North Notes: Potters Sling Clay for Peace
Local potters are slinging mud at terrorists. They're spinning and firing their clay into pots that they will sign and sell Saturday to help a Nobel Prize winner teach poor children in Middle-Eastern war zones.
Twenty-three area potteries, a jeweler and a soap-maker have linked themselves as Seagrove Potters for Peace to turn stoneware into schools. They will sell specially signed artworks from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as a fundraiser for American Greg Mortenson, author of "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones into Schools," which chronicle his efforts to combat terrorism by educating impoverished and illiterate children in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"Mortenson's mission earned him a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2009," says Jennie Lorette Keats, one of the Potters for Peace, in an e-mail about their effort. "His efforts have been recognized by the U.S. military, who have invited him to the Pentagon in an advisory capacity, and are supported by donations from thousands of individual servicemen."
They hope lots of traditional pottery lovers, collectors and others who just want to help out in this way will show up to "buy a pot, build a school," as Keats puts it.
"A small purchase makes a big difference," she says. "Buy one vessel, and you have provided a school uniform for one child, two vessels, and you have paid a child's school expenses for an entire year."
More than 900 cups, tumblers, teabowls, pendants and soaps have been donated for this sale. Copies of Mortenson's books will also be available for sale at some of the Seagrove Area potteries, most of which are in Moore County.
Last year's first Seagrove Potters for Peace event was an overwhelming success, according to Keats, with stock selling out entirely before noon. This year's event will feature twice as many participants and so many more vessels will be available.
There will be no early sales, but should any items remain, they can be ordered by e-mail or telephone on Tuesday, Aug. 17. All items will be for sale at the individual potteries.
These local artists, like many others, wrestled with feeling helpless and hopeless about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They saw no end in sight and no clear solution to combating terrorism. This is an effort to find a long-term solution to terrorism through educating children in these countries.
Mortenson's work, Keats says, provides an alternative to recruitment by terrorist organizations, dilutes the power of religious extremists and creates hope for a better future.
"You can help Greg Mortenson lay the foundations for this long-term solution to terrorism by attending the Seagrove Potters for Peace fundraiser, buying his books and sharing them with others, donating to Central Asia Institute (www.ikat.org), or by organizing a 'Pennies for Peace' campaign at your local school or church (www.penniesforpeace.org)," she says.
In an allied event, the Randolph Friends of the Library will hold a community discussion about Afghanistan and Mortenson's work at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17, at the Randolph Arts Guild, 123 Sunset Ave., in downtown Asheboro. The discussion will be led by Dr. Jeff Jones, associate professor of Russian and world history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Copies of Mortenson's books and a variety of pottery vessels will be for sale. Change will be collected for "Pennies for Peace." Refreshments will be served.
Potters up and down N.C. 705 ("The Pottery Highway" by state designation) are pitching in.
Contact John Chappell at email@example.com.
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