Last week, the Toe River Arts Council hosted two Studio Tour kick-off events to update the community on the progress of the regional arts branding initiative—Toe River Arts. Both were held at the Arts Resource Center (ARC) on the second floor of the TRAC Spruce Pine Gallery. Tuesday evening’s event gathered a representative group of artists from the two county region; branding partners, including local arts organizations, Mayland Community College, Penland School of Crafts, and local government officials (both town and county) filled the ARC on Wednesday. Both enjoyed appetizers and a presentation by Toe River Arts brand manager, Oscar Weinmeister.
Weinmeister highlighted the collaborative work done by artists and partners over the last few years. He discussed how the work will be translated into a strategic plan that TRAC will begin to implement over the coming year.
The plan will present a cohesive brand identity for all high-quality art-related activity in Mitchell and Yancey counties. Part of the plan will include the consolidation of individual program names and logos under one umbrella—Toe River Arts to be used in several new and existing venues such as Studio Tour signage, social media, radio, and print.
The plan will also include goals to ensure efficient monitoring of the initiative’s success. One of the key goals is to make certain that the brand is recognized locally before reaching out further. Ultimately, promotion will target markets outside the area with groups that appreciate and buy art, enjoy natural beauty, and perhaps consider relocating to this region. Weinmeister emphasized the importance of arts to the local economy. Hundreds of artists live in the two-county area and operate studios that attract visitors who purchase art, lodging, and food while here. The artists in turn shop local.
Overall, the initiative will be on-going and will evolve over the next few years based on feedback from member artists and supporting partners. For more information and a list of artists participating in Toe River Arts Studio Tour June 2-4, visit the website at www.toeriverarts.org.
I am taking a mosaic class with Pam Brewer in September (at WildAcres) and would like to ask folks to save their broken, discarded, misfit, pieces of pottery that I could use as shards on my mosaic totem pole.
Contact Simona at email@example.com or 828-467-1093 if you have any.
Odyssey ClayWorks is pleased to announce that Fong Choo will be teaching a 5 day workshop entitled Demystifying Form: Clay Play and the Teapot, at our studio from June 5-9th. In celebration of our 5th year in business, and as a thank you to all of our students, we will be offering the workshop at a 50% discount. Just use the code FongChoo17 when you register on Eventbrite. More information about the workshop and a link to the registration page can be found at www.odysseyclayworks.com. We hope you will join us for this exciting week!
Thanks to Karen Speer for hosting May Clay Club at the beautiful Sweet Betsy Farm! Karen and her husband Ed are beekeepers, and Karen gave a tour of the property, including the the chickens and bees, the Honey House, and Karen’s studio. The farm is super easy to get to from I-40 near Marion and yet somehow secluded and quiet.
Rachel Smith, Karen and I participated in giving PechaKucha-inspired presentations. PechaKucha presentations are supposed to consist of 20 images, each of which is discussed for just 20 seconds, for a total of six minutes and 40 seconds. As planned, we didn’t adhere strictly to these rules; the only requirements were that presentations be related to ceramics and last 5-7 minutes. Our topics and styles were all different. I enjoyed the process of doing a presentation like this - it was an interesting exercise to keep it short.
Rachel talked about her journey in pottery, starting with a pair of mugs she and her husband got when they married 43 years ago. She brought a small sample of her pottery collection, ranging from a small Alex Matisse pot from right here in Western North Carolina, to pieces from as far away as New Zealand, Italy and Portugal. Every time she uses those cups and mugs and dishes she is reminded of where she got them and who made them, as well as where and how they were made. She talked about getting to see and meet some of the potters who made those pieces and how being a potter enhanced those conversations and experiences, and also influenced her own journey as a potter to where she is now with her Reems Creek Pottery.
I talked about the Tarot Garden. This is a sculpture garden in Italy that was created by Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002). The garden is located in an old quarry and has more than 20 sculptures and structures based on the cards in a tarot deck. Niki de Saint Phalle started having the idea for her garden in the 1950s and was inspired by places like Park Güell in Barcelona, the Palais Idéal in France, Watts Tower in Los Angeles and the Monster Garden in Italy. She wanted to use ceramic mosaic in the garden but she didn’t know how to make ceramics. Venera Finocchiaro, a ceramic artist, ended up working on the garden because a friend of her brother was working at the garden and mentioned that they needed a ceramist. Finocchiaro first went to the garden to teach some of the assistants how to make the ceramic pieces. She later ended up working herself on the garden, even living inside the Empress (seen in the second photo below) along with Niki de Saint Phalle for several years.
Karen titled her talk “Creativity is cumulative: the cross pollination of skills.” She talked about her journey in creativity in school, work and hobbies. She has ended up with a wide-ranging knowledge, and with skills in areas like color theory, inks/painting/drawing, working with resist materials, and design. Recently she took a workshop in Pysanka, the traditional Ukranian egg decorating process. This process uses wax resist, similar to how wax resist is used in ceramics. She was inspired to transfer this technique to her pottery, and she is now experimenting with it. She said this process is definitely different on clay, and can be quite challenging, but it has inspired her work and led her to incorporating it with other techniques, like with the wooden batik stamps from India that she had already been using. Her results are lovely, and she’s just in the early stages of incorporating these techniques!
Thanks to Rachel and Karen for preparing and presenting their presentations, to Karen and Ed (and their sweet dog Sapphire) for hosting us, and to everyone who came!
Terry Gess with first year Professional Crafts - Clay students and their fabulous pots!
After 8 years of teaching, Terry Gess will retire this spring from teaching Clay in the Professional Crafts Program at Haywood Community College. “Its been my honor to contribute and serve our clay community by teaching at HCC.Haywood has an excellent program — HCC is one of the best places for a potter to learn basic skills and to develop and refine what they will need to be a successful studio potter. I encourage everyone to check it out!”
Terry will return full time to his own studio practice with lots of new ideas and insights.
5-Day Workshop with Taylor Robenalt & Kyungmin Park
Monday- Friday 9:30am- 4:30pm
Get ready to sculpt with porcelain professionally! All skill levels
are invited to make porcelain sculpture with ceramic artists Kyungmin
Park and Taylor Robenalt in this weeklong workshop. Kyungmin’s primary
focus will be on the human figure while Taylor will demonstrate the
intricacies of constructing flora and fauna. Each artist brings a unique
set of technical skills and finishing processes to the workshop. Get
rid of those uneven surfaces and learn how to handle other technical
problems in your porcelain work. You will achieve crisp lines and clean,
tight surfaces with simple tools. You will also explore conceptual
ideas and talk about the importance of facial expression and symbology
in your work. Kyungmin and Taylor will personally meet with each student
regarding their work and help them explore their ideas. There will be
an informal critique at the end of the workshop. Come spend a unique and
exciting week with the Porcelain Pros.
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Tuition: $610 + $75 Lab Fee
Shanna Fliegel'll be at In Tandem Gallery Saturday 6th, 5-8pm
Shanna Fliegel's work is a study of excellent draftsmanship on touchable forms. Her animal drawings and color choices are a blend of realism, lyricism, fantasy, sensitivity, with a touch of psychedelic colorization. All this done on hand-pinched forms that make it both functional and tactile. The soft feel to the Shanna's shapes completely relate to the whimsical imagery.
5pm - Refreshments 5:30pm - Music Guest
Cheryl Craig &
Perform an eclectic mix of songs, ranging from Old Time, Celtic, Bluegrass, Roots, and Gospel to more contemporary tunes. Their shows are structured to take audiences on an emotional journey.
You are invited to apply for the first annual North Carolina Ceramic Arts Festival taking place September 23rd, 2017 at Carrier Park in Asheville! It is our mission to spread awareness of the diversity in the ceramic arts and crafts world and to support the prosperity and sustainability of ceramic artists like you! We hope to not only contribute to the already thriving arts and crafts scene in the local area but also bring in artists and art collectors from around the country and around the world. If you have any questions, please contact Tori Motyl at Tori@MotylPottery.com or (585)507-5731.
Weaverville Art Safari
Spring Studio Tour
Sat – Sun | April 29-30, 10 – 5
Preview Party: Friday, April 28, 6 – 8pm
The Weaverville Art Safari is one of the original studio tours in the Asheville Area. It is a self guided free event that offers a unique look at the artist’s work in their working environment, featuring artists who specialize in handmade pottery, glass, photography, sculpture, jewelry, furniture, painting, drawing, fiber art, wood art and more.
The Preview Party provides an opportunity to see all of the artists work together the Friday evening before the tour. There is a silent auction and raffle/door prizes of artists work as well as beer, wine and snacks.
STARworks Clay Studio is accepting resident artist applications for the June - December 2017 sessions. The resident artist program provides resources to develop new work or expand current work. Residents are provided with time and materials to push personal, professional, technical and conceptual limits. Financial compensation is available. STARworks Clay Studio is a fully equipped studio with numerous kilns, wheels and a ceramic supply store on site that manufactures local clay bodies using wild North Carolina clays.
More information, application materials and instructions can be found by clicking the links at the top of this email.
UNC Asheville's Department of Art and Art History will hold its annual Spring Art Sale from 4–7 p.m. on Friday, April 28, and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, in the S. Tucker Cooke Gallery, located on the ground floor of Owen Hall on campus. The sale is open to the public.
A wide variety of functional and decorative pottery, drawings, prints, paintings, photography, glass and sculpture crafted by UNC Asheville students will be on sale with pieces beginning at $5. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Department of Art and Art History.
For more information, visit art.unca.edu or call 828.251.6559.
TAKEN! Thanks! I have an unused (although very dusty) 50 pound box of Laguna BMix casting slip (Cone 10, dry) available to anyone who would like it. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Pick up is in the River Arts District.
The Contemporary Clay Symposium was held at Western Carolina University in October, 2016. The live symposium rebroadcast is scheduled for Friday, April 28th. Watch online or at any of a number of host sites around the US, including Western Carolina University and UNC Asheville.
Curated by Heather Mae Erickson, Contemporary Clay, examines the evolving, expanded field of clay and ceramics. Exciting shifts throughout the field push this limitless material through new processes and concepts. This exhibition aims to show the depth and breadth of this material and its user’s ideas, ranging from, but not limited to, traditional and non-traditional functional objects, rapid prototyping, use of mixed materials in objects and installations, and unfired clay as a final material. This exhibition encourages viewers to consider the concepts, processes, and contexts of clay in contemporary art. Each artist, from emerging to established, was selected due to his or her noteworthy contribution to the field of contemporary clay and ceramics.
Haywood Community College’s Small Business Center will hold a Professional Craft Artist Summit, “Crafting Your Success,” Wednesday, April 26, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. in the Creative Arts Building on the College campus.
Experience a one-day conference specifically designed to address needs and challenges faced by current and prospective craft artist business owners. Arts-based businesses are unique ventures and require special business planning methods. This not to miss one-day event will provide the tools needed to move your business forward. Take this opportunity to network with fellow and prospective craft artists, learn skills and the power of collaboration along the way.
Deanna Lynch, owner of Deanna Lynch Textiles, will present at the summit. According to her, “The artist summit will be a great place to gain some insight and perspective. It's always beneficial to gather new and fresh information about business growth and development as an artist. Things change quickly and you don't want to be left behind! No matter how many talks or seminars I go to, I always pick up something useful that I can implement into my business.”
Enjoy a powerful keynote session from Brad Dodson of Mud Dabbers Pottery & Crafts, who has launched a successful venture while mentoring fellow artists and diversifying their product mix to meet the ever-changing needs of the market.
Sessions will include:
• Image - Speakers, Jessy Duque, HCC Marketing and Andie Robbins, Write Simple
• Sell – Speakers, Terri Gess, HCC Professional Crafts and Carrie Keith, Twigs and Leaves Gallery
• Money –Carolina Small Business Development Fund and Deanna Lynch, Deanne Lynch Textiles
• Plan –Russ Seagle, Sequoyah Fund & Kelsey Schissel, Plays in Mud Pottery
• People –Tonya Wilson Snider, Ten Biz
• Protect – Sarah Pacifi, Sheppard Insurance and Norman Leonard, Ward & Smith
According to Lindsey Solomon, Haywood County Arts Council Director, “I find the Professional Crafts Artist Summit exciting on so many levels. As someone in arts administration, seeing partnerships develop between businesses and artists and educators is watching my field come to life – it’s about boosting business skills for those artists that are new and learning, connecting them with peer artists who have the skills they want to know, and encouraging them to tell the stories of their artistic expression. I went to school to learn how to support artists, and I’m happy the Haywood County Arts Council has the opportunity to share in the growth of this great Summit.”
There is a registration fee of $25. Registration deadline is April 24. Lunch and light snacks provided. Visit sbc.haywood.edu for more information or email email@example.com. This event is sponsored by the Small Business Center Network, HCC Foundation, Western Women’s Business Center, Haywood County Arts Council, the Sequoyah Fund and the Smoky Mountain News.
I posted back in December about the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina awarding a grant to the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA) to help launch the Blue Ridge Craft Trails. The trails will be a digital updating of the “Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina” guidebooks published by Handmade in America. The project has been awarded a $90,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the BRNHA has released some more information about it. The press release is below. The Asheville Citizen-Times also has a story about it today.
April 12, 2017
Asheville, North Carolina
Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and Partners Blaze a New Trail for Blue Ridge Craft Artists and Collectors
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area is blazing a new trail to boost the region’s craft industry across Western North Carolina, thanks to a $90,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
“Today we are pleased to launch the Blue Ridge Craft Trails of Western North Carolina, a digital project that will help more visitors discover the rich heritage of crafts and connect with artisans in our mountain communities,” said Angie Chandler, executive director of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.
Appalachian Regional Commission officials see the Blue Ridge Craft Trails as a pathway to new economic opportunities across a region hard-hit by job losses in traditional manufacturing over the past decades.
“Helping Appalachia leverage its cultural and natural assets into economic opportunity is one of ARC’s key investment strategies for the Region.” said ARC Federal Co Chair Earl Gohl. “The Crafts Trail is an example of how this strategy is being put to work to create jobs and generate revenue across Western North Carolina.”
The ARC grant is matched with funds from the North Carolina Arts Council and the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, and other private gifts.
Handmade in America, first managed by Becky Anderson, created the original Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina in the 1990s, connecting visitors to hundreds of craft studios, galleries, schools, historic places and inns across the mountains. The 3rd edition of the Craft Heritage Trail book featuring nearly 500 different sites was published in 2003.
The BRHNA’s Blue Ridge Craft Trails of Western North Carolina will update those listings for the digital age, offering online visitors a portal for desktop and mobile applications. As phases of the project are completed, technology will allow collectors to connect with craft artisans to purchase their wares and visit their studios and to locate the many craft galleries and festivals found in Western North Carolina.
The current project is considered the planning phase and will include at least six listening sessions across the region to gather ideas and comments from artists and communities. Project partners offering in-kind meeting space and support for these sessions are the Southern Highland Craft Guild in Asheville, Penland School of Crafts and Toe River Arts Council near Spruce Pine, Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual in Cherokee, Blowing Rock Arts and History Museum, Tryon Arts and Crafts, and John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown.
In addition to the listening sessions, the grant also includes funds for market research, site documentation and the development of a web portal for an initial 75 sites across the 25 county regions and a brochure. Subsequent sites will be added in future phases.
Crafts have created paychecks for mountain families over the past century. In the early 20th century, landmark institutions sprang up to preserve handicrafts passed down through generations.
“The Appalachian mountains of Western North Carolina are the center of a thriving craft artisan community that goes back to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian,” stated Wayne Marin, director of the North Carolina Arts Council. “Clearly, any documentation that celebrates this rich history and creates awareness about traditional and contemporary craft-making will result in economic improvements, including jobs and tourism in Western N.C.”
Professional craft artisans across the region generate $206 million annually in sales and paychecks, according to a 2008 economic impact study on the craft industry in Western North Carolina. The unique craft artworks mastered in the mountains contribute to local economies with increased tourism, the study showed. Tourists in search of handmade crafts and authentic mountain heritage spend an average of $643 a day and typically stay longer than other visitors.
Heritage tourism in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area contributes $2.39 billion annually to the regional economy, supporting more than 30,000 jobs and generating $176.5 million annually in state and local tax revenue, according to a 2014 economic impact study.
The Blue Ridge Craft Trails project builds on the successful model of the Blue Ridge Music Trails that the BRNHA launched in 2013. With a printed guidebook from UNC Press and an online platform (www.blueridgemusicnc.com), the Blue Ridge Music Trails celebrates the region’s homegrown music, and guides fans to venues and festivals across the western part of the state.
“The N.C. Arts Council has a long-standing collaboration with the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area that improves quality of life and local economies through promoting unique cultural assets like music and craft,” Martin added. “We are delighted to continue our partnership with through the development of the Blue Ridge Craft Trails.”
“Now the Blue Ridge Craft Trails of Western North Carolina will help guide visitors to discover mountain craft artists firsthand. We’re on an exciting path that promises economic growth for our mountain communities in the years to come,” Chandler said.
About the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area:
Since its enactment by Congress in 2003, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership has awarded 154 grants totaling over $2.1 million and leveraging another $4.5 million in matching contributions from local governments and the private sector. These grants have funded projects in all 25 counties of Western North Carolina. The BRNHA Partnership is the nonprofit organization charged with preserving, interpreting, developing, and celebrating the rich and unique natural and cultural heritage in the 25-county Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.
About the Appalachian Regional Commission:
The Appalachian Regional Commission (www.arc.gov) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC's mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.
We had a great Clay Club in Morganton! Thanks to Briana Blackwelder for organizing it; to Adam and Molly Mackay and everyone at West Union Art Studios for hosting us; and to Kim Ellington for talking with us about Catawba Valley Pottery.
West Union Art Studios is a terrific group studio in downtown Morganton. In addition to the working space for potters and ceramic artists, there is a gallery in the front of the space. Signature Day Program artists display some wonderful 2D work there. The studios’ description on their Facebook page says, “West Union Art Studios, LLC brings together artists, art culture, art education, and community to Morganton, NC and the surrounding areas,” and this is very evident from spending a little time there. West Union Art Studios will be participating in downtown Morganton’s Tour d'Art on April 27th - look for more about that on the blog soon.
Kim Ellington talked about the history and tradition of pottery in the Catawba Valley, where he moved after graduating from Haywood Community College. He got to know Burlon Craig, the last in a long line of local potters, in the 1980s. Kim helped Burlon with firing his kiln and Burlon answered Kim’s many questions about making pottery, including finding local clay, making glazes and kiln-firing. Kim recommended finding your own clay if you can and suggested asking your neighbors what they know - “you’ll end up with an interesting story if nothing else.” He brought clay samples for us to see and feel. Kim talked about the glaze Catawba Valley Pottery is known for, which is made from ash, powdered glass and clay. (A substitute for glass would be a mix of half silica, half feldspar.)
Face jugs weren’t a part of the Catawba Valley Pottery tradition. Kim told us that Burlon started making them after a customer asked for one. Burlon asked what the customer would pay for a face and the customer said five bucks. (At the time, Burlon was selling his pots for five dollars per gallon - pricing by gallon was a common way of pricing pots.) So Burlon made one. A neighbor (and former potter) saw it and asked Burlon about it. The neighbor didn’t believe anyone would pay five bucks extra for a face. Burlon bet the neighbor that he would get the extra five bucks and, when he did, he got a bonus five bucks when the neighbor payed off the bet.
I am barely scratching the surface here - Kim told a bunch of stories, including one about Shoji Hamada and Bernard Leach’s visit to Western North Carolina in the 1950s. I’m not going to write it all up here, but I will say: don’t miss a chance to hear Kim talk should you get it!
Kim brought a number of Catawba Valley pots with him and encouraged all of us to touch them and handle them. He talked about how Catawba Valley pots are known for being very thinly turned and lighter than you would expect and this was definitely the case. It was really a treat getting to examine these pots.
Thanks again to Kim, Briana, Molly, Adam and everyone at West Union Art Studios - and to everyone who came!
John Britt shared this information about Northern Clay Center artist opportunities. NCC is located in Minneapolis, but these opportunities are open to artists outside of Minnesota. Deadline is this Friday, April 14th.
-Four emerging artists positions, one year, firing/materials stipend, representation in newsletter/sales gallery/NCECA Expo. Here’s a little more from the NCC website:
The Emerging Artist Residency program encompasses two unique fellowships, designed to provide up to four ceramic artists with an opportunity to be in residence for one year at Northern Clay Center, where they can develop their own work, as well as exchange ideas and knowledge with other ceramic artists.
Each residency recipient will have a shared, furnished studio space with 24/7 access to NCC’s facilities from September 1, 2017, to August 31, 2018. In addition to the workspace, each fellowship includes a materials and firing stipend, and professional development and enrichment opportunities through NCC’s education, exhibitions, and sales gallery programs, for qualified and interested fellows. A group exhibition featuring work produced during the fellowship period will take place in January 2019, at Northern Clay Center, at the conclusion of the grant period. Recipients have the opportunity to present a brief image talk about their work in conjunction with the exhibition.
The WMAA, founded in 2014, provides an opportunity for students and emerging artists to continue their ceramic research and education for a period of up to twelve consecutive months within the grant year, further expanding their professional development. This award is available to current undergraduate or graduate students, recent graduates (within one year), or those who have completed a university-equivalent training in ceramics (including apprenticeships) within the year prior to the application deadline.
During the grant year, the recipients can research a new technique or process, study with a mentor or in an apprenticeship setting, travel to other ceramic art centers or institutions for classes and workshops, collaborate with artists of other media, and travel. Proposals to fund large capital equipment purchases will not be accepted. Between one and three cash awards will be made in 2017, up to $4,000 each, for projects taking place between May 1, 2017, and April 30, 2018. Recipients contribute project updates to NCC’s social media and are required to give a public presentation at their school or other institution. See updates from past recipients at northernclaycenter.blogspot.com.
The Odyssey Co-Op Gallery in Asheville has an opening for a new member. We are a group of 25 clay artists and have a wonderful gallery on Clingman Avenue. Our opening comes in May and we are accepting applications now. If you are interested in becoming a member and showing your clay work in the River Arts District contact Diana Gillispie for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shane Mickey Pottery & Showroom will be open with regular hours starting this Thursday, April 6th. Shane has two new artists who are holding resident positions out at his main studio, Mac McCusker and Garrett Delooze. They will slowly come on board this summer. In addition, Galen Sedberry, Shaunna Lyons, Amy Waller and Jennifer Sigmon will be holding down the fort in the showroom. The showroom will have a larger selection of work this year so please stop by and check us out!
Shane Mickey Pottery & Showroom is located at 24 North Mitchell Avenue in Bakersville. Hours are 10-5 Thursday-Saturday (Tuesday-Saturday starting in mid-May) and 12-5 on Sundays. The showroom is closed on Mondays.
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.