Friday, July 29, 2016

Update on Toe River Arts Council exhibit controversy forum

I posted last month about the controversy over a sculpture being removed from an exhibit at the Toe River Arts Council (TRAC) gallery in Spruce Pine back in June. Denise Cook, Executive Director of TRAC, said they would be holding a forum on the controversy, and TRAC staff said they would let everybody know when the forum is scheduled. Just wanted to update that, according to Denise, they are still planning on holding the forum, but due to scheduling conflicts, it won't take place until late August or early September.

More here:

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Soldner Potters Wheel for sale!!

soldsoldsold sold sold sold sold sold sold

Soldner Potters Wheel for sale!!

This appears to be an older model Soldner, that means pre bluebird manuf. co. style.
These wheels are known for ease of repair, off the shelf parts.
Soldner foot pedals are the Cadillac of pedals, the ability for fine control at lower speeds is great!
I bought this wheel as I always wanted one, used it for a whole cycle of pots, 180 pots.
It performed very well, I just dont like the layout, use to Brent wheel I have.
Asking 600.00
email me at with questions. 
not interested in low ball offers, would rather keep it for a back up wheel.

The 1968 Wertime Pyrotechnological Expedition to Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey

In 1968, Theodore Wertime (diplomat, ancient metallurgy expert - and possible CIA agent) led an expedition to Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey to study ancient pyrotechnological sites. The expedition was funded by National Geographic and the Smithsonian. Archaeologist and ceramics expert Fred Matson and ancient glass expert Robert Brill participated in the expedition along with several other team members. No official report was ever written and most of the expedition participants didn't publish anything about it either.

In 2002, an archaeology student had a chance conversation with one of the expedition participants at a conference. As a result of that encounter, she ended up creating a website devoted to the exhibition. She also retrieved artifacts and catalogued them for future researchers.

The website includes the email correspondence between this student and the expedition participants that she was able to contact, as well as original letters from Wertime and images of the artifacts. It's a pretty amazing look at this region in the late 1960s as seen through the eyes of ancient technologies experts and their memories of the expedition - and unanswered questions about it - 30+ years later.

Here's an excerpt from a 2004 article co-authored by the student, Roya Arab:

At the time that this survey took place roads were built in Afghanistan mile for mile by the Americans and the Russians, in their attempts to win favour with the government. Wertime mentioned to Brill that the Russians had constructed a tunnel that happened to be wide enough to accommodate two passing columns of the largest Soviet tanks (Brill 2003, F2). When not busy exporting wars there are all the other products of modern culture. Matson mentions the replacements of many pottery forms with plastic substitutes. He goes on to comment on the life ways encountered on the journey “Entering Turkey you can see modernisation but still evidence of older ways....with Iran under the Shah less oriented towards western ways” (Matson 1968: 9). The exportation of democracy is changing ancient life ways, which inadvertently make one a potential consumer in the global market, be it through the purchase of plastics, ammunition or suits to wear to the big boys’ tables and be heard. At the same time in the West ceramics become again cutting edge of technology, organic foods increase in value, old life ways become more attractive again, questioning the logic of mass-produced industrial products which the West exports with increasing aggression, with us all affected by their profit driven ways.

The survey of 1968 was clearly done by a mixed group. We were trying to establish which member may have been interested in more than the ancient world. As we collected more documents, the story became more and more interesting. Various members both in the past and present voiced their suspicions of the interests of different members, in letters and communications archived at the IoA (Arab 2003).

Theodore Wertime was the Cultural Attaché to Iran in the early 1960s. It is in his son’s Richard memoirs that we get a hint of Wertime’s other interests. His son Charlie on a trip to India had discovered a book written in English and published in China entitled ‘Who’s who in the American CIA’, with one Theodore Allen Wertime mentioned (Wertime 2000: 4). This has never been proven, but is of interest to us (Arab 2003). In a conversation in 2003 with Professor Matson on the subject of spying, he said he was unaware of Wertime having links with the US intelligence service, but went on to say that he (Professor Matson) made a point of never giving names of persons he met abroad. It would seem Professor Matson was well aware of his government’s interest in other nations and their structures and systems.

It is intriguing that Wertime, during his time as cultural attaché in Iran in pursuit of his scholarly interest (which are in no doubt), managed to survey a large part of the country. It would seem in the 1968 survey that Klinger was the unintentional ‘spy’, not so much because of his intent but that of the US Geological Survey, who paid for the most conclusive report to come out of this pyrotechnological survey. After the pyrotechnological survey, the only funding available for analysis happened to be for the geological report, which covers potential for minerals used in antiquity “and of use in the present development of the economies of the three countries” (Domenico et al. 1978: 5). Presently the US government is ensuring that certain countries do not achieve nuclear capability; meanwhile the Russians are helping to build a nuclear power station in Iran. The geological report happens to also mention sources for uranium, which is presently being extracted at one of the sites covered in this survey and is no longer accessible to archaeologists.

From: Arab, R., & Rehren, T. (2004). The Wertime pyrotechnological expedition of 1968. Institute of Archaeo-Metallurgical Studies, (24), 29-34. (Available here:

More links:

The website on the exhibition:

Biography of Theodore Wertime:

Richard Wertime, one of Thedore's sons, wrote a memoir about his father (Citadel on the Mountain: A Memoir of Father and Son, 2003) - here are a couple articles about it:

New York Times book review:

The Philadelphia Inquirer article:

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ceramic student seeks kiln space in or near Asheville

Here are the details from Molly Coccia:

I am a ceramic student and recently this summer I worked at a summer camp and made about 35 pieces. The clay I used want a cone 06-02. After the bisque firing the kilns door broke and is no longer operable. I would be more than grateful to pay for kiln space/ glazes at this cone. Hopefully anywhere near Asheville, NC would be great. I can be contacted by phone at 828-775-8472 or by email at

Monday, July 25, 2016

Potter new to Western North Carolina seeks apprenticeship/work and kiln space

Here are the details from potter Tyler Anderson:

Hello all my name is Tyler Anderson, I am a potter and musician from California. I am recently relocated to the asheville area and wanted to contact some of the local artists to introduce myself. I am currently looking for an apprenticeship / assistant work and also a place where I can have my work fired. I had something worked out as far as kiln space but that recently fell through so I am on the hunt again. I work in cone 6 stoneware and until the move I had studio space, worked as an assistant, and did piece work in Tennessee. As an assistant to Susan Demay of Made by Demay I performed all sorts of studio functions including kiln loading and unloading, throwing and doing commission based piecework, mixing clay, glaze work, packing/shipping and invoicing, sanding and waxing pieces in prep for glaze, as well as all of the " clay chores" we all just love doing. I have been working in clay on and off for 10 years now but have been working consistently for the past year and a half or so. I currently run a small pottery business called Moon Hand Pottery and my work can be seen on my Instagram, FB, and tumbler. I am trying to make this a full time gig and get back to the scale of production I had in Tennessee, all the while learning from people whose ideas and techniques I could highly benefit from learning.
Thanks so much, Ty
(951) 639-7108

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Update on the experimental fast fire wood-salt kiln firing

Joey Sheehan sent the following update on the fast fire wood-salt kiln firing that partly took place during July Clay Club. If you had work in the firing, see below for how to pick it up. Thanks again to Joey for hosting Clay Club!

The experimental kiln was great this time. I think that I still need to figure out a better way to get the salt in there, but has some really good and really fun results. All of the clubber pots can be picked up at the Asheville Ceramics Gallery during open hours (11-6 tuesday - saturday, 12-noon sunday). They are mostly mixed up in a box since I didn't know whose was whose after the firing.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Recap: July Clay Club at the Melting Mountain Pottery "kiln zone" in Marshall

Thanks to Joey Sheehan for hosting Clay Club at his Melting Mountain Pottery "kiln zone" in Marshall! Joey showed us his Bourry box kiln, which was cooling from its third firing while we were there. He talked about building the kiln and how it fires, and what he had learned from the first two firings. He also talked about how wood firing makes him slow down and be a little more thoughtful about his work.

Some details on the third firing: it started at 7 pm on Saturday and ended at 8:05 pm on Monday. Joey used 3 and a half cords of wood in this firing. So far, all the wood he's used in firing this kiln has been waste that someone else has been throwing out.

Meanwhile, Joey was also firing his fast fire wood-salt kiln. He started the firing at 10 am Wednesday morning and as of about 6:30 pm that day (during Clay Club), cone 5 was getting soft. The firing continued during Clay Club. He built this kiln from an old electric kiln. Check out this video by John Britt:

As Joey said: "It's not an experiment unless you hit the max."

A number of Clay Clubbers delivered work to Joey to be included in this firing; he'll keep us posted on picking it up.

Thanks again to Joey for hosting an awesome Clay Club and making it possible for folks to participate in the fast fire wood-salt firing, and to everyone who came!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

More on the Estate Sale

These are most of the pottery studio items. EVERYTHING SOLD!!!!  SOLD!!!!  THANK YOU!!!

My address is 11 Killian Road, Asheville 28804

Take Beaverdam Rd. from Merrimon about a mile, past the golf course. Timbers will be on your right as you come around a curve, on your left is Killian. Make the left turn and come over the bridge.  On your right will be the construction site (#9) and just before the blue and White House (#17) is a gravel road.  Make a right down the gravel road and my house is the yellow and red house in the pasture.  

Skutt kiln. KM1217-3 Needs some TLC.  Mother Board is new as is the Thermacouple
Skutt Double Vent            
Skutt Thomas Legend Wheel

Speedball Bats 7.5" & 14" bats
North Star 18" Mini SlabRoller.        
Scott Creek 4" Aluminum Extruder with 10-12 Dyes.   
Scott Large hand held extruder        

Utility sink
2 small Work carts

2-7.5" plates
2-14" plates
12.5 x 4"
 Hump mold
Various Flat bats.

Various wooden & bamboo hump molds
 Large Vase Mold
Boxes of corn Starch                  

3 hand crafted work tables
 Lots of Wire Shelving
Storage Drawers 

Blue EZ Pop-up Tent 
Folding camping sofa
Display tabletop shelves

Hand tools including:
   Trimming tools
    Carving tools
    Texture stamps,

Commercial under glazes and oxide washes
Digital Scale

Glaze making chemicals and oxides
Silk screen supplies
Measuring cups
Glaze brush stirrers
Electric glaze Blender 

Complete photo set-up
Retail Supplies All new in their boxes
    Shipping boxes

Toe River Studio Tour meeting in Spruce Pine on July 19

The Toe River Arts Council (TRAC) is holding a studio tour meeting next Tuesday, July 19, at 3 pm at TRAC in Spruce Pine. All are welcome to attend, regardless of whether you've participated in studio tours in the past. The decision to extend the Friday studio tour hours was made based on discussion during the last studio tour meeting. If changes like that affect you, or if you have other ideas or suggestions for the tour, consider attending this meeting to share your input.

Here's the email announcement from TRAC (it looks like this was sent only to artists who participated in the most recent studio tour, but again, all are welcome):

We have scheduled a post tour meeting for Tuesday, July 19, at 3pm at the ARC in Spruce Pine. We’ll be going over some items that arose during this last tour and evaluating the survey results. (Many thanks to Dan Barron for collecting and doing comparisons–45 responses) We have invited the June tour participants, however, all are welcome.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Clay Club this Wednesday in Marshall!

Clay Club is tomorrow tonight!


When: 6 pm Wednesday, July 13th

Where: Joey Sheehan's Melting Mountain Pottery "kiln zone" in Marshall (see link below for directions).

What: Joey will host an outdoor potluck in his pottery "kiln zone" at his house in Marshall. He will have just completed firing his newer large wood kiln which will be cooling. He'll give a talk about how his kiln fires and what it takes to prepare, load, and maintain such a kiln, and what kind of work it produces.

We will have our usual potluck, so bring food to share. Joey plans to smoke some chickens. Clay Club is BYOB, so bring drink, too.

Special request: if you have one or more folding or camp chairs you can bring that would be great.

Directions and more details here:

***Mitchell and Yancey county folks: if you're interested in carpooling, let me know.***

See you tomorrow tonight!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

"Luminous" at Mica Gallery in Bakersville - Artists Reception July 9

Mica, cooperative gallery of fine contemporary crafts in downtown Bakersville, NC
July 1 - September 5th.
Paintings by Tim Turner
Glass by Kenny Pieper, Pablo Soto

Artists' Reception:
Saturday, July 9th, 4PM 'til…
swing by early to see us and

we especially encourage everyone to support
Toe River Arts Council
by attending the
Live Auction and Party
Saturday evening, July 9th
Reception starts at 5PM
Silent and Live Auctions
and Party!
Spruce PIne TRAC Gallery

Mica hours: Mon-Sat: 10-5. Sun: Noon-5.
Find us on the web:
Like us on Facebook:
Follow us on Instagram:
37 N. Mitchell Ave. Bakersville, NC.

Friday, July 1, 2016

July Clay Club at Joey Sheehan's Melting Mountain Pottery "kiln zone" in Marshall on July 13

July Clay Club will be at Joey Sheehan's Melting Mountain Pottery "kiln zone" in Marshall at 6 pm on Wednesday, July 13th. Joey will host an outdoor potluck in his pottery "kiln zone" at his house in Marshall. He will have just completed firing his newer large wood kiln which will be cooling. He'll give a talk about how his kiln fires and what it takes to prepare, load, and maintain such a kiln, and what kind of work it produces.

Last week I posted Joey's invitation to participate in a fast fire wood-salt kiln on that day. The deadline to get your work to Joey is next Wednesday, July 6th. Here's how to include work in the firing: all work must be cone 10 bisque-fired. The interior can be lined with glaze, but only slips or raw clay on the exterior. Bring it to the Asheville Ceramics Gallery in the Phil Mechanic Building at 109 Roberts Street in the River Arts District in Asheville by July 6. The gallery hours are 11-6 Tuesday-Saturday and Sunday 12-5. Bring the work in a bag or box with your name on it.

More info about the firing here:

We will have our usual potluck - Joey plans to smoke some chickens. Clay Club is BYOB, so bring drink, too.

Directions: Joey is located at 231 Academy Street, Marshall, NC 28753

Joey says this about directions: regular phones or GPS will get you to my driveway at the end of Academy Street. When you get to the end of the pavement you proceed down the gravel driveway on the left and come past the yellow house and down the hill to park in the pottery zone. There will be some parking at the top of the hill for those that don't want to drive down. It is very steep, but I am able to drive up and down it in my civic without too much trouble.

Questions? Contact Joey at You can also contact me at or at 828-467-1183.

Thanks again to Joey for hosting July Clay Club!