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!!!

Manabigama to Fire!


Joe Frank has done it!  The kiln is complete and we should be stoking the kiln all day Tuesday.

Here are some photos of the final kiln and the loading process… (oops… I forgot my camera during the last of the build!)

The first photo is of PROUD JOE FRANK.  He should be proud.  The castable went on smoothly and the kiln looks fabulous!  (Sorry for the poor quality – its from my cell phone!)

JoeFrank McKee proudly looks out from the Manabigama

Proud dad of a new Manabigama kiln! Check out the castable around the arch!

JoeFrank loads the kiln

JoeFrank loading the kiln!

Hank helps load the kiln

Hank, who made this entire project happen, helps load

Connie watches JoeFrank load her pieces

Connie watches JoeFrank load her pieces

New Kiln and Studio

Updating you all on my projects:

the new Manabigama @ Southwestern Community College

Bricking up arch

Bricking up arch - the beginning

View of poured castable key in kiln arch

View of poured castable key in arch

Joe Frank McKee looking at kiln

JoeFrank McKee having a look at kiln arch

Inside Kiln arch

Inside Kiln Arch

JoeFrank McKee and his students have worked diligently during Tuesday and Thursday night class to build the kiln.  So far, so good.  We have an arch.  Thursday the back is bricked in and we start the climb upwards for the flu/chimney.

If all goes right, we should be firing in a few weeks!  Yippers!

Thanks, JoLynn, for bringing a truckload of wood!

My next post will be about my new studio.  An update on how its coming along.