The final Clay Club of 2017 was a lot of fun! Thanks to Gabriel Kline, Anja Bartels and everyone at Odyssey Clayworks.
Anja did a terrific demo showing us how she makes her porcelain lidded jars. She talked about how she throws her porcelain pieces on bats only so she doesn’t have worry about warping them when cutting them off. She also shared a super tip for how she works on her lids by bringing her left hand over to her right side and then using the fingernail side of her left hand finger for a sharper edge. Check out Anja’s website for better photos of her finished jars and more of her beautiful work: https://anjapottery.wordpress.com/
The evening ended with the mug/cup/object exchange. Thanks to everyone who participated in that, and thanks again to Gabriel, Anja and everyone at Odyssey - and to everyone who came!
One last thing: we talked about how we might better organize carpools to Clay Club meetings, in particular for folks driving from Asheville and environs - if you’re interested in carpooling from the Asheville area and/or have thoughts about this, please let me know.
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area kicked off the Blue Ridge Craft Trails this summer with a successful series of listening sessions around the region. The project team outlined the potential of an online portal to guide more visitors to the region, connecting collectors with craft makers while showcasing our historic craft schools, galleries, and festivals.
The seven listening sessions drew 119 participants to our partner sites: Blowing Rock Arts and History Center, John C. Campbell Folk School, Penland School of Craft and Toe River Arts Council, Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Southern Highland Craft Guild, Tryon Arts and Crafts School, and Yadkin Cultural Arts Center.
Key comments included:
• The Blue Ridge Craft Trails project is a chance to gain national exposure.
• Bottom line, artists need more visitors to get more sales.
• The market for crafts appears to be changing especially with the Millennial Generation.
• Many artists are providing craft experiences, which could include studio tours, demonstrations, and hands-on classes.
We collected 84 paper surveys and followed up with an online survey of 256 more respondents. The project has, thus far, engaged 375 artists and sites.
Key Findings from Surveys
The team also hosted two Advisory Committee meetings during which we summarized comments from the Listening Sessions. Chris Cavanaugh, of Magellan Strategy Group, discussed results from the two surveys: Key findings included:
• The WNC craft sector appears highly fragmented in terms of the types of activities artists want to engage in. Many choose not to engage with visitors.
• In the online survey, only 6% said they thought studio tours were the most promising way to increase sales. Another 14% said they currently offer studio tours (12% said so in the paper survey).
• A majority of artists said they made some or all of living from crafts. But in the online survey, 29% of respondents reported that they make none of their living through crafts; in the paper survey, 19% said so.
• On average, respondents reported that only 5% of their revenue came from online sales.
Next Steps on Our Trail Development
Anna Fariello is also working to identify key cultural sites in all 25 counties to serve as anchor sites on the Craft Trails. Anchor sites would likely include schools, galleries, and arts councils with regular hours and open to the public. Subsequent work will be to expand the website listings to include individual artists and studios. Criteria for listings will be developed as the project advances in 2018.
Meanwhile, the team will conduct more research into the craft consumer market this spring to determine what visitors will be attracted by the Blue Ridge Craft Trails.
December Clay Club will be at Odyssey Clayworks in Asheville from 6-8 pm on Wednesday, December 13th. Thanks to Gabriel Kline and everyone at Odyssey for hosting us!
Gabriel is talking about doing a team throwing demo of a large (24”+) platter.
In addition, we will have our traditional December mug/cup/object exchange. (If you haven’t been before, here are the details of the exchange, as explained by John Britt: "The Cup Exchange doesn't have to be a cup but more like any "object" , so think creatively about what you have laying around. Just something to swap. You could even bring an old used shitty cup from the cupboard as long as it is a Hamada made it.”)
We will have the usual potluck, so bring food to share. Clay Club is BYOB, so bring drink, too.
As I posted back in September, John Britt has offered to hold an oil spot glazing and firing opportunity for January Clay Club. We’re changing the program slightly: glazing will take place during Clay Club on January 10th and John will fire the pieces after that. Folks can then come back to John’s studio to get their pieces or they can pick them up at the next Clay Club. John needs at least 10 people to sign up for this and so far I have heard from just two.
This will be a high fire oil spot firing and pieces can be made with any high fire/cone 10 clay, including clays from Highwater, Laguna (available at The Village Potters) and STARworks. The amount of space each person will have will depend on the number of people who sign up.
Want to participate? Send me an email (email@example.com) by December 15th and let me know.
P.S. We’ll have our annual mug/object exchange at Odyssey Clayworks in Asheville on Wednesday, December 13th. More details about that coming soon!
The Toe River studio tour is this Friday-Sunday! 100+ artists and galleries in Mitchell and Yancey counties welcome visitors from 10-5 each day. There is an exhibit of participant artists’ work at the Spruce Pine Toe River Arts Council gallery, where there will be a reception on Friday from 5:30-7:30 pm. List of artists by category below (clay is definitely the largest category!).
From the story on the front page of today’s Asheville Citizen-Times:
East Fork Pottery has found a home for its new production facility.
The pottery retailer said Tuesday it has signed a lease at 531 Short McDowell St. in Asheville's Biltmore Village, the former site of Kenny Pipe & Supply. The building, which is owned by Sea-Nic Enterprises Inc., is expected to house East Fork's manufacturing, warehousing and shipping enterprises in addition to providing some multi-use office space.
It brings an end to a lengthy search for East Fork Pottery, which said it plans to scale up its online and physical presence, including adding brick and mortar sites in New York City and Atlanta, in the coming years.
The company earlier this year withdrew an application for the project at a Madison County-owned property in Marshall, according to The News-Record & Sentinel.
County officials had planned for a public hearing in September for the site, dubbed "Project Clay," slated for the one-time headquarters for the county’s maintenance department. East Fork CEO, potter and owner Alex Matisse told the The News-Record & Sentinel he had worked for months with county officials to bring the project to Madison, but pulled out after "an alternative came across our radar that was too good for us to pass up."
Jim Kransberger is working on a possible on-line ARTS & CRAFTS e-zine (possible cover above) and he’s seeking images from Clay Clubbers. Here are more details from Jim:
My problem is that I haven’t any images of “local” artists’ work to put into it. If you feel the Clay Club generous, would you please if they’d each send me three or four images that I can use to get the dummy constructed. Use would be limited to only the dummy. If they are inclined to provide something, I need sharp images, with a bit of resolution (dpi), of work that best reflects what they would like to share with others.
Without hubris, I think I can provide the Asheville art/craft community something quite useful. The publication is titled iSPY-asheville.com (nothing posted yet) based upon the old I-Spy game where someone saw something and drew your attention to it. Seems a fitting description.
Played with this publication idea for the last 15 years; and, now is as good a time as any to do it. Jan and I had a monthly tabloid newspaper (The Pelican Post) in Naples, Florida and did rather well. Anyway I’ve got nothing but time on my hands for a while, so why not?
Asheville is the epicenter; WNC the demographic. Asheville is the anchoring patch.
There are ton of suckling publications, each slightly and seldomly covering arts and crafts of Asheville and its' surrounds. Hope that one more focused offering —on the day-to-day machinations of the markers and sellers in Asheville, et al— will find a niche. Hopefully, iSPY will provide a continuous voice, in the world of annual, special attention, publications. Well, we will soon see about that.
It will have a contemporary style and just may work. Why not?
Interested? Send images to Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Reupping this post from Hannah McGehee. She still has clay and is now selling 300lbs for $100 or best offer (regularly $0.47/lb). Here's the (slightly edited) post:
FOR SALE 450lbs Laguna Soldate 60 (Cone 10)- This is an awesome sculpture clay which is also wonderful for throwing small and large pieces. We are getting ready to move to Montana and I can't take it all with me in the freezing winter so let me know if you are interested in all or some of it. Unopened bags/ boxes ready to use. I can bring it to the November Clay Club meeting at Mars Hill or you can pick it up in Asheville. Contact email@example.com for pricing and more info.
The Mitchell County Historical Society shared a history of the Blevins Building in Bakersville in last week’s Mitchell News-Journal. The building is currently empty but most recently housed Crimson Laurel Gallery. Here’s the final paragraph:
It became the home for a world-class fine arts gallery that attracted visitors from around the state, nation and world. The Crimson Laurel Gallery had a significantly positive economic and cultural affect on the town of Bakersville as well as Mitchell County. Unfortunately, the name of the gallery was taken to another location, where it died. The building is strong, however, and will last for many more generations and is just waiting for the right people to come along and enable its continuing service to the community.
I've lost one of the sliders with the holes in it, to hold the rods, for my giffin grip. If anyone has an extra please contact me, I'd sure appreciate it. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828 251 8212 call or text.
Join us for our special "Winter Wrap Up" Trunk Show
Luscious Functional Wearables
hats, jackets, wraps, more...
Meet the artists during the TRAC tour Dec. 1-3.
AND on-hand everything from hand blown glass ornaments to pottery and jewelry.
Celebrate the Solstice season by supporting local artists!
Mica is open seven days a week through the end of the year. Find more information at micagallerync.com.
Mica is located at 37 N. Mitchell Avenue in Bakersville. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 12–5 p.m. For more information visit micagallerync.com, call 828.688.6422, or visit them on Facebook at Mica Gallery NC.
The Marshall Handmade Market happens every autumn on the Saturday before Thanksgiving at Marshall High Studios in Marshall, NC, from 10am to 5pm. The studios are housed in a 1920's two story brick high school, which is nestled on a little island in the French Broad River. On show day the spacious, sunny auditorium is filled with some of the best makers in the region, and the resident artists open the doors of their classrooms-turned-studios to visitors. We'll have delicious Thai food from the Bun Intended food truck,sweet and savory pastries from OWL Bakery, a musician or two, and plenty of seating on the generous back deck. Our idyllic island setting, the charming historic high school and fantastic artists all combine to make the Marshall Handmade Market a favorite among holiday markets for locals and visitors.
Thanks to Shane Mickey for hosting Clay Club at Mars Hill University! We had our potluck in the sculpture room, and we also got to see the wheel room, kiln area, and chemicals/glaze supplies closet. Shane told us about the ceramics program at Mars Hill, which has been running since at least the 1960s. The school offers a BFA with a concentration in ceramics/sculpture. Shane is hoping to open up some opportunities, maybe summer workshops, to the community - keep an eye out for that.
Josh Copus brought his brick factory to the meeting. He demonstrated making bricks from local clay dug in Leicester using the water striking method. He’s currently working on bricks for the Old Marshall Jail; the bricks will be formed into a public monument there. He brought stamps and tools for folks to inscribe bricks - you can see some of the results in the photos. Read more about the brick project here: https://communitybrick.org/ (There are still a few more days to inscribe bricks for the project - schedule and more details on the website.)
Thanks again to Shane, Josh and everyone who came!
Clay Club meets at artist studios and other locations throughout Western North Carolina, usually on the second Wednesday of the month. All potters and ceramic artists are welcome! Look for details about the meetings here on the blog or contact Amy Waller at email@example.com for more info.