WNC Pottery Festival – Over and Out


I had a great time working the Western North Carolina Pottery Festival in Dillsboro, NC last Saturday!

But first, let me share my experience Friday during the Clay Olympics:

WHAT A BLAST!  I competed in the sleet and cold and didn’t make a fool of myself, nor did I win.

5 pounds, 5 minutes to make the tallest cylinder.  Then 5 pounds, 5 minutes for the widest bowl.  Lastly, blindfolded cylinder of 2 pounds of clay.  I must say, it was fantastic trying to throw while blindfolded.  Clay is such a tactile medium – we could all do it blind.  As for winning, I learned that the winners were those guys that took a risk – they pushed that clay to its limit and either failed miserably or won.  I didn’t take a risk in throwing – I was too scared I would be the ‘chick that can’t throw’.  SILLY ME!  Watch out next year, boys!  I won’t be silly again!

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Saturday morning started out not as cold as predicted – it was in the 30’s, not the 20’s.  So…. Off the family went to pitch a tent and set up the wares…. Mom, Dad, husband Jeff and myself

Setting up the booth

Setting up the booth

The day warmed up a tad, but was cold all day, with the clouds fluttering in front of the warm sun about every 1/2 hour.  Brrr…

Dad stayed the day and entertained passers by with chit chat.  Jeff went back to the Library for an author talk and Mom relaxed at home for a few hours before returning to help close up shop.

As for the turnout, I think it was down from last year, but still bustling.  Lots of folks came to talk, buy and browse. Leah Leitson, professor of ceramics at Warren Wilson College, stopped by with a few students.  I am sure she was impressed with the show.

WCU had a really nice booth of student work for sale, but I have to say… I really did think SCC had a FANTASTIC showing of talent!!!  Go SCC HERITAGE ARTS!!!

I am looking forward to this opportunity next year.  The show is well organized and usually a pleasant fall day.  Being so close to home, it is a no-brainer, as long as I get juried in.  And of course, count me in on the Olympics next year…. I’ll keep practicing and work on my no-fear, risk-taking attitude to win!

WNC Pottery Festival

Saturday, November 6 at 6:30 AM I will be outside in 20 degree weather to set up my booth for pottery fest. It will be my first outdoor art show in about 10 years. I am nervous, stressed and a little upset that I am being punished with this unusually cool weather that will make my tent sway and my teeth chatter (20 mile per hour gusts are predicted?!!!!)

So here is a YouTube video that I am re-posting from a link on Musing About Mud‘s blog that will get me and you in the spirit of this wonderful outdoor pottery festival!


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?!