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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.