, SC

So tomorrow when the weather is great, all you fair-weather pottery lovers will be able to safely follow in the foot prints of the more adventuresome travelers. The potters in Seagrove still have plenty of fine pots waiting for you. Go get some.

More about my day later.

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The Annual Spring Kiln Opening at Whynot Pottery in Seagrove, NC, Takes Place – Apr. 16 and 17, 2011

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

The annual Spring Kiln Opening at Whynot Pottery in Seagrove, NC, will take place on April 16, 10am-5pm and April 17, from 10am-4pm. I know there will be other kiln openings in Seagrove during this time and we’ll get to that, but these folks sent us info and they are good supporters of Carolina Arts. We don’t have any gold stars to put in their notebook so this is the best we can do to ask you to support them by going and buying everything they have. I might even show up to encourage folks along – I’ll be the one dancin’ a jig for gas money.

Joining Meredith and Mark Heywood at Whynot Pottery this year will be:

Laurie Abela from Abela Soaps. “I’m a soap maker, massage therapist & cardiac nurse. I grow food, flowers & herbs, some of which I use in my soaps.” Check her out at (http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/).

Anne Raven Jorgensen from Raven Pottery. “My pots are all either thrown on the wheel and then altered or made from slabs of clay. I spend a lot of time decorating my pieces with wax-resist in intricate geometric designs. I also do a lot of decorating with slips in floral designs.” Check her works out at (http://www.ravenpottery.com/index.htm).

Laura Weant Johnson from Snow Hill Tileworks. Laura is well know for her fabulous tiles and jewelry. See her works at (http://snowhilltileworks.blogspot.com/).

Meredith and Mark are always willing to share opportunities with other artists and at the same time are willing to share the good talents of good friends with their visitors. That’s how they roll.

Whynot Pottery is located at 1013 Fork Creek Mill Road in Seagrove. You can find it if I could – just don’t drive too fast around those curves. If your GPS is broken or you can’t follow the map you picked up at the NC Pottery Center (don’t forget to see the Teapots exhibit) in downtown Seagrove – call 336/873-9276 – they’ll guide you in. But long before the dates roll up on you, check out their website, blog and Facebook page at these links: (www.whynotpottery.com), (http://whynotpotteryblog.blogspot.com/) or (http://www.facebook.com/whynotpotterywhynotnc). Get a good feel for what you’ll be taking home and who you can give that special gift to. Every mom could use a little pot on their special day – and that day is right around the corner. Get your head out of the clouds – I meant teapot.

To learn more about other kiln openings taking place in Seagrove at these same dates see our article on Page 36 of our April 2011 issue of Carolina Arts at (www.carolinaarts.com) or visit (www.DiscoverSeagrove.com).

You see, I wasn’t going to leave anyone out.

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Daffie Days Will be Popping Up at Bulldog Pottery in Seagrove, NC – Mar. 25 – 27, 2011

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke of Bulldog Pottery in Seagrove, NC, are working hard to make sure that more than the daffodils are adding to the color of Spring in Seagrove. The end result is Daffie Days – with fresh colorful pots at Bulldog Pottery – Mar. 25 – 27, 2011.

And, you can be sure that Ed and Gloria Henneke and Max the bulldog are right in the middle of the action. Of course Max will being doing home security duties during the event – so feel free to show your legs – they probably need some sun after this Winter.

Hours for Daffie Days are:
Friday, Mar. 25 – 9am – 6pm
Saturday, Mar. 26 – 9am – 6pm
Sunday, Mar. 27 – 11am – 5pm

Bruce and Samantha will offer a variety of vases and studio art pottery. Daffie Days is their kiln opening to welcome the beginning of spring. Light refreshments will be available.

If you want to follow the action, just check out the Bulldog Pottery blog at (http://bulldogpottery.blogspot.com/). Or go “Like” their Facebook Page.

Can’t make it! Let me take a few seconds for this to settle in.

OK – let’s say you’re getting married that weekend or having elective cosmetic surgery. I guess that’s understandable.

Makeup days will be Apr. 16 & 17, 2011, when Bulldog Pottery participates with other Seagrove area potteries during the Seagrove Celebration of Spring Kiln Openings. We’ll have more about that later.

And, if you’re the kind of person who’s about to tell me you can’t make it that weekend, as that’s the weekend you and the gang planned to meet after that big job you pulled off and the statute of limitations have run out – OK – another pass, but you have to make it to this next event – no excuses.

Cousins in Clay 2011 will be held at Bulldog Pottery on May 28 & 29, 2011. This year’s guest potters will be Jack Troy from Pennsylvania and Peter Lenzo from South Carolina.

If you don’t make that event – the next person at your door just might be wearing a dark blue jacket with the letters F. B. I. stenciled on the back. And, if you hear them say – “Bring up Max” – run!

Bulldog Pottery is located, 5 miles south of the town of Seagrove, NC, on Business 220 (right off of future Interstate 73/74).

For more information about these events call 336/302-3469, e-mail to (bulldog@bulldogpottery.com), or visit (www.bulldogpottery.com).

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Seagrove, NC, Potters Raise Money for Elementary School Art Departments

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

The Seagrove Area Potters Association (SAPA) raised $800 for local schools at the 3rd annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters held in Seagrove, NC, last November. Seagrove and Westmoore elementary schools each received $400 from the organization to be used specifically in the schools’ art departments.


Ben Owen presents a check to Westmoore Elementary art teacher Pat Yow

Mary Ellen Robinson, Seagrove Elementary School art teacher, used the money to purchase over 100 pieces of bisque ware in fun shapes for children to decorate. The shapes include frogs, flip flops, and geckos. Dinner plates and coffee mugs were purchased, as well.

Robinson plans to have a pottery night in March. Parents will be invited to purchase the bisque pots for their children to glaze. All proceeds will go back into the art department. Local potters, Bonnie Burns and Sally Lufkin Saylor have volunteered to help with the project.

Westmoore Elementary School art teacher, Pat Yow said the money helped tremendously. She purchased several art supplies with her donation, including clay. Yow plans to have her students work on a number of clay projects in the coming months.


Seagrove Elementary School art teacher, Mary Ellen Robinson and some of her fifth grade art students display bisque ware that was bought with a donation from the Seagrove Area Potters Association. Students, from left to right: Mason White, Tanner Perdue, Megan Jarrell and Samuel Saylor.

The donation was funded by a special children’s booth at the Celebration of Seagrove Potters. Many participating potters donated pieces for the booth. All pots were priced between $1 and $5 to be affordable for children, who were the only ones allowed to purchase the pots.

The Celebration of Seagrove Potters takes place each year during the weekend before Thanksgiving. The event has always included two booths specially designated for children and will continue to do so in the future. In addition to the fund raising booth, there is also a booth that invites children to tap into their creativity and sculpt with clay.

The potters involved in SAPA are dedicated to inspiring the next generation of artists. “SAPA is committed to all the arts, but especially to the tradition of making pottery. We feel that contributing to local schools’ art departments will not only help with the arts in general, but will also keep the pottery tradition alive,” said Bobby Marsh, SAPA president.

Upcoming during the weekend of Apr. 16-17, 2011, is the Celebration of Spring in Seagrove Studio Tour with over 50 clay artists offering special events and kiln openings throughout the Seagrove area. Spring has always been a time for renewal and awakening in Seagrove and this year an unprecedented number of shops are opening their doors together to Celebrate spring with special events. It’s a great weekend to come out and leisurely browse, shop and experience a 200-year-old tradition, see the process, develop and renew relationships with the potters of Seagrove in their individual shops. Check the SAPA website for maps and more information.

For further information visit (www.DiscoverSeagrove.com).

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News About the Seagrove, NC, Pottery Area

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

From the NC Pottery Center

Dr. Everette James has once again donated an important collection of North Carolina pottery to the NC Pottery Center (http://www.ncpotterycenter.com/) in Seagrove, NC. Several years ago he gave several hundred pots that served as the core of a highly successful fund-raising auction held by Leland Little Auctions in Hillsborough, NC. This time he has given over 100 items for our permanent collection.

James’ newest gift includes a great variety of forms, including early lead glazes and signed utilitarian wares from J.D. Craven, J.F. Brower, George Donkel, and O. Henry Pottery. James of course is the author of North Carolina Art Pottery, 1900-1960 (Collector Books, 2003), and so it is not surprising that his gift features major 20th century artists such as A.R. Cole, J.B. Cole, Ben Owen, Joe Owen, M.L. Owen, and numerous others. Among the rarities are a Glenn Art Pottery vase with the original sticker, a buzzard vase by J.B. Cole, a pale blue dinner set from A. R. Cole, and an earthenware vase with cobalt flows from the Auman Pottery.

James’ donation is now nestled in the storage cupboards upstairs, but a future exhibition is being planned to show off this new acquisition. The NC Pottery Center ask all its supporters to thanks Dr, James whenever you see him. No one has been more generous to the Center.

Ben Owen Pottery Gallery Opens at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte

The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte (NC) has opened its exclusive new Ben Owen Pottery Gallery, presenting custom pottery pieces from renowned Seagrove, NC, artist Ben Owen III (http://www.benowenpottery.com/). The new retail setting will be open to the public daily and has been created to feature the work of an acclaimed contemporary potter whose pieces already highlight the hotel’s extensive contemporary art collection.

The gallery will offer 75-100 one-of-a-kind pieces of Ben Owen III pottery, with prices beginning at $45. Works will range from pots, vases, jars, bowls and platters to major showpieces and spectacular larger works of art. All items are hand-created by Ben Owen, who also will make special appearances at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte for 2011 art weekends and art demonstrations.

The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte is located at 201 East Trade Street, in Uptown Charlotte, NC. The Ben Owen Pottery Gallery will be open daily from 9am to 6pm.

Valentine’s Day Shopping on Busbee Road

Valentine’s Day is about celebrating those you love. What better gift than something handmade by an artist. The Seagrove Potters of Historic Busbee Road are planning a weekend shopping experience designed to fit your Valentine’s Day shopping needs,  on Friday, Feb. 11 and Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011.

Ten shops, including three museums, a jeweler, a blacksmith and a wide variety of other crafts, all in less than a three mile scenic drive, where pottery has been made continuously for over 100 years will offer their creative talents. There is something for everyone on your list in the shops starting on Busbee Road at Pottery Highway 705 and ending at Jugtown Road.

Participents in the event include: Ben Owen Pottery, Chris Luther Pottery, Westmoore Pottery, Hickory Hill Pottery, Mill Creek Forge, O’Quinn Pottery, Cady Clay Works, Original Owens Pottery, Moore Pots Pottery, Jugtown Pottery, and JLK Jewelry at Jugtown.

Visit  (www.potteryofbusbeeroad.com) for direct  links to the individual pottery websites. You can pick up the brochure for the Busbee Road section of the Seagrove pottery area at the NC Pottery Center, all NC Welcome Centers and at any of the shops along Busbee Road.

Just Another Day at the Pottery at From the Ground Up

Follow Michael Mahan and the crew at From the Ground Up pottery as they make 500 award pots for the 2011 Uwharrie Mountain Run on his blog found at (http://fromthegrounduppots.blogspot.com/). If you think potters slow down during the winter months – think again.

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The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte Opens Ben Owen Pottery Gallery in Uptown Charlotte, NC – Jan. 12, 201

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

When I first receive this press release I was blown away – what a major plus for Ben Owen III and Seagrove pottery in general that The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte would put this gallery inside their hotel. But, I would soon learn that The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte has made art a major ongoing focus of the hotel – which you’ll learn more about later. For now, here the info about this new gallery in Uptown Charlotte.

The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte (NC) will unveil its exclusive new Ben Owen Pottery Gallery on Jan. 12, 2011, presenting custom pottery pieces from renowned North Carolina artist Ben Owen. The new retail setting will be open to the public daily and has been created to feature the work of an acclaimed contemporary potter whose pieces already highlight the hotel’s extensive contemporary art collection.

Seventy of Ben Owen’s original pieces are currently on display throughout The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, and the opening of his first gallery in the city will open up new access to hotel guests and local residents wishing to purchase his work.

The Ben Owen Pottery Gallery at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte will offer 75-100 one-of-a-kind pieces of Ben Owen pottery art, with prices beginning at $45. Works will range from pots, vases, jars, bowls and platters to major showpieces and spectacular larger works of art. All items are hand-created by Ben Owen, who also will make special appearances at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte for 2011 art weekends and art demonstrations.

“We are honored to be working with an artist of Ben Owen’s stature,” said David Rothwell, General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte. “Many of our guests have commented on his work in our hotel public areas, and we are delighted to now make it available on a retail basis. We look forward to welcoming Mr. Owen to special art events at the hotel as well.”

Born and raised in the legendary Seagrove, NC pottery tradition, Ben Owen III learned his art from his grandfather, Ben Owen, Sr., the long-time master potter at North Carolina’s Jugtown Pottery. Like his grandfather and other Seagrove potters, young Ben Owen has made a special study of Asian ceramics, finding that the Seagrove tradition has a special affinity for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean forms and glazing techniques. Owen incorporates these influences into vibrant glazed pieces which offer simplicity, strikingly smooth shapes and brilliant colors yielding to earth tones. Owen’s works are owned by some of the world’s most high-profile collectors, with his large installations also seen in Ritz-Carlton hotels and select private residences worldwide.

The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte is home to several hundred pieces of fine art presented in striking locations throughout the hotel, from the first-floor Lobby and second-floor meeting spaces to guest rooms, corridors and the penthouse Spa & Wellness Center. The hotel’s commitment to supporting local art and artists is visible as pieces and artists from the Carolinas are given special prominence in this curated collection.

The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte is located at 201 East Trade Street, in Uptown Charlotte, NC. The Ben Owen Pottery Gallery will be open daily from 9am to 6pm.

For further information call the hotel at (704/547-2244) or visit (http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Charlotte/Default.htm).

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Word and Pictures are Starting to Come Out from the 3rd Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters in Seagrove, NC

Saturday, November 20th, 2010


Some of the blogging potters in Seagrove, NC, who are part of the 3rd Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters have started posting pictures and feedback on their blogs.

If you can’t read between the lines – I couldn’t go this year – I’m spend the weekend working on another pottery project. Announcement coming soon.

First word came from Around and About with Bulldog Pottery by Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke of Bulldog Pottery. They’re young with lots of energy. And, Michael Mahan posting at From the Ground Up has offered images of his booth.

I’m sure it won’t be long before we see a report from Meredith and Mark Heywood on the Whynot Pottery Blog about what’s been going on.

New – I’ve added in Touya News the blog of Takuro Shibata and Hitomi Akebi Shibata and Turning Mud Into Gemstones the blog of Jennie Lorette Keatts. Both have added more info from the Celebration.

All of their blogs offer links to other blog where news may be soon popping up. So, if you’re like me and can’t go this year – live through the blogs.

This morning I got a call from my friend Will Ravenel who went with me to the Celebration last year – from the Celebration. He was wondering if I was on my way. I wish. And, then later he called to tell me I was again responsible for him leaving a boat load of money in Seagrove.

It’s what I do – turn people on to ways they can better spend their money – on items with lasting value. And, if you only look – that’s OK too.

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