Thursday, March 14, 2019
Recap: March Clay Club at East Fork Pottery
Thanks to Alex Matisse and everyone at East Fork Pottery for an awesome Clay Club! We started with a potluck eating off real and wonderful East Fork plates, with most clubbers sitting together at one long table. Alex told us about the history of East Fork Pottery and how he and the pottery went from East Fork in Madison County to the current factory (where we were last night) and two stores in Asheville and Atlanta. (If you weren't there or haven't seen it, check out this recap from the February 2011 Clay Club at the original Madison County East Fork Pottery: https://ncclayclub.blogspot.com/2011/02/great-clay-club.html)
Alex led us on a tour of the factory, showing and telling us about every step of the East Fork process. We started the tour with the larger of the two Blaauw kilns East Fork is currently using. A glaze firing was set to go and Alex rolled the ware into the kiln and started the kiln with us watching. He told us that the kiln would be ready to open around noon today (!), going from "cold to cold" in about 18 hours..
(One more Clay Club flashback: in 2015 Jeff Chown of Blaauw was in Western North Carolina, installing a kiln at the original East Fork Pottery; he came and gave a presentation about Blaauw at a Clay Club meeting at Haywood Community College - see the recap here: http://ncclayclub.blogspot.com/2015/09/recap-september-clay-club-at-haywood.html)
Alex continued the tour showing us all the technology they're using (some new and some not so new) and walking us through all the processes they use, including designing pieces on the wheel, the use of ram presses and jiggering, drying pieces, glazing and more. The tour ended with a demo of the boxing process, with Alex talking about the importance of the unboxing experience. From our potluck with East Fork ware to the boxing demo at the end of the tour, one thing that came through to me was the tremendous amount of thoughtfulness that goes into how every piece of East Fork pottery will be opened, handled, used and appreciated.
April Clay Club will be at Haywood Community College on Wednesday, April 17th from 5-7 (note this is a different time and day than our usual schedule) - save the date and look for more details about that soon.
Thanks again to Alex and everyone at East Fork, and to everyone who came, with a special thank you to everyone who stayed and helped clean up after!