Face Jug Workshop

Rob Withrow and Ted Cooley came to visit Southwestern Community College’s Heritage Arts program in Bryson City, North Carolina to show off their face jug style. They did a great job entertaining and teaching us how to make colorful, funny face pots.

Of course, the night started off with a pot luck, which means lots of fabulous food! Then Rob began working on his pots (about 3 feet each). Rob also brought one of his signature piggy bank pigs. When he and Ted were done with their first face, it was time for the students to get to work on their own.

This was a great workshop to share traditional Appalachian style pottery. Perfect for a school located in Western North Carolina! And all of our face pots will end up in our Manabigama kiln! Can’t wait to share those photos!

Enjoy the slideshow of the workshop!

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I don’t want to get down and dirty, but I cannot help myself…..

In a few weeks (Nov. 6) the WNC Pottery Festival in Dillsboro will take place; and amongst the fabulous potters proudly presenting their wares on this beautiful fall day will be two booths – one filled with Southwestern Community College’s Heritage Arts ceramics students’ works and the other filled with Western Carolina University students’ works.

There is no official ‘competition’ between these two schools’ ceramics programs, though I must admit that we at the community college like to look at our university neighbors and think quietly to ourselves, “WOW!  Our students are just as good as our university neighbors and receiving just as good, and much less expensive, education in the ways of wheel-thrown clay!”

Uh-oh!  I may be getting myself in hot doo doo for saying that, but it’s true!  We pride ourselves on the fabulous facilities here at Southwestern Community College: 3 computerized electric kilns, 1 small sitter kiln, about 30 electric wheels of different manufacturers, a Thomas Stuart kick wheel, one updraft gas kiln, 1 Manabigama fast-fire wood kiln – for soda firing as well as wood, one Olympic Raku kiln and other kiln parts ready for use in experimental capacities.  We also have 2 North Star slab rollers and 2 mounted extruders.   Add one de-airing Peter Pugger to that list…..  Hmmmm… a fully stocked glaze lab with both digital and weighted scales, air compressor for glaze spraying…. I’m out of breath!  I probably forgot something, too!

And did I mention the fine instructors?  OK, I admit I am a bit biased being one of them, but seriously…. JoeFrank McKee and I are both members of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild and have had good training at the University of North Texas and the University of Florida respectively.  Classes include wheel-throwing, handbuilding, craft fair creation and operation, glaze chemistry, history of ceramics, production pottery techniques and more!

Lastly, we are all so proud because the students ROCK!  These are mostly older students eager to learn a new skill, whether for hobby or next career.  We have even had several WCU students brave the 1/2 hour drive to take classes at SCC!  Several students have completed or are completing their Master Potter Certificate and truly it shows in their wares.  A number have begun selling their pottery in galleries around the area.  YEA!

So… come out and visit the WNC Pottery Festival and take a look at the Southwestern Community College booth.  Then mosey on down to the Western Carolina University booth.  You tell me…. who should be so proud?!

NC Clay Conference

Just back from the North Carolina Ceramics Conference held in Asheboro.  Six of us ladies from Southwestern Community College drove to the event a day ahead to have time to explore some potteries in Seagrove.

Headed to Seagrove?  I highly recommend visiting these potteries:

Bulldog Pottery – These two are GLAZE MASTERS!  My goodness…. their use of glaze materials to get the depth of surface is incredible.  Also, check out their lid system for their covered jars.  Amazing fit!

Westmoore Pottery– Traditional red clay slipware in a traditional tudor style building.  Visiting Westmoore is like stepping back in time.  If folk tradition is your thing, you must take a visit!  Beautiful, traditional pots.

McCanless Pottery –  Will had three distinct styles that he does quite well – a basic stoneware with lovely drawings based on maiolica tradition, beautiful crystalline glazes on classic vase shapes and traditional Seagrove Red on classical Chinese-type shapes.  All well-thrown and finely glazed.  You can also see some wonderful quilts by Scott Murkin, which adds to the pleasure of visiting McCanless Pottery.

NC Pottery Center – You cannot miss this museum/gallery hosting a historical museum of ceramics from the area as well as contemporary exhibitions.

There are soooo many potters in Seagrove, I am certain there are many others not to be missed; however we didn’t have time to visit them all and the above list is of those I visited and impressed me.

As for the conference,  it was great to be amongst ceramic lovers such as myself.  Two of my heroes in clay, Sarah Jaeger and Bruce Cochrane, demoed with Lorna Meaden, a fabulous potter.

The following is an image I took with my cellphone camera:

Bruce Cochrane with his demo pots completed

Bruce working on the wheel behind his demo pots.

Next year – NCECA!