Posts Tagged ‘Seagrove Area Potters Association’

From the Ashes of Many Kilns, Seagrove, NC, the Center of Pottery in North Carolina, Rises Every Spring

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Now that’s something to think about. When you finish scratching your head – I’ll explain.

When you have to write about annual events, unlike the organizers who can just slap a number in front of the event’s name – we in the media – the elite media – have to come up with a clever hook. In this case I wish I had one in the kiln – cooking until it was ripe for reading. Unfortunately we’ll have to go with this one.


Work by Bruce Gholson

Potters in Seagrove are like the makers of Doritos – you can buy all you want – they’ll just keep making more. And, who can ever have enough pottery – especially the kind they make in Seagrove. When you have near a hundred competitors in a small community like Seagrove, unlike Doritos – you can’t keep cranking out the same old, same old – they’re always producing something different – different shapes, different clays, different glazes, and different patterns. That’s why people keep going back – you want to see what they’re cookin’ up now.

Some people say I go to Seagrove too much. I say – tell me where I can go and see so much variety in such concentration? And, when they’re having a special organized event – all the better. Hey, I’m not saying Seagrove is the end of the world as far as pottery goes. I’ve seen some pottery in my day in other places in the Carolinas. Some of my best pieces didn’t come from Seagrove and some came from places far from Seagrove. There’s lots of great pottery being made all over the Carolinas with a heavy concentration in North Carolina, but the difference is…

The folks in Seagrove talk the talk and walk the walk. They go the extra mile to invite people to come there. They want to be number one and they work hard at it. I don’t wear blinders when I’m looking around the Carolinas. I see what’s going on and there’s no place promoting itself like Seagrove. I’m waiting for some other region to stand up and say – “Hey – what about us?” and then back it up. I’ve been waiting.


Work by Chad Brown

And like the old gun-slingers of the West – if you want to be number one – you have to be better every time to stay on top.

That’s why I’m big on Seagrove and have no problem telling people to go there and saying you won’t be disappointed you did – as far as the pottery goes. Seagrove as a town doesn’t have much to offer (nor does the town I live near), but I’m not telling you to go there for anything but the pottery and some pretty good scenery. And, with very few exceptions – they’re some pretty great people there too, but that’s a story for another day – the exceptions I mean.


Work by Ben Owen III

If you’ve been there – you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve never been there – my gosh – what are you waiting for?

If all the stars and planets line up – I might even get to go there for this event. That’s right – another trip to Seagrove. How about you?


Work from Whynot Pottery

Here’s the official press release:

Editor’s Note: If you think my number of potters don’t match up with those mentioned in the press release, there are potters who don’t participate in all events and those few exceptions I mentioned. Also, one suggestion. Your best first stop on Saturday could be the NC Pottery Center. They have the scoop on the area and some nice exhibits too.

Celebration of Seagrove Potter’s Spring Kiln Openings Cool Off in Seagrove, NC – Apr. 21 & 22, 2012

The 4th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potter’s Spring Kiln Openings will take place in and around Seagrove, NC, on Apr. 21 and 22, 2012. The event features the work of 65 potters representing 36 different potteries.

The Seagrove potters’ studios are nestled throughout the countryside – separated by short leisurely drives in and nearby the town of Seagrove.  At the various Seagrove potteries there will be special kiln openings and exhibits, new pottery works featured, demonstrations, and refreshments planned for the pottery lover.

Pick up a full-color Discover Seagrove map and guide at any of the Seagrove potters’ shops participating in the Spring Celebration. Each shop is celebrating Spring in its own way. Hours may differ from shop to shop.

Participating potteries include: Southern Spirits Pottery @ A. Teague Village, Avery Pottery & Tileworks, Ben Owen Pottery, Blue Hen Pottery, BlueStone Pottery, Bulldog Pottery, Caldwell-Hohl Artworks, Chris Luther Pottery, Crystal King Pottery, Dean and Martin Pottery, Dirt Works Pottery, Donna Craven Pottery, Eck McCanless Pottery, Fireshadow Pottery, From the Ground Up Pottery, Great White Oak Gallery, Hickory Hill, JLK Jewelry at Jugtown, Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery, Jugtown Pottery, Kings Pottery, Lathams Pottery, Luck’s Ware, Lufkin Pottery, McNeill’s Pottery, Michele Hastings & Jeff Brown Pottery, Nichols Pottery, O’Quinn Pottery, Pottery by Frank Neef, Ray Pottery, Seagrove Stoneware, Smith Pottery, Studio Touya, Thomas Pottery, Tom Gray Pottery, and Whynot Pottery.

For further info visit the Seagrove Area Potters Association at (http://www.discoverseagrove.com/) or visit (http://www.celebrationofseagrovepotters.com).

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A Trip to the 4th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters in Seagrove, NC

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Well, after a trip to Vista Lights in Columbia, SC, I was lucky to get a day in-between before I hit the road again on my way to Seagrove, NC, a 3 1/2 hour trip North of the Carolina Arts headquarters in Bonneau, SC. When I left home it was 37 degrees and as I headed North is got a little cooler for the first hour, then it eventually started to warm up as the sun began to do its magic. I got to Seagrove just after 10am and the parking lots were pretty jammed at Luck’s Cannery, but people were leaving carrying bags full of pottery. Within a few minutes a space opened up.

Once inside the historic Luck’s Cannery I paid my $5 admission, filled out my raffle card, and got myself ready to jump into the salmon stream. My plan was to make one full run to see all the booths before I’d stop and talk with anyone. You know once I start talking everything else falls to the wayside. As most best laid plans go, I found it hard to do this in one steady stream. So, like most salmon I took some tracks ahead, some backwards, some around a corner or two to tried another route. I think three quarters of the way around I gave up and grabbed the first potter I knew – also trying to swim upstream and pulled him to the side. This was Bruce Gholson of Bulldog Pottery.

I started the conversation with a little inside joke asking him where Phil Morgan’s booth was. That question dates back to the pottery festival wars that took place a few years ago. I think all potters in Seagrove would agree that Seagrove is BIG enough for two pottery festivals to exist – another joke as Seagrove is a very small town. Gholson gave me a look that said – you media folks really like to stir things up. It’s all water and salmon over the falls now. After a little catching up with Gholson I started my run again.


This is a shot of the side of Ray Pottery’s booth


Fred Johnston in the Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery Booth


Ben Owen III in his booth


A work at Fat Beagle Pottery booth

Once I thought I had seen everything once, the first booth I stopped into was Whynot Pottery where Meredith Heywood was fighting her own battle taking people’s money and wrapping up their purchases. This would be the theme of the day. I soon realized that this was not going to be a day of catching up with folks from Seagrove except for a few lines here and there. Even standing in a booth for a few seconds got you some looks that said – either you buy something or get out of my way, mister – a message I take in stride as my rule is the customer always comes first – conversation last.


A shot inside Seagrove Stoneware’s booth


A shot inside Bulldog Pottery’s booth


Jennie Lorette Keatts behind the JLK Jewelry at Jugtown’s booth

Taking photos with my camera was a bit of a problem. Using flash to get decent images of shiny pottery is difficult without a better camera and flash unit. The lighting inside the building was way up and booths were full of extra lights that created problems for light meters in cameras, and then there was the constant flow of people. Although I will say that many times when I raised my camera to my eye – people held up to let me take a shot. At least those who saw what I was doing did. Most had that glazed look you see on people’s faces during Black Fridays. They only see what they want – they don’t see anything in between their goal of getting it.

So I spent a lot of my time looking around, gathering materials placed on tables, reading those materials and occasionally getting a word in when I could. And, there was so much to look at – works by over 60 potteries by over 100 potters. Having this opportunity for just $5 is a gas saving bargain. There is no way you could travel to all these potteries without burning up much more in gas, not to mention how many times you might get lost. But, in the Seagrove area that can be part of the journey – the countryside is beautiful.


NC Pottery Booth


A display of some of the paintings by potters for an upcoming fundraiser
at the NC Pottery Center. Potters can paint too – imagine that.

At one point I retreated to the first room where you enter the building which contained tables set up by related organizations like the NC Pottery Center and festival sponsors like Our State magazine. That’s also where the silent auction was taking place of donated works of pottery and then there was also the goodies table – where they had all these yummy looking treats. Pottery demos were going on and there was a special section for children’s activities and even a special area where only children could buy items at special prices. This room was less competitive.


Here’s some big pots by Donna Craven


Do you think this person likes Ben Owen III’s Chinese Red Pots?


Some more big pots by Daniel Johnston

By the time I went outside for lunch the weather was in the 50′s and very nice. The Celebration had provided a full range of food vendors on site, but like most of the time when I travel I carry my food with me. I learned from my many years of delivering papers to control what goes in my body and I only eat foods that offer no surprises on the road. TMI – I know.

By lunch time the crowd began to thin a little, so I headed back in for round two where I got a few more pictures and had a few more conversations. I think it was on this run that the hunter became the hunted. At Bulldog Pottery’s booth I was “tagged” as they say on Facebook by Samantha Henneke. By the time I got home later that day there was a photo of me at the Celebration up on Facebook. She had the home-field advantage on me.


Ed Henneke, Bruce Gholson, and Samantha Henneke at Bulldog Pottery’s
booth. I like this photo for the lady thinking how many gifts she could get in
this one booth.


Meredith Heywood drowning in sales at the Whynot Pottery booth before her
sister came to the rescue.


A very busy Michael Mahan at the From the Ground Up Booth

During this second run I finally got to talk with Rhonda McCanless, publisher of In the Grove, a publication about the Seagrove area. She and her husband Eck McCanless have opened their own pottery, Eck McCanless Pottery, since I was last in Seagrove and on this day she was a retailer not a publisher, although copies of In the Grove were going like hotcakes at the admission desks.

I also got a few words in with Jennie Lorette Keatts of JLK Jewelry at Jugtown. But there were some folks I was hoping to talk with but never caught them when they were not in the middle of a sale or deep in discussion with someone who sounded like they were talking about something more important than what I had to say – which was a good thing, I think. This was an important weekend for these potters as visits to Seagrove will fall off during the upcoming Winter. So, I hope they forgive me for not speaking with them – I wanted to and tried, but never got the opportunity.

After I felt I had accomplished all I could, with the limited time I had, I headed over to the NC Pottery Center to see the exhibit, Collecting North Carolina Pottery for 75 Years, on view through Jan. 28, 2012. The North Carolina Pottery Center and The Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, have partnered to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Mint Museum as an art institution with this special exhibition. In this exhibition, the Mint acknowledges the vital role of collectors, past and present, in making its North Carolina pottery collection one of the largest and most important in the country. The Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte, NC, is also presenting a companion exhibit, A Thriving Tradition: 75 Years of Collecting North Carolina Pottery, featuring more than 100 examples of the Mint’s pottery collection, which has now grown to more than 2,100 examples that includes objects that range from the last quarter of the eighteenth century to the first decades of the twenty-first. This exhibit will be on view through Jan. 5, 2013.

All the works at the NC Pottery Center were under plastic cases, so I took no photos of any of those works. But if you’re into pottery, this is a good show to see a little of the history of NC pottery by examples – great examples.

A pretty neat thing on view at the Pottery Center was a Transparent Kiln put together by a group of Estonian ceramic instructors and students, as well as clay students from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. It shows you how a kiln would be packed as it is fired. A sight that usually only the potter sees.

It’s a good thing that the Mint Museum and the NC Pottery Center have these collections, as many of us may never get the chance to see some examples of these historical works since they all might be held in private collections – behind closed doors. And, it’s also a good thing that some of these collectors have donated their collections or parts of their collections to these institutions.

If you missed the 4th Celebration of Seagrove Potters – shame on you, but you’re in luck. You see, Seagrove is a very active pottery community – something is going on all the time. Here’s a list of some of the events going on in December.

Dec. 3, 2011, 10am-5pm – Chris Luther Pottery Kiln Opening

Dec. 3, 2011, 9am-5pm – Blaine M. Avery- Avery Pottery and Tileworks – Holiday Kiln opening

Dec. 3, 2011, 8:30am-5pm – Jugtown Pottery & JLK Jewelry at the Jugtown Holiday Kiln Opening

Dec. 3, 2011, 9am-5pm – Holiday Open House at Westmoore Pottery

Dec. 3, 2011, 10am-5pm – Thomas Pottery – 2011 Holiday Kiln Opening

Dec. 3, 2011, 10am-5pm & Dec. 4, 2011, noon-4pm – Eck McCanless Pottery Holiday Weekend

Dec. 10 & 11, 2011 – Seagrove Stoneware – Annual Kiln Opening & Gallery Sale

Dec. 17, 2011, 9am-5pm – Bulldog Pottery Holiday Kiln Opening

Dec. 17, 2011, 10am-5pm – Ben Owen Pottery – Holiday Chinese Red Kiln Opening – 2011

Dec. 17, 2011, 10am-5pm – Chris Luther Pottery Kiln Opening

For other info about what’s going on with the potters in Seagrove visit (http://www.discoverseagrove.com).

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4th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters Takes Place in Seagrove, NC – Nov. 18-20, 2011

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Planning for the 4th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters is well underway and the participating artists are all busily working on special pieces for the Celebration weekend, as well as on collaborative pieces to be auctioned at the Friday night Gala, on Nov. 18, 2011, from 6-9pm, including a catered reception and live music. The Celebration then opens on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, from 9am-6pm, and a second, silent auction will take place on Saturday from 1-3pm. The event continues on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011, from 10am-4pm.

Of course all this takes place at historic Luck’s Cannery, located at 798 NC Hwy 705 (the Pottery Highway) in Seagrove, NC.

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

Last year’s event was another resounding success, drawing over 400 people to the Friday evening Gala and over 5,000 folks from NC and multiple states to the unique festival weekend. Each year the event has generated a total measurable financial impact of over $485,000.


Collaborative work by Jugtown Pottery and JLK Jewlery

The Celebration is distinctive; it is a showcase of the pottery artists of Seagrove, an area that covers the three county corner region of Randolph, Moore and Montgomery counties. Over 100 Seagrove potters, from 62 shops, are participating this year. Participating shops are: Avery, Ben Owen, Blue Hen, Blue Stone, Bulldog, Cadwell-Hohl, Chad Brown, Chris Luther, Country Pots, Cross Creek, Crystal King, Daniel Johnston, David Stuempfle, Dean & Martin, Dirt Works, Dixieland, Donna Craven, Dover, Eck McCanless, Fat Beagle, Firestone, From the Ground Up, Gingerbread House, Great White Oak Gallery, Hatfield, Hickory Hill, Humble Mill, JLK Jewelry, Johnston & Gentithes, Jugtown, Keith Martindale, King’s, Koepnick, Kovack, Lantern Hill, Latham’s, Luck’s Ware, McCanless, McKay, Michele Hastings & Jeff Brown, Nelda French, Nichols, Old Gap, Ole Fish House, Original Owens, Patrick Rowe, Pebbles, Pottery by Frank Neef, Potts, Ray, Riggs, Rockhouse, Seagrove Stoneware, Studio Touya, The Hutch, Thomas, Tom Gray, Triple C, Turn & Burn, Uwharrie Crystalline, Whynot, and Windsong.


Collaborative work by Michal Mahan and Will McCanless

The Celebration of Seagrove Potters will again be held indoors at the historic Luck’s Cannery, on NC 705, Pottery Highway, one half mile south of the traffic light in Seagrove. The Celebration potters admire and continue the spirit of the original Luck’s Cannery – people of the Seagrove area working together to provide a future for their community. The festival offers shoppers a one-stop, indoor-shopping opportunity to purchase authentic Seagrove pottery. The show offers the chance to meet the Seagrove artists, to learn about and purchase their work, all under one roof. There is excitement in every booth, where the exhibits embrace a striking variety of forms and functions.

Seagrove is the largest working community of potters and clay artists in the country, and offers something for everyone. The event offers not only the authenticity of Seagrove pottery, but also the opportunity to participate in historical and educational demonstrations. Children have a special area dedicated to them, where they can try their hand in clay and also purchase specially “Kid Priced” pieces of pottery. A donation from the proceeds of the children’s area is given to the arts programs of our local elementary schools.

The event kicks off with the opening night Gala. Guests can peruse and purchase from the booths, while enjoying food and beverages, live jazz music and enjoy the opportunity to view and bid on collaborative, one-of-a-kind pottery pieces.

The planning and implementation of the Celebration of Seagrove Potters festival has become a strong example of community and teamwork. Many committees work together to bring this professional and creative event to life. Local companies and organizations, such as The Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau, First Bank, Randolph Hospital, Randolph Electric Membership Corporation, Randolph Telephone Membership Corporation, The North Carolina Zoological Society, Asheboro Magazine, Life 103.1, Carolina Arts, Our State Magazine, Flowers on Main, StarWorks, and Wet Dog Glass have already provided sponsorship and there are many opportunities still available to partner with additional sponsors who recognize the unique prospects provided by the distinctive demographics of the Celebration attendees. Contact Rhonda McCanless for additional sponsor information at 336/873-7412 or e-mail to (professional_page@rtmc.net).

Volunteers serve as the backbone of the festival. We strive to provide Celebration attendees the finest experience possible, warmly welcoming them to spend a leisurely time browsing and shopping, seeing the process, developing and renewing relationships with the potters of Seagrove. This would not be possible without the immense dedication of our volunteers, including members from the Asheboro City Council, The Randolph Arts Guild, auctioneers, educators, pottery lovers and collectors. We are always looking for ways to build on this essential team. Volunteers have the opportunity to work on many aspects of the festival, including the auctions, artist relations, gala preview event, production, special projects and more. Contact Bonnie Burns by e-mail at (volunteers@celebrationofseagrovepotters.com), (redhare@rtmc.net) or call 336/953-5491.

Seagrove pottery has long been known for its collectability and the Seagrove name is recognized worldwide. Located in the central piedmont, the town of Seagrove is at the intersection of NC Business Highway 220 and NC Highway 705, which in 2002 was designated as Pottery Highway because it runs through the heart of pottery country. Seagrove potters are located throughout the countryside, all around these two major roads, and are all easily accessible from them. The shops are diverse and interesting, and all worthy of a visit and most will be open throughout the Celebration weekend. The Celebration of Seagrove Potters merged with SAPA, (Seagrove Area Potters Association) a local non-profit marketing entity that promotes, publicizes and markets the Seagrove community of potters in August of 2008.

For up-to-date information and photos on the upcoming Celebration visit (www.CelebrationOfSeagrovePotters.com) and for more on potters of the Seagrove community and other local events visit (www.DiscoverSeagrove.com). Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook at Celebration of Seagrove Potters.

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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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A Look at the Seagrove, NC, Area Calendar – the Center of NC Pottery

Friday, November 5th, 2010

That “Center of NC Pottery” thing is more about a geographical description. We know there is pottery going on all over North Carolina, but it sounds good saying it. We definitely hear more from the potters in the Seagrove area. But if you ever want to know what’s going on or being planned in Seagrove, just check the site of the Seagrove Area Potters Association at (http://www.discoverseagrove.com/).


From Westmoore Pottery

First up is the Westmoore Pottery: Heritage Day, taking place on Nov. 13, 2010, 9am-5pm. In November of each year, Westmoore Pottery marks the anniversary of its founding in 1977 (33 years this year!) by celebrating both their own and North Carolina’s pottery heritage. The focus this year will be on styles made by North Carolina’s non-Moravian potters who were working in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The official Westmoore Pottery scrapbooks will also be hauled out for the day. Westmoore Pottery is located at 4622 Busbee Road in Seagrove. For further info call 910/464-3700, e-mail at (westmoore@rtmc.net) or visit (www.westmoorepottery.com).

Of course the exhibit, Pottery from the Coastal Carolina Clay Guild, is still on view at the North Carolina Pottery Center in “downtown” Seagrove through Nov. 13, 2010, and then from Nov. 23, 2010 through Feb. 12, 2011, the Center will be offering the exhibit, Collectors Eye, Series I: Seven Perspectives, featuring works from the collections of Monty Busick, Steve Compton, Bragg Cox, Leon Danielson, Joe Foster, George Hoffman, and Joe Wilkinson.

The NC Pottery Center is always a good first stop when visiting Seagrove.

To finnish off the month of November, you have the 3rd Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters which takes place at the historic Luck’s Cannery in Seagrove on Nov. 19 – 21, 2010. For further information e-mail (contact@celebrationofseagrovepotters.com) or visit (www.celebrationofseagrovepotters.com).

I’ve heard that there is another pottery festival going on in Seagrove at the same time and dates as the Celebration, but I don’t know anything about it – they haven’t contacted me about it so I have nothing to say about it.

Once we’ve filled ourselves with turkey and we wake up from that big nap, our thoughts turn to holiday gifts. The Seagrove area potters are there for you with kiln openings and other events.


Joseph Sand Pottery

Back in August we brought you news about a new pottery opening – not in Seagrove, but in the area between Randleman and Asheboro – just up the road from Seagrove or on the way, if you’re traveling on Hwy. 220 (the future I-73 & I-74) – Joseph Sand Pottery. Joseph Sand was hosting his first kiln opening and we hear it was a big success. His next kiln opening is on Dec. 4, 2010, (9am to 5pm) and Dec. 5, 2010, (noon to 5pm). They will have many of the same kind of items for sale again, including an array of large, sculptural vases.


Pottery by Joseph Sand


A peek inside the monster kiln at Joseph Sand Pottery

Joseph Sand Pottery is located at 2555 George York Road in Randleman, NC. For further info call 612/518-4051, e-mail at (joseph@jsspottery.com) and on the web at (www.jsspottery.com). He and his wife Amanda also offer a blog found at (www.sandceramics.blogspot.com).


From Westmoore Pottery

Westmoore Pottery (4622 Busbee Road, Seagrove, NC) will also be offering a Holiday Open House on Dec. 4, 2010, from 9am to 5pm. Join the folks at Westmoore Pottery as they celebrate the holiday season. The shop will be decorated for the holidays, and a kiln load of pottery will be unloaded, including special pieces made just for this day. Refreshments will be served. For further info call 910/464-3700, e-mail at (westmoore@rtmc.net) or visit (www.westmoorepottery.com).

Also on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010, from 9:30am-5:30pm Seagrove potters Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke will have a fresh variety of pottery in their shop for the holiday season. Visit them at their Bulldog Pottery studio, located at 3306 US Hwy 220 Seagrove, NC, for lively conversation about their recent work and light refreshments. For more information about Samantha and Bruce’s holiday kiln opening call them at 336/302-3469, e-mail to (bulldog@bulldogpottery.com), or visit (www.bulldogpottery.com).


From Thomas Pottery

Thomas Pottery at 1295 S. NC 705 Hwy. in Seagrove will have its 2010 Holiday Kiln Opening on Dec. 4, 2010, from 10am-5pm & Dec. 5, 2010, from 1-4pm. Thomas Pottery welcomes you to see their most popular hand-painted log cabin snow scene dinnerware with accompanying serving pieces. Angels, candle holders, holiday trays and an array of tree ornaments will be offered. During this special event, tours of the studio and refreshments will be served. For further info call 336/879-4145, e-mail at (scottandbobbie@thomaspottery.com) or visit (www.thomaspottery.com).


A look inside Seagrove Stoneware

A little later in the month, Seagrove Stoneware at 136 W Main Street in Seagrove will host its Annual Kiln Opening & Gallery Sale on Dec. 11 & 12, 2010. Join them for their annual kiln opening and gallery sale featuring new work, one of a kind pieces, and special discounts in their gallery. For further information call 336/873-8283, e-mail at (artists@seagrovestoneware.com) or visit (www.seagrovestoneware.com).

Of course whenever you’re in Seagrove, there are 24 potteries that participated in the Seagrove Potters for Peace 2010 fundraiser for Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute. Since August of this year, the group has raised nearly $6000. These galleries have sold a lot of special items for this cause, but there are still plenty of items left to purchase. Check this link to see which potteries have items left. For more information and a list of participating potters, go to (www.seagrovepottersforpeace.com) or call 910/464-5661.

There you go. This is what I know is going on, but I bet there is always something else going on that I don’t know about. And like I said above – check out the site for the Seagrove Area Potters Association at (http://www.discoverseagrove.com/).

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Upcoming Events in Seagrove, NC, for Those Who Plan Ahead

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Believe it or not – there are a few folks who don’t know about Seagrove, NC – the center of North Carolina pottery. I mean – most around the world who know anything about clay – know about Seagrove, but some folks still don’t and a few others appreciate a heads up on events taking place there.

When I want to know what going on there I just check out a few of the blog links we have listed to the right including: Around and About with Bulldog Pottery; Whynot Pottery Blog; or Three Corners Clay. You can usually find info there or at any number of the blog links offered by these blogs.

Then I go to the website of the Seagrove Area Potters Association where they have an events section which is pretty informative.

And, of course you can always check us out – we usually have posted something about Seagrove – just click the Category – About Seagrove Pottery on the right side of the page.

So, what’s up or what’s coming up?

Well a good first stop in any visit to Seagrove is the NC Pottery Center. They are currently offering the exhibit, The Pottery of Buncombe County, A Historical and Contemporary Overview, on view through July 31, 2010.


Work by Kyle Carpenter

Plus, you can always find out what’s going on at the NC Pottery Center. They are an important resource for info about North Carolina pottery and pottery activities all over the region.


Works from Caldwell-Hohl Artworks

On July 17, 2010, there is the Caldwell-Hohl Artworks Garden Party. This is a fun day of music, pottery, garden art and light refreshments. the event is held at their studio in Seagrove from 10am – 5pm. Enjoy tours of the studio and log cabin. For more information call 336/879-9090 or e-mail to (caldellhohl@rtmc.net).

It seems like there is not much going on in July, but we learned during our coverage of the 2nd Annual Cousins in Clay event, that a lot more may be in the planning – we just don’t know about them yet and some folks seems to be shy about getting the word out. So, it’s always good to beat the bushes for last minute updates as to what’s going on.

Now, getting back to what we do know. The NC Pottery Center will be opening a new exhibit entitled, Pottery from the Coastal Carolina Clay Guild, on view from Aug. 13 through Nov. 13, 2010. So if you’ve visited the Pottery Center recently you’ll have a reason to return – as if you need one.

You can get a two for one by visiting Seagrove on Aug. 14, 2010, for the second Seagrove Potters for Peace event. This event was first inspired by Greg Mortenson’s book Three Cups of Tea and his Central Asia Institute (CAI) which builds schools in remote, impoverished areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Some of the potters of Seagrove wanted to help build schools too. This year’s event, Turning Stoneware into Schools, will be held on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010 from 9am to 5pm.


Young girls from Pakistan

Twenty-four potteries, a jeweler and a soap-maker are part of the Seagrove Potters for Peace this year. (Please note this group could grow with time.) A variety of vessels, including mugs, tea bowls and tumblers will be for sale, as well as miniature vases, jewelry and handmade soap. Proceeds will be donated to CAI. Copies of Mortenson’s books will also be available at some potteries.

Each pottery will produce a unique item, specially signed for this event. The pottery will be for sale at the individual shops on Saturday. There will be no early sales, but any remaining items can be ordered by e-mail or telephone on Monday, Aug. 16, 2010 from participating potteries.

To learn more about Greg Mortenson, his books, or the Central Asia Institute  – click on this link.

Related Event: The Randolph Friends of the Library will hold a community discussion about Afghanistan and Mortenson’s work on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010, at 7pm, at the Randolph Arts Guild, 123 Sunset Ave in downtown Asheboro, NC (just 12 miles from Seagrove). The discussion will be led by Dr. Jeff Jones, associate professor of Russian and world history at UNC-Greensboro. All ages are welcome. Copies of Mortenson’s books and a variety of pottery vessels will be for sale. Change will be collected for “Pennies for Peace”. Refreshments will be served.


Sid Luck

The next event in August will take place at Luck’s Ware Pottery Shop on Aug. 28, 2010 – Luck Legacy 12th Annual Kiln Opening, featuring Sid Luck, his past and present apprentices, and a groundhog kiln opening. The event starts at 9am and continues until 3pm with the Kiln opening taking place at 10am. Join them for BBQ, cold drinks, and bluegrass music by Steel Magnolia. For further info call 336/879-3261 or e-mail to (lucksware@rtmc.net).


Image from 2008 kiln opening

I’m going to skip September for now, only because I don’t know of anything going on in Seagrove in that month, but I’d bet my paper that something – several events will be taking place during that month.

So, at this point I’m jumping to October, 2010, and to Southern Pines, NC – not far from Seagrove, to an event which is the brain-child of Meredith Heywood of Whynot Pottery in Seagrove. Clay and Blogs: Telling a Story is an exhibit which will be presented at The Campbell House Galleries, from Oct. 1 – 29, 2010. This is the home of the Moore County Arts Council in Southern Pines. (That’s right, you’re thinking golf.)


Work by Jennifer Mecca of York, SC

This exhibition will give viewers a glimpse into a unique community of 50 working potters (some from Seagrove) who are separated by distance, but brought together through the common language of clay and the written word in a digital world. These potters share their lives, skills, thoughts, triumphs and defeats through an on-line medium called a blog or web log.

So here’s a chance to see some international pottery. Oh, and did I mention Carolina Arts is a media sponsor of this exhibit? Well, we are.

For more information and a list of participating blogging potters visit
(http://whynotpotteryblog.blogspot.com) and click the link at the top of the page.

Make your plans now.

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2nd Annual Celebration of Spring in Seagrove, NC, Takes Place Apr. 17 & 18, 2010

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

A year ago I went to the 1st Annual Celebration of Spring in Seagrove and had a great time. You can read what I said about it at this link.


From Avery Pottery & Tileworks

I hope the weather for the 2nd annual event, taking place on Apr. 17, from 9am-5pm (mostly) and Apr. 18, from 10am-4pm (mostly), is just as nice as it was last year. But, there are some changes worth noting from last year that I think are important to know for those folks planning to go.

First, the rest stop on Hwy. 705, the Pottery Highway, has been closed due to the opening of the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) two new visitor centers/rest stops on US 220 (the future I-73/74) – just outside of Seagrove. For those going south on US 220 – you’ll have to pass the normal Seagrove exit to get to the new center on that side of US 220. Folks traveling north on US 220 will get to the other facility just before the Seagrove exit. This may be a little less convenient for some folks, but the new centers have better and more facilities and great displays of area pottery and maps to the area as well as brochures from various potteries.


From Avery Pottery & Tileworks

Of course you can always visit the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove on Saturday Apr. 17, between 10am and 4pm. The $2 admission fee will be well worth it (if you’re in need of a public facility) and you may get to see a preview of some of the pots which will be part of the Center’s 11th Annual Benefit Auction – Going, Going, Gone to Pots! – held at the Center Apr. 25, 2010. Read more about that at this link. The Center is also a source for maps and info about area potteries.

The second difference from last year is that you’ll have absolutely no chance of running into me this year. We have some guests coming that same weekend so I won’t be roaming the roads to find the next pottery around the bend. But, I’ll be there in spirit and in print. Seagrove is now part of our regular area of coverage and delivery for the Carolina Arts family – so I’ll have been through the area before you that month and hopefully for a lot of months into the future. So you won’t run into me, but you just might see our paper there at a few of the potteries and the NC Pottery Center.

Like a lot of other folks, I have discovered that the potteries of the greater Seagrove area are open for viewing and business (that means you can buy something) just about any day – all year long. So, you and I don’t have to wait for a special occasion – even though they are nice to attend and I still hope to attend as many as a can. And, I encourage you to do the same.

Of course you can always discover what’s going on in Seagrove at any given time by visiting the Seagrove Area Potters Association’s website at (http://www.discoverseagrove.com/) and click on the Area Events link or check out Carolina Arts Unleashed, Carolina Arts and Carolina Arts Online. We try to keep readers informed as to what’s going on – at least all we know.

Go discover Seagrove – if you haven’t already. And, if you have – well you don’t need me to tell you to go back – you’ve already been thinking about it.

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A Glorious Spring Day in Seagrove, NC

Monday, April 20th, 2009

It was April 18, 2009, and by 6am, Linda and I were in the car headed for Seagrove, NC, for the first day of the Celebration of Spring in Seagrove where over 40 potteries in the area would be greeting visitors who would be coming to see new works – many fresh from the potter’s kilns. Estimated arrival time was 10am where we would meet up with our friend and part time technical advisor, Will Ravenel, at the parking lot of the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove.

I felt it was only fair to get Will to join us from Greensboro, NC, since some folks think people in Greensboro would have a hard time finding their way to Seagrove to find great pottery. And, as I expected, he had no trouble and actually beat us there – just before 10am.

I’m having a little fun with the folks who thought they had to take Seagrove pottery to Greensboro for some reason. As I’ve said before, if you want to see Seagrove pottery – go to Seagrove.

At 6am, getting into the car it was cool and it stayed cool until the sun was up long enough to do its thing. By the time we arrived at the Pottery Center’s parking lot – we could tell it was going to be a wonderful spring day. And, it was.

Our first stop was at Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery. I knew we were in trouble right away. They had complimentary hand-crafted oatmeal cookies and outstanding pottery. I fell in love with Fred Johnston’s pots right off and we loved Carol Gentithes’ animal sculptures – especially the dog eating the tax return. “I’m sorry Uncle Sam – my dog ate my return.” The problem was – this was our first stop and I was already hot to buy.

We hadn’t really intended to buy on this trip. I just wanted to meet some of the blogging potters who I’ve been following since last year when I first learned that the NC Pottery Center was in financial trouble. A movement had formed to save the Center and bloggers had a big part in helping. The Center was saved and I’ve been learning a lot about potters and their processes – things I would have never known without those blogs. And, part of this event was another fundraiser for the Center. Many of these same Seagrove potters and others from around NC and the region had donated works for silent and live auctions taking place this same day entitled, Many Faces for the Center, held at the Pottery Center – our final destination for the day.

So here we were at our first stop and itching to spend money we really didn’t have to spend. We knew we were going to buy something this day – we always do. We love pottery. But we displayed strong self-control. And, besides – these potteries would not be going anywhere. Well, that was the plan anyway.

Next stop, Whynot Pottery, to meet Mark and Meredith Heywood. Meredith and I had become e-mail buddies during the Save the Pottery Center campaign. We arrived and walked into the gallery and Will sees a vase against the wall and the next thing we know he’s buying it. And, Linda discovers jewelry. All bets are off and the shopping begins. But we’re being conservative and selecting pieces with low price tags, but good pieces. It’s soon like the British on a visit to Willy Wonka’s. Well, not really, but it was amazing to see how self-control was soon out the window.

While there, Meredith gave us a tour of the studio which had burned last year. I’ve been watching the progress of the studio’s recovery through her blog. They have a great location there and we all agreed that if we lived there we wouldn’t get any work done at all.

We next found ourselves at Ben Owen Pottery where we got a look at Ben Owen III’s exceptional works. My eyes quickly scanned the gallery to see a red pot, but no glowing red pots. But they did have examples in the Museum part of the shop. The red is spectacular, but so is a lot of his work and before we left I was holding a small blue piece with small hints of red in it. Come Monday morning I might have to see if I could get some of our neighbors to pay me to rake leaves or cut grass. This was not how the day was supposed to go. Look, touch, enjoy, but don’t…

How stupid was it to make our next stop Jugtown Pottery? The pottery compound was an amazing sight as was the pottery inside and before you knew it we had acquired pieces, one by Vernon Owens and one by Pan Owens. Our heads were spinning, so we headed to the Westmoore Family Restaurant for lunch. It had been a long time since that Egg McMuffin in Manning, SC, at 7am. And I think my usually good self-control was being affected by my lack of food.

After lunch we drove to From The Ground Up Pottery to see Michael Mahan’s work, another blogger. We wanted to see the “soul pots” to get some of those good vibes of positive energies of love and kindness. It might be good for building up our self-control. As we drive up Linda and I see wind chimes – at least a kind of upside down clay bowl with a wooden ringer, both hung from ropes. They made a really nice sound.

The problem here was – I got talking with Michael Mahan and didn’t really get to look around too much and before I knew it – Linda and Will were giving me that look of – miles to go and time is running out. But I’m sure I only dodged the buying bullet – for now. After all – I’m in Seagrove once a month – very early, but nothing says I can’t wait around until potteries open.

Next stop, Dean and Martin Pottery. I know – some name right? Now, you have to think that with so many potteries in Seagrove that you are going to walk in one and not see anything that speaks to you, but it wasn’t happening at this pottery. Both Jeffrey Dean and Stephanie Martin had works that were speaking to both Linda and I. You know what happened – need I say more?

We did find one or two of those potteries where we did the quick walk through and out the door. I won’t mention them, as I’ve learned in my years in covering the arts – all art appeals to someone – all art does not have to appeal to me. I make no judgements. So in order to prevent someone from trying to figure out where we were, I’m skipping several stops and jumping to our final pottery stop. You have to watch every word you say – some people try to make the most out of nothing sometimes.

Samantha Henneke is another one of the Seagrove blogging potters. Her blog is on my daily check list. She and Bruce Gholson own Bulldog Pottery. As soon as we all enter their showroom – bingo we are going nuts again. Our eyes are just bouncing from one pot to the next and wall pieces that looked like batik. I point to a spot on one wall and tell Will – “I really like that one”. He doesn’t even see what I’m pointing at – I can’t get his full attention. Finally I break through and he sees I’m pointing to an issue of Carolina Arts on the wall.

Turns out both artists have been followers of the paper for some time – way back to 1997 when we first went into North Carolina. They used to pick it up at the Green Hill Center for NC Art in Greensboro. We don’t go to Greensboro anymore, which is too bad, but we never could find any regular support for the paper there and that kind of matches up with things – I mean if the people there can’t figure out that you go to Seagrove for Seagrove pottery – how could they ever figure out that in order to keep us in Greensboro – they would have to support us.

Anyway – we all got some very nice pottery at Bulldog Pottery, and when we went to put the bags in our car’s trunk – the trunk was full of bags. What had happened to our plan – where was the self-control?

Next stop – back to the NC Pottery Center for the auctions. It was 3pm and Linda and I were beginning to feel our day. As we walked in we were just in time for the end of the first silent auction – but nothing was silent here. The place was abuzz with chatter and excitement. Some folks were just about to become the winning bidders of donated pottery and round two was about to begin. We moved through the crowd as best we could to see what was being offered. The theme was, Many Faces for the Center, and it was interesting to see how the various artists had taken on that theme.

Will asked if I was going to be bidding. I reminded him of the trunk of the car and gave him one of those looks – like – haven’t I gotten in enough trouble already? Besides I’m more the kind of guy who likes the “Buy Now” option on eBay. I’ve learned what can sometimes happen in the heat of an auction – even silent auctions. I like the satisfaction of walking up to something and saying – you are mine now. During an auction if I like something and someone else outbids my wallet, which isn’t hard to do – I’ll just feel bad.

Wait a minute, I have to adjust that statement – it sounds a little too manly. What I should have said is – I like to fall for something and then ask Linda – may I have it?

Before long, the crowd is beginning to wear on us and we decide since we are not making bids – perhaps our day has come to an end. We say our good-byes, after we sort out the purchases in our car’s trunk and part to return home in different directions. Will pointed out that since Greensboro is less than an hour away (Did you hear that folks in Greensboro – you’re less than an hour away from Seagrove.) that he will have finished a nap before we get home. Thanks again for that thought, Will.

By 8pm we had arrived home – just another 14 hour adventure in the Carolina Arts history books. Although it was a long day – we had a great time.

Then began the unwrapping of the purchases made earlier that day – the rediscovery of what we had fallen for. In the bag from Bulldog Pottery we found a notice for a show, Cousins in Clay, scheduled for June 6 & 7, 2009, at Bulldog which would be featuring works by Bruce Gholson, Samantha Henneke, and Michael Kline – another blogging potter from Bakersville, NC, whom I’ve also been following through his blog. Here’s a case where Bakersville comes to Seagrove. You can find many of these blogs I mentioned in our links on the side of this page.

Some Points To Remember

First off, going to Seagrove is like going to an art walk in downtown Charleston, SC. There is no way you are going to see it all in one visit. Both places are steeped in history and tradition, but you will always discover something new every time you visit. So for those potteries who might feel left out – no worries mates – we’ll be back. Linda and I have been collecting pottery for almost 30 years – we’re not finished yet.

Secondly, on this day our purchases ranged from $5 to a high of $45. My want list ran as high as $450 and up, but they will have to wait for better days. So even in tough economic times – you can go and fill your eyes with wonder and not drain the family coffers – that is if you have better self-control than some. Will is coming our way in a few weeks and he was already planning a return trip to Seagrove with Mother’s Day in mind. There are going to be some lucky mothers on that day.

Thirdly, for the AARP generation, which you enter at age 50 even if you’re not a member – a visit to Seagrove’s potteries was easy to take. You can drive right up to most of the pottery shops, we took advantage of three – count them, three good rest rooms – one at the Pottery Center, several at the Westmoore Family Restaurant, and there is a rest area on Hwy. 705 – the pottery highway. That’s important. Also stop at the Pottery Center first – they have good maps on how to find the potteries.

Fourthly, even if all you do is look, Seagrove’s rolling hills and country roads are a wonderful backdrop to the potteries, which are interesting in themselves. And although Seagrove when looked at on a map seems like it’s in the middle of nowhere, it is centrally located near many of North Carolina’s populated areas – even Greensboro, and not that far from many places in South Carolina. If Linda hadn’t been on call for her 911 job on Sunday, we probably would have stayed with Will in Greensboro and gone back to more potteries on Sunday. They also have hotels in the area for those without friends in the area.

And my fifth point is, we have been involved with the Seagrove area and its potters since last July, but we know there are great potters located all over the Carolinas. In fact, our last pottery purchase was made almost a year and a half ago up in Asheville, NC, during one of the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s Fairs. We purchased a piece of pottery from Courtney Erin Martin from Bakersville, NC. Before that we purchased works at one of the annual Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Crafts Fair in Charleston, SC – probably from a Carolina potter. Our collection is focused on works by Carolina artists. And, before that we’ve gotten works at Southern Pottery Workcenter & Gallery in Columbia, SC. Peter Lenzo does some outstanding work and also carries great works from other Carolina potters. In other words – we get around and we shop around.

But, if it seems like we have been focused on Seagrove – we have. They need the attention. They deserve the attention – at least the good kind. And, I hope you (the readers) are giving it to them through this blog.

The next big event in Seagrove will be the 2nd annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters, taking place on Nov. 20-22, 2009. Actually two pottery festivals will be taking place that weekend in Seagrove. I recommend you go see both, but you don’t have to wait for a big event to go visit potteries in Seagrove. In fact, I bet they would like it if you just went there any old time. Buy all the pottery you want – they’ll make more.

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I’m Going to Seagrove, NC, for Some Kiln Openings

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

On the 18th and 19th of April, 2009, Seagrove potters are planning kiln openings and special events in their shops for the Celebration of Spring in Seagrove. Many of these same Seagrove potters who participated in an April 4th kiln firing at the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove will be donating one of their pieces to the Center’s fund raising auction taking place on Apr. 18. The event titled, Many Faces for the Center, is the 10th annual Benefit Auction, and is a crucial event for the Pottery Center with proceeds from the auction helping to keep this very important museum and educational center open and operating. A Silent Auction will be held from 2:30-4pm. A Live Auction starts at 5pm, all the events are free and open to the public.

From what I understand from reading some of the Seagrove potter blogs, many of the works to be offered during the auctions are already on display at the NC Pottery Center and you can see a list of auction items on the Center’s website at (www.ncpotterycenter.com). Many items are from beyond the Seagrove area from some of the best potters in the region.

I’m looking forward to experiencing some of the magic and talent that makes Seagrove such a treasure in the Carolina art community and matching some faces with some blogs. The trip will get me in the mood for Artista Vista in Columbia, SC, on April 23, 2009, but that’s another blog entry altogether.

For further information about this event you can visit he Celebration of Seagrove Potters website at (www.celebrationofseagrovepotters.com) or the Seagrove Area Potters Association website at (www.discoverseagrove.com).

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