John Britt cone 6 workshop at The Village Potters, February 3-4. I double booked myself and need to give up my spot. If anyone is interested, please call Stephanie at 203-767-0265 or firstname.lastname@example.org. $225 for the weekend.
The premiere issue of Asheville Made magazine features Jim McDowell and his face jugs. From the article:
According to stories passed down from his fourth great-aunt Evangeline, herself a village slave potter in Jamaica, relatives would place the vessels on the graves of the recently deceased. The jugs’ grotesquely exaggerated features were meant to scare off the devil as the departed went to heaven.
Face jugs now give McDowell a medium to support contemporary social justice. In his 2012 piece “Trayvon,” for example, the artist cut a hoodie-shaped hole from the side of a jug and placed a small face on the darkly glazed inside wall, highlighting unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin’s attire and youth at the time of his killing.
Asheville Made is “a magazine celebrating our region's makers — the artists, craftspeople, food producers, and homesteaders that give Asheville its irreplaceable vibe. Pick up your free copy at galleries, cafes and shops throughout the region.”
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.