N.C. Pottery Center Plans Exhibitions
Fall exhibitions at the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove include "Fork Mountain Pottery" featuring work by Suze Lindsay and Kent McLaughlin, "A Hilton History," which explores the work of Catawba Valley's most important potting dynasty, and "The North State Legacy," showcasing the North Carolina Pottery Center's recently gifted W.D. Morton Collection.
A public reception will be held Friday, Sept. 15, from 6 to 8 pm.
A book signing with Dr. Charlotte Brown, author of "The Remarkable Potters of Seagrove: The Folk Potters of this Legendary North Carolina Community," will also be held during the reception. Books will be available for purchase.
Suze Lindsay and Kent McLaughlin own and operate Fork Mountain Pottery in Bakersville. Individually and as a team, they have profoundly influenced the salt, gas, and oil-fired traditions in contemporary western North Carolina studios. Their studio represents two distinctive styles in creating utilitarian ware. The work will be on display Sept. 1-Nov. 25.
Kent McLaughlin works with both porcelain and stoneware clays using traditional celadon and shino glazes from China and Japan. He fires in a gas reduction kiln, preheating with propane, then firing with recycled vegetable oil and waste oil burners. McLaughlin credits Warren McKenzie, an apprentice to Bernard Leach and former ceramics professor as one of the strongest influences in his work. He graduated from Brevard Community College in 1973, opened his studio in 1985 and has instructed at Anderson Ranch, Haystack and Penland.
Suze Lindsay's stoneware pots subtly suggest the human figure and character through altering the thrown form. She uses surface decoration to enhance form by patterning and painting slips and glazes for firing in the salt kiln. Her mark-making is strongly influenced by the study of historical ceramics from cultures in Japan, Crete, and North America/ Native American Indian. Suze received a master's degree in fine arts from Louisiana State University in 1992 and was artist-in-residence at Penland for three years, strongly influenced by Bernard Leach.
"A Hilton History," on exhibit Sept. 1- Nov. 25, is curated by Tim Blackburn, the grandson, great-grandson and great-nephew of Catawba Valley potters. The Hiltons of the Catawba Valley were considered the most artistic family potters in the Valley. From the family's beginnings in the Blackburn community in present day Catawba County to later potteries in Hickory and the mountains near Asheville, the Hilton family pottery tradition dates back several generations with an extensive and diverse collective body of work.
This exhibit focuses only on the decorated wares created by Ernest Auburn Hilton (1878-1948) and his wife, Clara Maude Hilton (1885-1969) created in the Asheville area from the 1930s-1940s. Auby (Auburn) and Maude were among the very few potters in the Catawba Valley tradition to make the transition from undecorated and strictly utilitarian wares to beautifully executed and highly creative artistic pieces many with sculptural elements.
"The North State Legacy," selections from the North Carolina Pottery Center's W.D. Morton Collection, is curated by Bragg Cox, and is on exhibit Sept. 1-Feb. 24. North State work provided an important transition from traditional utilitarian wares to a highly decorative surface. Rebecca Palmer Cooper, a resident of the Carbonton community just west of Sanford, was impressed by the local pottery wares and established her own pottery shop in 1924, naming it The North State Pottery Company.
Jonah Owen was its first potter and designer. Cooper's husband, Henry, would soon join the enterprise, and with the exposure received from its very successful exhibit and sales at the North Carolina State Fair in 1925, and later winning a silver medal for their "Old-Fashioned Pottery," at the 1926 Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia, Pa., The North State Pottery Company had established a solid foundation that led to 35 years of successful operation and employed a group of highly accomplished potters including Jonah Owen, Walter Owen, Charles Craven, Elvin Owen, M. L. Owens, Emmitt Albright, and others.
The mission of the North Carolina Pottery Center is to promote public awareness of and appreciation for the history, heritage, and ongoing tradition of pottery making in North Carolina. The Center is located at 250 East Avenue in Seagrove. For more information, call 336-873-8430 or go to www.ncpotterycenter.com.
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