Pottery Shop Shopping – Gracious Fanatics

I wanted to post this fabulous, short documentary, called “Gracious Fanatics: The Passion for Pottery in North Carolina,” on the ‘Kiln Opening’ phenomenon.    For those of you unaware, there are some potters out there (I am not one of them….yet!) that experience a horde of shoppers at their publicized ‘kiln opening’ events.  These are not your ordinary shoppers – these are Black Friday style shoppers:

They camp out the night before to be first in line, push their way in when the open bell rings, grab everything in site along with coveted pieces and just plain go bezerk to get some really great pots.

I have witnessed this first hand once in Athens, Georgia at Ron Meyers and Michael Simon’s annual sale event (sadly, this one no longer takes place).  I got there before the police tape was cut; and when it was there was a mad rush to the pots.  Before I could turn around and look at my second pot, most were already gone.  Around the building were picnic blankets set up and folks hovering over their booty, deciding what they really want to purchase and trading pots with other shoppers.  It was unreal!  I did end up with some nice little pots, but I was both appalled and amazed at the frenzy at which people enthusiastically ran to purchase handmade pottery!


Anyway, I hope you enjoy this trip to Mark Hewitt’s Kiln Opening as much as I did:  http://www.folkstreams.net/film,254

And don’t forget to check out his link and look at his wonderful pottery!  Mark is a phenomenal potter in the North Carolina tradition.


Oh – and I might as well take the time to let you know that I will be hosting my Annual Open House event on April 29th.  Stay tuned for details!!!


Just Scheduled:
Children’s Wheel-Throwing Classes this winter!

Choose Thursday or Friday after school (3:30-5 pm) or Saturday morning (10 am – noon) for a 2-hour per week class. Four weeks will get your kids started in making pottery on the potter’s wheel.
Everything is included – tools, clay, glaze, firing costs….

$11.25 per hour = $90 per 4-week class
Can’t beat that!
Class size is limited to 6 students, so call to register ASAP!
Limited class size = lots of individual attention.

Give your children some fun time to learn a skill/craft that will give them confidence and build strength and hand-eye coordination.

Call 488-0480 to register.

Charitable Giving – Donating to a cause

This week I want to talk a little about giving. (In the past I blogged about donating to fund raisers – and the need never subsides….

Potters tend to be a pretty giving crowd.  Visit any pottery group’s online site and you are bound to find glaze recipes, helpful hints, food recipes, how to’s, you name it.  I have, on several occasions, emailed a potter I admire to ask for a recipe or how they accomplished a wonderful, mysterious technique.   They have all responded openly.

Not only do potters share pottery techniques and ideas, however, they also share themselves and their work to help a cause they believe in by donating to charities.

Twenty years ago a couple of potters thought it would be a great idea to make a bunch of bowls and use them to raise money to help feed the hungry (Statistics show that 1 out of 8 Americans struggle with food insecurity every day).  Since then, potters throughout the country have been participating in Empty Bowls projects to help the hungry in their local areas.  I have known about this national fundraiser for a long time; however I had never learned the history of the project until the latest issue of Studio Potter Magazine, one of the best pottery mags on the market, where there is an article all about the history of Empty Bowls.

This past weekend the John C. Campbell Folk School held their annual Empty Bowls fundraiser. I imagine it was a HUGE success with all the local talent they have to make bowls! Coming to Sylva, NC on April 22, the Community Table will be hosting their Empty Bowls event. Amy Grimes has asked that I contribute and OF COURSE I WILL! I also intend to ask students at Southwestern Community College to add to the lot. The more the merrier! More bowls to sell, more money raised, less hunger in our community!

Ayumi Horie, a world-renowned potter, has organized several auctions to raise money, including one to help fund the Obama campaign; and now she is working on a new auction to help those devastated in the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In just one week, she has been able to find enough fabulous artwork donated to help our friends in Japan!

I am certain there are many, many more potters and other artists out there donating their hard work to causes they believe in. To keep me from going on and on with links and words, let me ask that you, reader, look around and see what help is needed around you and donate to a cause – whether it be by a monetary donation, volunteerism or by buying a fabulous piece of artwork at a fund raiser auction.

To make it easy for you:
If you live near Sylva, NC, come out to the Community Table’s Empty Bowls event and have a great dinner to help get a great dinner to hungry folks in our community – April 22, from 4 to 8 PM.

Head over to Ayumi Horie’s website to get more information about how you can buy a LOVELY POT and know that your money will help victims of the earthquake in Japan! You can be anywhere in the world and participate in this online auction that will go live on Friday, March 18th and continue through to Sunday, March 20th at 9 pm EST

Go to the Empty Bowls Events page and find an event near you. Donate some fab bowls, motivate students to make bowls for the event and/or attend the event for some food and fabulous bowls to take home!

Thomas Winter Photograph of Empty Bowls

Thomas Winter Photograph of Empty Bowls. Source: Marilyn Bauer, http://blogs.tcpalm.com