Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The JB Cole 1940 Catalog

by Jay Henderson

One of the nicer finds for any collector or student of vintage North Carolina art pottery is a copy of the 1940 J. B. Cole's Pottery Catalogue.[1] I am fortunate to own an original copy of this well-made, paperback booklet. There is also a reprint, issued in 1997 by Holly Hill Pottery with some added material, which occasionally crops up. The reprint is well done but suffers some loss of detail in the process of reproducing the 1940 version.

The J. B. Cole catalog itself is not dated, but it is typically found with a folded-insert price list dated June 1st, 1940. If there was an earlier or later price list, no sample has surfaced. The price list, by the way, should be read as a curiosity; otherwise, it may drive you mad to realize that a 16-inch Waymon Cole rat-tail-handled floor vase, which would sell for several hundred dollars today, went for $1.25 in 1940. If only . . . .

The catalog features monochrome photographs of 526 pieces and sets pottery of all descriptions, ranging in size from 1-3/4" miniatures made by Nell Graves to a yard-high Rebecca pitcher by Waymon Cole. Each piece or set is separately identified by a designator like the following examples: W 80 - 5"; N 235 - 3-1/2"; G 278 - 11"; or B 513 - 7". The letter W indicates Waymon Cole; the letter N indicates Nell Cole Graves; the letter G indicates Phil Graves; and the letter B indicates Bascom King, in each case identifying the person who would turn the piece or set. The letter is followed by a serial number, and then a hyphen and a number indicating the height of the finished piece in inches.

The serial numbers run from 1 through 524; in two cases, errors were made in the numbering and a letter "A" was added before the designator (AB 422 and AB 453). The serial numbers are grouped by potter, with a few exceptions. The numbers for Waymon Cole begin at 1 and continue through 177; however, four Nell Graves pieces were photographed out of order (N 47, N 48, N 72, N 120). There are other out-of-order pieces here and there. When these are accounted for, the number of pieces and sets by potter runs as follows: Waymon Cole, 174; Nell Graves, 86; Phil Graves, 153; and Bascom King, 113. I am convinced that some errors were not caught and there are a few pieces which may be mis-identified; comparing W 93 - 7-1/2" with the very similar N 241 - 3-1/2", for example, leads me to believe that the un-Waymonlike 93 piece was actually turned by Nell.

The high number of pieces attributed to Waymon Cole appears to have been the result of his taking over certain forms formerly turned by his father, J. B. Cole, who had quit turning before 1940. For example, known surviving pieces of W 31 - 15-1/2" are reliably attributed to J. B. Cole. A comparison of one of the J. B. Cole pieces with a W 31 turned by Waymon reveals characteristic differences, such as the difference in handle formation.

The lower number of pieces listed for Nell is probably related to the size of her wares. Because Nell turned many small and miniature pieces, her father modified her wheel to make it more suitable for that specialty. A riser was added to the wheelhead (this is shown in the photograph of Nell in the catalog, reproduced at the end of this article) and Nell's wheel was belt-driven by an electric motor, powered by a generator. These modifications were useful for making 3-1/2 inch pitchers and vases, but at the same time limited the maximum width of the base of a piece and probably also the weight of the ball of clay that could be used on the modified wheelhead.

The 1940 Catalogue identification system is very helpful for identifying the work of the J. B. Cole potters.[2] While many pieces are easy to pin down, such as the massive Waymon Cole floor vases and the tiny Nell Cole items, others are more difficult. Knowing the approximate height of the finished piece is very helpful. The picture of the form, the height, and the designation of the potter assist not only in distinguishing among pieces made at J. B. Cole's Pottery but also among the many similar pieces made by competitors. The J. B. Cole potters made pots to sell, and some sold more than others - - and therefore, more examples of the popular wares survived to the present time. Some forms, like W 80, W 157, W 177, N 183, N 230, G 354, G 395, B 466 and B 516, come up for sale frequently and are familiar to collectors and students. Other forms are rare and the catalog is invaluable for confirmation of their authenticity.

Also useful is the catalog's listing of colors: "yellow, white, rose, dark blue, Alice blue, periwinkle blue, turquoise, blue-green, enamel-green, peacock blue, blue-and-white, orange, rust, and antique." As with the forms, some of these colors were popular and some were not. Alice blue (a pale, bluish-gray) seems to be rare, while orange (usually called "chrome red") is relatively common.

Neither the forms in the catalog or the glaze colors should be considered a complete listing. Very early pieces were finished with commercial glazes, and new forms and glazes were developed over time, with some shapes being dropped and new ones being added, in addition to changes in the making of established forms. A major example of this is the Waymon Cole signature piece, the Aladdin's Lamp teapot; it had not been developed in 1940, although the bowl-vase on which it was based is in the catalog (W 6 - 5"). The 1940 Catalogue is nonetheless a valuable guidebook for pre-WWII J. B. Cole Pottery wares.

One should exercise caution when identifying post-WWII J. B. Cole pieces. The fact that a form appears in the 1940 Catalogue does not mean that it was made before World War II; other characteristics must be taken into account. Having a copy of the 1940 Catalogue won't make you an expert. Inspecting many pieces of J. B. Cole's Pottery wares is the only way to achieve sufficient knowledge.

NOTES: [1] The name "J. B. Cole's Pottery" was used until J. B. Cole died; Waymon Cole and Nell Graves bought out the heirship interests of their siblings and changed the name to "J. B. Cole Pottery." The spelling "Catalogue" is used in the 1940 booklet.

[2] There are smaller catalogs, one known as the 1932 J. B. Cole catalog and another known for C. C. Cole; these are very hard to come by and as far as I know have not been reprinted.

This article originally appeared in Backcountry Notes.

Copyright © 2008 by Jay Henderson.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Staff of the NCPC

I found the staff of the North Carolina Pottery Center tucked away staying warm on the Friday night of the Celebration.
The NCPC was invited to set up a booth to sell books and stands.
We have a very hard working staff of three who keep the NCPC open and rolling along.

Tuesdays - Saturdays
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

$2 - adults
$1 - students 9th-12th grade,
free - students Kindergarten-8th
free - NCPC members.

For more information call (336) 873-8430.

In the case of inclement weather, the NC Pottery Center follows the closing schedule of the Randolph County School system. Please call ahead if you are uncertain of the weather in our area.
Now visit us on Saturday’s for free pottery making demonstrations with a local potter.
See the front desk upon arrival for further information.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

David Garner recipient of Craftsperson of the Year award.

David Garner from Turn and Burn Pottery, Seagrove North Carolina received the 2008 Crafts person of the Year award from the Village of Yesteryear, North Carolina State Fair.
For David this award signifies his years of hard work in the community of Seagrove and the 20 years he has participated as an artist in the NC State Fair.
Congratulations David.

Monday, November 17, 2008

From Tom Starland: Carolina Arts Unleashed

Save the Cheerleader - Save the Planet
This was an interesting catch phrase to promote one of the seasons of the NBC TV show - Heroes. I’ve never watched that program, but I liked the phrase. I’ve used it before in commentary as it shows how interconnected we all are - one person to the next, one person to the environment, one person to the economy, etc.
Like - save your environment - save the planet; save a hungry child - save the next world leader; and save one species - save mankind. Of course some people have been saying - save the banks - save the economy or save US automakers - save millions of jobs. It just goes to show that not all combinations make sense. With some things it’s save them once - save them again and again and once more for good measure.
I’m offering the phrase - save the NC Potter Center - save Seagrove potters too.
Not too long ago we told you how the financially strapped NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, battled to raise $100,000 to keep its doors open. The Center with the help of potters around the Carolinas and pottery lovers raised almost $125,000 in three months during a downturned economy. This was hopefully a temporary situation as it is hoped that the State of NC will eventually take the NC Potter Center under its financial wing - much like it did the troubled Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, NC, last year. But, we have all seen recently what a difference a few months can make.
A lot of that help came from local Seagrove area potters - donating pots for auctions, raffles, and for benefit sales - as well as blogging to get the word out and keeping people informed about the fundraising efforts. A lot of other people helped too.
But, now these same potters are preparing for their biggest financial event of the year - for themselves - the first annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters, taking place Nov. 21 - 23, 2008, at the historic Luck’s Beans cannery in Seagrove. The event starts off on Friday night with an opening Gala which will offer attendees a first chance at special auction items and first chance to purchase from participating potters - over 60 in all. Check out the website for complete details, there will be a lot of stuff going on. There is also a link on that site for accommodations in the area.
This will be a special weekend in Seagrove offering the beginning pottery collector a great introduction and the seasoned collector a chance to update their collections with the newest pots - straight from area kilns - still warm. Believe me, from what I have read about some of the preparations for this important weekend - some pots might be downright hot.
It will also be a great time to visit the recently saved Pottery Center. Admission is free this weekend, but you can still make a donation. And, from what I’ve heard - there may even be another pottery festival going on at the same time in Seagrove.
The important thing is that this holiday shopping season is going to be a critical time for all artists. It will determine how well the holidays and their future year will be. Support them if you can and end up with some beautiful art created by a Carolina artist.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Watch North Carolina Weekend Thursday night

This coming week on Thursday night there will be a brief segment about the NCPC
on the show UNC-TV NC weekend.
This show will air at 9pm on Thursday, November 20th.
We hope you will tune in.
We will be open next week end, with free admission, please stop in the Center to see the current exhibitions.
Also- stop in at our booth at the Celebration Of Seagove Potters over the week-end.
Here is what you will find there:
History, education and demonstration at the upcoming Celebration of Seagrove Potters
Seagrove, NC. November 21-23 2008
Children have a special area where they can try their hand in clay and purchase “Kid Priced” pieces of pottery. The proceeds of the children’s area will be donated to the arts programs of the local elementary schools.
The North Carolina Pottery Center booth will be staffed by knowledgeable volunteers and will exhibit historic pots, provide information on NC Pottery and sell books, catalogs and stands. Representing the NCPC booth is noted author Terry Zug, UNC-Chapel Hill professor and historian. Terry will speak Saturday on the significance of preserve jars from the Seagrove area. He describes Seagrove potters in his book, Turners and Burners, as “…the intangible qualities of the shops-qualities that only emerged gradually and increased the difficulties of classification. Most apparent is the pervasive family orientation. - And reinforcing these clay clans is the deep sense of place.
Finally, there is the potter's historical self-consciousness. It is a genuine sense of the past that gives pride and purpose and guidance to the present.”

Also on Saturday, Pam Owens, of Jugtown Pottery will discuss the history the Early Jugtown Pottery.
On Sunday, Linda Carnes McNaughton will discuss the history of “cultured cabbage” and how it relates specifically to stoneware jars.
Later that day Ray Owen will talk about Ray Auman and the Auman Pottery.

Throughout the weekend Seagrove potters will be giving demonstrations.
On Saturday, 5th generation potter, Sid Luck will share Seagrove history and why Seagrove has been designated the Pottery Capital of the US.
Sid is currently the administrator of TAPS (Traditional Arts Programs for Students) a North Carolina Arts Council initiative. The North Carolina Pottery Center is the site for the Seagrove TAPS program.
Traditional potters from the Seagrove community of Moore and Randolph counties instruct fifth grade students from Seagrove Elementary School in numerous traditional clay processes, including clay preparation, hand building, wheel turning, glazing and firing pottery forms drawn from traditional use and practice.
Other demonstrating potters throughout the weekend include:
Charlie Riggs, Eck McCanless, Jared Zehmer, David Stuempfle, Craig Kovack, Jeffery Dean, Randy James, Ben Owen, David Fernandez, Chris Luther and Michael Mahan.

Saturday, November 22 the show is open from 9 AM to 6 PM
Sunday, November 23 10 AM to 4 PM
A second fundraising auction will be held Saturday, at 4 PM offering pieces donated by participating and other local artists.
A wide variety of food and beverages are available.
Admission is $5 and children 12 and under are free.
Attendees are encouraged to bring a canned food item for our food drive.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thanking the Donors

We would like to thank the following people for all their help in making the Fundraiser a sucess.
We will continue to raise funds to keep the NCPC open.
It is our hope the NCPC will be here for future generations to leran from and enjoy.

Auction of E. James Collection
Marty Aden
Ross Allen
Marilyn Arthur
Paulette Badgett
Mr. and Mrs. Talmadge Baker
Michael Barber
Lisa Barnhardt
Cosetllo Barnes
Amy Bauman
Hayne Bayless
Charlotte Beckerdite
Maryanne Bice
Sharon Biggs
Jennie Bireline
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Bluethenthal
Audrey Booth
Daisy Wade Bridges
Jane Bruce
Kimberly Campbell
Blanche Capel
Linda Carnes-McNaughton/Kirk McNaughton
John Chapman
Carol Clark
Mr. & Mrs. J.C. Cooke
Sylvia Coppola
Stephen Dean
Gail Matthews DeNatale
Margori Devine
Arthur Dube
Judith Duff
David Egner
Kim Ellington
Dan Finch and Amy Farabow-Finch
Giff Fisher
Pepper Fluke
Phillip Fulton
Jay Gardner
John Garland and Mary Paul
Mr. and Mrs. Ed Gavin
Arthur N.Gerber
Shelton & Carol Gorelick
Mr. & Mrs. Clarence Goss Jr.
Jo Grimley
Mr. and Mrs. Ron Grudziecki
Carmen Guy
James R.Hackney
Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. Haigh, Jr.
Dolores Hall
Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Hamlet
Lee Hansley
Frank Harmon
Patrici Hart
George Hayes
Richard F.Hazel
Caywood Hendricks
Mr. & Mrs. Ed Henneke
Dr.'s Doug and Kathy Hepler
Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Herman
Mark Hewitt - Raffle
Mark and Meredith Heywood
Tandy Hobbs
Mr. and Mrs. Gene Holder
Betty Holland
Dwight Holland
John Hopkins & Laurie House
Philip Hubbard
Nicole Hudson
Dr. and Mrs. Allen Huffman
Michael Hunt & Naomi Dalglish
Ikuko Hussey
Jodi Ingold
Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Irvin
Marjorie James
Donald Johns
Ellen Johnson
Janet Isola-Johnson
Mr. & Mrs. Walter Jacobs
Joe and Tonda Jeffcoat
Nicholas Joerling
Matt Jones
Mr. & Mrs. Ben E. Jordan, Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. Rudy Juliano
Mr. & Mrs. Glenn Kahn
Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Kay
Albert Keiser
Mr. and Mrs. Mike Keogh
Michael Kline
Stephen Knight
Elizabeth Knott
Jack D. Lail
Jane Lappin
Dona Lerner
Suze Lindsay
Barry Lockman
Mr. & Mrs. David Lotocki
Mary Lynn Lotocki & Harold Johnson
Michael Loven
Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Luck
Alma Mather
Patricia Marshall
Carolyn McDermott and Fred Shuker
Carol G.McDevitt
Carol McKnight
Polly McLaughlin
Staci Meyer
Ronald Meyers
Charles Millard
Eleanor Miller
Andrea Motes
Don Moffit & Sidney Cruze
Barbara and Suzanne Murphy
Mr. and Mrs. Paul Nelson
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Nesbit
Robert Otterbourg
Pat Palmer & Dan Livingstone
Marilyn Palsha
Jean Parish
Parker Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. William B. Parker
Daniel Patterson
Jeanne Patterson
Richard Patterson
Hassel and Rose Patterson
Lara Pavanelli
Cynthia Payne
Mr. and Mrs. Dick Peterson
Roberta Price
George Rector
Jane Riley
Ann Ring
Mr. & Mrs. Sherwin Rodin
Sarah A.Roe
Michael Rutkowsky
Mr. & Mrs. Fred Salamy
Patricia Saling
Maryanne Sanders
Eugenia Schwartz
Ju-ian Shen
Wayne Shiver
Nancy Sidebottom
Clyde Smith
Eddie Smith Jr.
Dr. and Mrs. Edward Smithwick
Mr. and Mrs. Tom Sobeck
Davor Solter
Elaine Spallone
Mary and Leroy Spangler
Spruce Pine Fundraiser and Raffle
David Starkey
Tom Starland
Sandy Steele
Peggy Steffel
Karen Swager
Nancy Sweezy
Kristine Tedder
Dan & Hat Thompson
Gail Tilton
Phyllis Toon
David Voorhees
Charles Waldren
Josie Walter
Mr. and Mrs. John Watts
Conrad Weiser
Patti Carbone Wellen
Margare Wiebe
Dina Wilde-Ramsing
Janice Williams
Timothy Williams
Verna Witt
Joanne Wood
Eugene Young
Ann Zelle
Charles (Terry) Zug & Daphne Cruze

Contributions Attributed to Memberships

Virginia Ainslie
Marilyn Bland
Tim Blackburn
Dan Blackmon
Bulldog Pottery
Chad Brown
Robin Cadigan
Phillip Carl
Chuck Chamberlain
Phyllis Clark
Lucy Carol Davis
Brian Fields
Jane Finch
Justin Finch
Dan Finch
Carol Freeman
Linda Goodwin
Mark Gordon
Benjamin Gufford
Alvin Headen
Anna Henderson
Ed & Gloria Henneke
Mark Hewitt
Anna Heywood
Michael Hunt
Michael Kline
Diane Lee
Barry Lockman
Bob Meier
Jon Miller
Pat Montgomery
Mr. & Mrs.Milton Chriscoe
Mr. & Mrs.Calvin Holland
Mr. & Mrs.Richard Jacobs
Mr. & Mrs.David Jones
Mr. & Mrs.Douglas Nodine
Mr.& Mrs.Benjamin Burns
Ben Owen
Vernon & Pam Owens
Sharon Pate
Print Shop Of West Ashley Inc.
Donna Proctor
Sandra Roberts
Ruth Sachs
Steve McNutt & Mary Bishop
Lori Theriault
Dan Triece
Eliza Zug Cox

Contributions Attributed to Brick Sales

Mr. & Mrs.David Jones
Steve McNutt & Mary Bishop
Sheila Ray
Jack & Linda Stec

Monday, November 3, 2008

NCPC invitation to be a part of Celebration of Seagrove Potters

The NCPC will have a booth at the "Celebration of Seagrove Potters" in November. They will be selling books and pottery related items. Proceeds go towards the daily operations and educational programs of the NCPC .
In the past few months the NCPC fundraising Committee raised over 120K. This will allow the NCPC to continue to operate, but we should all be aware that fund raising will need to continue.
The next fundraiser for the NCPC will be in the Spring.
We will post more information later about the "Faces For the NCPC".
Meanwhile come out in support of the Seagrove potters and stop by the NCPC booth and see what they have out- and join- your membership is important to keeping the tradition alive.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NCPC Tile project with local Artist Laura Avery

Laura Avery from Avery Pottery and Tileworks was chosen to complete a tile project with our local Seagrove Elementary School.
This is the finished project hung in the Seagrove Library which sits beside the school on Old Plank Road.
Over a period of several weeks, every 4Th grade class was escorted over to the NCPC where they watched a demonstration from a local potter and completed one to three tiles for the project.
The grant designed for this project was to reach the local community; to better educate and expose the school children to their local arts community which they live in.
Courtesy of the NC Arts Council.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bulldog Pottery's Fossil Fish Jug raises money for NCPC

Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke of Bulldog Pottery donated this wonderful large fossil Jug to the North Carolina Pottery Center Fundraiser.
On Saturday the Jug was purchased by collector and NCPC supporter Nancy Sidebottom.
This purchase provids the Pottery Center with an additional $600.00 to add to their fundraising efforts.

The generosity of the arts community and especially the North Carolina Potters has been instrumental in making the Fundraising efforts a success.

Along with the money Bulldog Pottery will be donating a check was presented to the NCPC last week by Micheal Kline for $1,941.00.
The money raised was from the raffle by potters Gay Smith, Nick Joerling, Suze Lindsay and Kent McLaughlin, at a total of $1,000.00. Winners are Dorothy and Clyde Collins, hooray!
The Pottery sold at the October Potters market brought a total of $941.00.
Here are the names of generous, donating potters:
Norm Schulman, Cynthia Bringle, Jane Pieser, Stanley Mace Andersen, Pam Brewer, Claudia Dunaway, Jon Ellenbogen & Becky Plummer, Becky Gray, Michael Kline, Linda McFarling, Jim & Shirl Parmentier, Ken Sedberry, Jenny Lou Sherburne, Gay Smith, Joy Tanner, Mark Tomzcak.

From the fundraising committee, staff and board of the NCPC Thank you one and all!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Exhibitions- NCPC

Table Wares of Early Twentieth Century Potters

SEPTEMBER 7, 2008-JANUARY 10, 2009

Preview Exhibit of Faces for the Center.
All pieces in this exhibit have a face and all will be for sale.
This is a fun and diverse exhibit of pieces from potters throughout NC.
In April 2009, date to be announced, the Center will host a party for the event.

Owen/ Owens Family of Potters
with the tentative opening reception on the afternoon of Saturday, January 17th.
JANUARY 14, 2009 - APRIL 3, 2009

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Power of Potters - In Saving the NC Pottery Center

The Power of Potters - In Saving the NC Pottery Center

By, Tom Starland

October 21st, 2008

Don’t mess with a North Carolina potter! Or their Pottery Center. At least that’s the word I have for anyone doubting the importance of the NC Pottery Center located in the small community of Seagrove, NC. I have just received word that $100,000 + has been raised to save the NC Pottery Center.
It was just three months ago when I decided to stop by the Pottery Center to see an exhibition of pottery by Native American Indians in hopes of doing a review for my new blog on my way to Greensboro, NC. It was an excellent show and while I was there almost an hour - no where did I see or hear any indication that the Center was in the middle of an area-wide controversy or financial trouble. It wasn’t until I arrived in Greensboro that a friend asked me about the troubles at the Pottery Center based on a newspaper article he read there in Greensboro.
I went online and found his concerns were true. There was big trouble in Seagrove. And, as I researched the issue I learned that all of the fuss was being caused by a few individuals who were more interested in a power grab than what was good for Seagrove, the Pottery Center and the potters in the area. Based on some of the outlandish claims being made by these individuals - which I knew to be untrue from my own experience in dealing with the Pottery Center I decided to stand on the side of local potters in Seagrove and the Pottery Center. It was just a ridiculous notion that we could loose this marvelous ten year old center because of the back-room dealings of a few.
And, I wasn’t the only person who couldn’t imagine losing this wonderful center of pottery history and resource center for contemporary pottery in not just Seagrove, but North Carolina, and the Carolinas. In three months, during what could be easily termed as the worst economic time in the US - hundreds, and perhaps even thousands of people put their money in the kitty to help save the NC Pottery Center.
Leading the charge was the Board of the NC Pottery Center and local potters networking with potters in North Carolina and eventually potters everywhere. And, the public responded by sending in checks, making electronic donations, purchasing pots that were donated to help benefit the Center, buying raffle tickets and making auction bids.
There is no doubt that a few individuals did more in this effort. Dr. Everette James and his wife Nancy Farmer donated part of their pottery collection to be auctioned off to benefit the Pottery Center. Leland Little Auction and Estate Sales, Ltd. in Hillsborough, NC, donated their services for that auction which raised $35,000. An anonymous NC couple offered a $10,000 challenge contribution to cap the Pottery Center’s fund drive once the Center raised $90,000 in honor of Drs. Everette James and Nancy Farmer. I’m sure there where others who deserve mention, but I just don’t have their names at this time. But everyone who made a contribution - no matter how small or even if it was in just spreading the word - they made a difference. They saved the NC Pottery Center - for now.
The ultimate goal is for the State of North Carolina to take over operation of the NC Pottery Center under the North Carolina Arts Council - a state arts agency. But, under the current economy - that might take some time yet, so the fight might not be over just yet. A fundraising goal has been met, but the long-term future is still unknown, but it does look brighter today.
Another contributing factor in the fundraising effort was blogging potters around the Carolinas. When the call when out for help - the word spread fast and far. I had a hard time keeping up with all the things that were going on and I eventually came to rely on Meredith Heywood of Whynot Pottery in Seagrove, who was blogging on her own blog ( and eventually set up another blog - Potters for the NC Pottery Center ( She had lots of help from others who were feeding her info or helping with the blog. And, what’s really amazing is that during all this mess - she and her husband, also a potter, were dealing with rebuilding their studio which burned down in July.
Also let’s don’t forget that there were a few victims during this battle to save the Pottery Center. First and foremost was the loss of the Center’s director, Denny Mecham. The Center’s board in an effort cut expensive had to cut Mecham’s position to a part-time level and then all together. Mecham was unable to wait and see how the fundraising effort would go, and took a position as the new executive director of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi. Talented people don’t have to wait too long for good job offers. The Potter Center’s exhibition schedule was also adjusted, putting major shows on the back burner. And, although some say all publicity is good - it’s not always good for everyone. The anxiety levels of area potters caught up in the controversy has taken its toll - causing some to take sides in a very small community.
What have I learned from all this? One - Potters have a strong network and sense of community. Two - If you work hard for something - a good cause - people will respond and help, even in tough times. Three - the power of the blog in spreading the word about issues. And, Four - just another reminder - the arts are important to people.
Although the $100,000 goal has been met - if you’re so inclined and have the funds - I would still advise anyone to make a contribution or participate in one of the still ongoing fundraisers. It won’t hurt and I’m sure it can be put to good use.
Now, go visit the Center you helped save. The doors are open

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Press Release – North Carolina Pottery Center Announces Fundraising Success


From: North Carolina Pottery Center, Seagrove, NC

Press Release – North Carolina Pottery Center Announces Fundraising Success

Despite an economy that seems to be “going to pot,” the recent fundraising campaign organized to support the North Carolina Pottery Center fired-up the North Carolina pottery community and raised significantly more than the original target of $100,000.

To date, a general fundraising letter has raised $48,500, a recent auction at Leland Little Auction and Estate Sales in Hillsborough of old NC pots centered on the legendary collection of Dr. Everette James, raised $35,000, the North Carolina Arts Council has provided a $25,000 grant, and an anonymous donor has capped the fundraising drive with a generous $10,000 donation in honor of Dr's. Everette James and Nancy Farmer. That make’s a total of $118,500.

The Pottery Center, located in Seagrove, is an anchor for the ceramic traditions of North Carolina, and provides a focal point for the contemporary expression of the state’s ceramic heritage. These funds will keep the Pottery Center open for the next fiscal year, enabling it to fulfill its mission to “promote public awareness and appreciation of the history, heritage, and ongoing tradition of pottery making in North Carolina through educational programs, public services, collection and preservation, and research and documentation.”

Over13,000 people have visited the Pottery Center during each of the last several years, with domestic visitors traveling form as far away as Alaska, California, North Dakota, and Maine (in fact there have been visitors from every state, including Hawaii), while overseas visitors from New Zealand, Japan, Sweden, and throughout Europe have also enjoyed access to this remarkable institution. Such global interest in what is going on in the tiny community of Seagrove (located south of Asheboro, not far from the NC Zoo) is a testament to the enduring power of North Carolina’s pots and potters. These visitors provide a much needed economic stimulus not only to the Seagrove pottery community and surrounding businesses, but also to the wider pottery community throughout the state - in the Catawba Valley region, around Penland in the mountains, as well as Down East.

In his recent book on Wood-Fired Stoneware and Porcelain, renowned Pennsylvania potter Jack Troy declares that “if North America has a ‘pottery state,’ it must be North Carolina. . . . There is probably no other state with such a highly developed pottery-consciousness.” Articles extolling the local traditions regularly appear in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times. The Pottery Center’s recent fundraising success has been spontaneous, generous, and widespread, and is a heartwarming recognition of the continuing joy people derive from the friendly beauty residing in each and every pot made in North Carolina.

The Pottery Center would like to thank its many supporters for their passionate commitment to the state’s ceramic heritage, and extends an invitation to visitors to travel to the Center to see for themselves the award-winning building and its collection of magnificent pots, and also encourages pottery lovers to continue their ongoing support of the many potters in Seagrove and throughout the state.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

News about Fundraising for the NCPC

Last night I received news the fundraising for the NCPC had meet its goal.
The goal set forth at the end of June was to raise 50, 000.00 at the least but 100,000.00 if possible.
The word last night was over 100K with money still to come in.

I had word from Gay Smith that the raffle for the pottery made by Gay, Nick ,Suzy and Kent had brought in a thousand dollars, which will be sent to the NCPC this week.
I hope to post the winner soon.
The October Potters Market has also brought a total of 667.00 so far.

There are many folks who donated money, pottery and time to bring forth the funds to keep the NCPC alive.
I want to thank them all for their efforts.

Also, I would like to thank those folks behind the scenes who made this possible.
The fundraising committee, the board and the staff of the NCPC.
Without the guidance and efforts put forth by these folks we would not be here today.
Congratulations one and all for a job well done.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Spruce Pine Potters Market helps the North Carolina Pottery Center

Michael Kline's Bird Jar : The proceeds of this purchase will go to the NCPC

The Spruce Pine Potters Market is taking place this weekend. Most of the contemporary potters there have designated one piece each to the NCPC and will donate the proceeds to the NCPC.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Spruce Pine Potters Market October 10-11

SPPM Potters Support the North Carolina Pottery Center.

Many potters will have designated pieces in their spaces at the Market the proceeds of which will be donated to the North Carolina Pottery Center.
Thanks to Cynthia Bringle's and Gloria Schulman for working on this idea and bringing it forth.

Here are the names of generous, donating potters:
Norm Schulman, Cynthia Bringle, Jane Pieser, Stanley Mace Andersen, Pam Brewer, Claudia Dunaway, Jon Ellenbogen & Becky Plummer, Becky Gray, Michael Kline, Linda McFarling,
Jim & Shirl Parmentier, Ken Sedberry, Jenny Lou Sherburne, Gay Smith, Joy Tanner,
Mark Tomzcak.

Look for these special pieces when you're browsing and collecting from these generous folks in October at the Market.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

North Carolina Pottery Center: Scalloped Platter

Another wonderful piece from the NCPC's pottery collection is this large scalloped platter, by Thurston Cole.
This large "pie" plate shape sets off the imagination of what the giant's, in "Jack and the Bean Stock", favorite pie might have been.
This platter is lovely. If you look at the underside you will find the entire bottom is glazed. It most likely was fired on stilts, a real feat considering its size.

Thurston Cole (1920 - 1966) turned this piece at Royal Crown Pottery in Moore County, NC.

Thurston Cole was Dorothy Auman's brother. Dorothy is quoted as saying "He (Thurston) would go to work at four or five A.M. and stop at ten P.M.. and turn at least 650 pieces a day even 900, if he was pushed. He did it from the drive that was in him. We had orders and we hadn't been having orders. He wanted to fill them to get the business going, but he ran himself down."

This quote is extracted from Raised in Clay; by Nancy Sweezy (page 249).

c. 1940, the diameter is close to 27"

Friday, October 3, 2008

NC Pottery Center Fundraising- Almost There

From Carolina Unleashed
Tom Starland

October 3rd, 2008

It is sometimes hard to imagine the level of generosity that has been going on in the effort to keep the doors open to the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC. It moves so fast at times that it is hard to keep up with the figures, which is now over $80,000 - according to my last report $80,549. But, I’m sure that figure has been surpassed by now.
The latest infusion of funds arrived after last Sunday (Sept. 28, 2008) at Leland Little Auction and Estate Sales, Ltd. in Hillsborough, NC. The auction raised over $34,000 for the North Carolina Pottery Center. The auction featured 191 fine examples of NC pottery donated by several prominent collectors throughout the state. The sale centered on a substantial collection of Art Ware pottery generously given by Dr. Everette James. Leland Little also donated their services to the Pottery Center.
The fundraising campaign is now in the homestretch, raising the final $10,000 to reach the $90,000 mark where another generous donor will chip in $10,000 to cap off the campaign effort.
Many other fundraising efforts are still scheduled, check in with the blog, Potters For The North Carolina Pottery Center ( for full details.
One such fundraiser will take place at the upcoming Spruce Pine Potters Market taking place on Oct. 11-12, 2008, from 10am to 5pm, at the historic Cross Street Building, 31 Cross Street, Spruce Pine, NC. For further info on this event visit (
Potters participating in this event include: Shane Mickey, Will Baker, Lisa Bruns, Stan Andersen, Nick Joerling, Gay Smith, Claudia Dunaway, Jim and Shirl Parmentier, Terry Gess, Becky Gray, Michael Kline, Jon Ellenbogen & Becky Plummer, Michael Hunt & Naomi Dalglish, Lindsay Rogers, Melisa Cadel, David Ross, Norm Schulman, Linda McFarling, Courtney Martin, Ken Sedberry, Jenny Lou Sherburne, Jane Peiser, Mark Peters, Ron Slagle, Cynthia Bringle, Mark Tomczak, Joy Tanner, Michael Rutkowsky, Tzadi Turrou, Liz Zlot Summerfield, Pam Brewer, and Peter Rose.
Many of these potters will have designated pieces in their spaces at the Market where the proceeds will be donated to the North Carolina Pottery Center. This is just another example of one of the many opportunities where you can buy a beautiful piece of pottery - for yourself - and at the same time help keep the doors of the NC Pottery Center open and help continue the story that the Center tells of the history of pottery and history of North Carolina and regional pottery and potters.
Linda and I just added a piece made by Courtney Martin to our pottery collection when we were at last year’s fall crafts fair of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild in Asheville, NC. It’s nice to know she is one of the potters who will offer work to benefit the Pottery Center. I guess what goes around does come back around.
How many opportunities will you have in your lifetime where a $25 electronic donation made on the Pottery Center’s website ( can make a difference? Where buying pottery you wanted can help keep a great facility open and continue to be a great asset in the greater Carolina art community. If everyone reading this does just a little on their part, the Center will be saved. There are many ways to participate, just make sure you do. And, I’ll thank you in advance.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Press Release

Spectacular results of an auction to benefit the North Carolina Pottery Center

A standing-room only crowd of lively bidders on Sunday at Leland Little Auction and Estate Sales, Ltd. in Hillsborough, raised $34,000 for the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove. Organized by several dedicated supporters of NCPC, the auction featured 191 fine examples of NC pottery donated by several prominent collectors throughout the state, and fetched almost twice as much as the $20,000 that had been anticipated. The sale centered on a substantial collection of Art Ware pottery generously given by Dr. Everette James.

Leland Little very kindly waived all the costs associated with the auction, and in two hours, all the 191 pots had been snapped up by eager pottery lovers. Prices ranged from $10 bargains for a few smaller pieces, to several hundred dollars for many of the most collectible pots. Notable among theses items were a classic late nineteenth century Timothy Boggs canning jar from Alamance County that sold for $650, a handsome J.A. Craven Randolph County crock that sold for $800, and a delightful small green Carolina Pottery frog that sold for $450. Bidding was fierce between members of the knowledgeable collecting community.

NCPC is dedicated to promoting public awareness of North Carolina’s pottery heritage, through educational programs, an extensive permanent collection which is on view at it’s location in Seagrove, and changing pottery exhibitions of old and new NC pots. Like the nearby NC Zoo, this jewel in the state’s cultural heritage draws visitors from around the state and beyond. North Carolina is known as “The Pottery State,” and the response to Sunday’s auction demonstrated a tremendous level of support for NCPC among North Carolina pottery lovers. The extra money puts NCPC on the road to a secure financial footing for the next fiscal year.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Auction Results

Today was the auction for the NCPC
at Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. Hillsborough, NC
The crowd was large with- standing room only.
I am happy to report the auction raised 35,050.00
Bringing our figure up to 80,549.00.
Pictured at right are Dr. Everette James and his wife Nancy sharing the good news.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Just a note to talk about fundraising.
We are over what I consider our 1/2 way point.
$45,499.00- I am elated and hope to report to you next week how well the auction went.
There are some wonderful works which have been donated.
Lets go buy some!

Auction this Sunday

Fundraising Auction for NC Pottery Center

Date: 28-Sep-2008--Location: Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. Hillsborough, NC
A Fundraising Auction of North Carolina pottery to benefit the North Carolina Pottery Center, hosted by Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd.
Featuring the legendary collection of Art Pottery of Dr. Everette James.

Including Catawba Valley pottery, Eastern Piedmont salt-glaze, and other Art Ware pots
donated by many well-known collectors and potters from across the state.

Sale: Sunday, September 28, 2008,
2:00 P.M.
Location: Auction Gallery, 246 S. Nash St.,
Directions: I-85 exit 164, I-40 exit 261, to downtown Hillsborough, left on W. King St., left on S. Nash St

An illustrated catalogue is posted online

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Mystique of North Carolina

Part 2
by A. Everette James Jr.

Author: North Carolina Art Pottery

Arthur Ray (A. R.) Cole was both an accomplished turner and glazer. The unused hues of his 1930s glazes made Rainbow Pottery famous. The glazes developed by Henry Cooper, owner of North State Pottery, have created a following of collectors that seek only these examples of North Carolina art pottery. Certain of the glazes are rare and a number of the glaze combinations unique. The variety is so great that irrespective of the size of a collection it would not encompass all Henry Cooper’s oeuvre.

Vase with unusual glaze by Jonah Owen

The glaze work of C. B. Masten, a potter from Indiana employed by C. R. Auman in the 1930s, produced some of the best decorative salt glazing seen in America. Master pieces often have an abstract distribution of the secondary, contrasting glaze. Examples of his artistry have become expensive. The very well illustrated exhibit of his work by the North Carolina State University Gallery of Art and Design demonstrated the originality and artistic breadth of his glazes.

Several accomplished Journey-men potters are only recently garnering the acclaim their abilities deserve. Often they moved from one pottery to another never to accumulate the identifiable body of examples necessary to develop a particular signature. Collectors sometimes acquire forms or glazes with a distinct similarity and by subsequent investigation, identify the potter.

Jonah ("Jonie") Owen began turning for his father at J. H. Owen Pottery before the 1920s. He was an early potter at the shop that would become North State under Henry Cooper.
Jonah Owen produced wares with his brother Walter before North State identified their products with a stamp (1924-1925). Many of the examples by Jonah demonstrated similar forms irrespective of where they were turned. Jonah’s glaze application sometimes had the exotic, somewhat abstract appearance not unlike C. B. Masten examples that would have come a decade later.

Vase 11" cobalt decoration over clear glaze.
Attributed to J. H. Owen.
Very rare. Edward collection.

Rebecca Palmer hired Jonah Owen in 1924 and he brought with him some of the shapes fashioned at J. H. Owen, his father’s pottery. The vase with trophy-like handles is a notable example. Earlier in 1923, Bessie and Tweet Hunter had hired Jonah Owen, Clarence Cole, and Cecil Auman to turn for them at Log Cabin Pottery located in the Guilford College area. Jonah’s examples were turned and often glazed at the Hunter site but fired elsewhere in Seagrove making quality control difficult. The identifying stamp or logo was a log cabin drawn on the bottom of the greenware, often by Myrtice Owen the designer. This was later covered with glaze. Jonah Owen’s examples can only be designated by their turning characteristics. Log Cabin Pottery was a short-lived operation (1923-1927) and after it closed Jonah Owen set up his own operation at Sodom.

James G. Teague (1906-1988) is another of the journeyman Seagrove potters that we are now coming to appreciate the beauty and sophistication of his examples. Jim Teague was from a distinguished family of potters. His brother Charlie was the first potter at Jugtown, before Ben Owen, and "Duck" operated Teague Pottery on Highway 27 south of Hemp which is now Robbins.

James Teague operated his own pottery shop in the 1930s which he sold to C. C. Cole when Teague went to work for Fulper Pottery Company in New Jersey as a demonstration potter. In 1941 Teague returned to North Carolina and opened a shop making large pieces mainly for other potteries such as Joe Owen at Glen Art, M. L. Owens Pottery, and for his brother Duck at Teague Pottery. His son Archie (1935-1998) opened Hand T. Pottery with Archie’s father-in- law Homer Hancock in the 1960s.

Jim Teague’s skill as a turner is outstanding and any examples by him, if identified, are collectible. Often he used incised rings at the juncture between the body and neck of his vessels. He often made wares in which the height seems to be the achievement of the graceful form.
North Carolina art pottery has much to recommend it purely upon an aesthetic basis. However, part of the appeal not always present for other genre is the mystique, the unknown, and yet to be discovered associated with North Carolina art pottery. The collector and scholar are attracted to this intellectual aspect of this particular genre.

Seagrove Pottery, Dorothy Cole Auman & Walter Auman

About the author:
Everette James, a native of rural Martin County, NC., was educated at the University of NC in Chapel Hill, Duke Medical School, Harvard, and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Dr. James taught at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, University College London, and Vanderbilt. He has published more than 20 books and 500 articles and established St. James Place, a restored historic Primitive Baptist church exhibiting over 400 examples of North Carolina pottery. He and his wife, Dr. Nancy Farmer, have donated their collection of Nell Cole Graves pottery to the North Carolina Pottery Museum at Seagrove and a survey collection of 250 examples to the Chapel Hill Museum. They live in Chapel Hill and are active in community affairs.
All illustrations taken from North Carolina Art Pottery by permission.

Reminder for the coming week

Sept. 28, 2008 - Fundraising Auction for NC Pottery Center

Date: 28-Sep-2008
Time: 2 PM
Location: Hillsborough, NC

Description: Fundraising Auction of NC Pottery to Benefit the NC Pottery Center
A Fundraising Auction of North Carolina pottery to benefit the North Carolina Pottery Center, hosted by Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd., featuring the legendary collection of Art Ware pottery of Dr. Everette James, as well as Catawba Valley pottery, Eastern Piedmont salt-glaze, and other Art Ware pots donated by many well-known collectors and potters from across the state.
Sale: Sunday, September 28, 2008, 2:00 P.M.
Location: Auction Gallery, 246 S. Nash St., Hillsborough
Directions: I-85 exit 164, I-40 exit 261, to downtown Hillsborough, left on W. King St., left on S. Nash St.
Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd.
246 S. Nash St.,

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Mystique of North Carolina Art Pottery

Part 1-
"The Mystique of North Carolina Art Pottery"

by A. Everette James Jr.

Author: North Carolina Art Pottery

Two-handled vase, unsigned. 16 1/2" chrome red. Handle and lip probably 1920s. Attributed to Jacob B. Cole.

North Carolina art pottery had its inspiration in the utilitarian tradition dating as far back for some of the "turners and burners" eight or nine generations ago. This evolution from the historical glazes and forms employed to achieve function to a primary aesthetic basis was a particularly arduous one. Today North Carolina art pottery is being recognized for the artistic achievement it represents.

The large body of rather pedestrian fare has created the idea that all North Carolina pottery is commonplace, inexpensive, and with little artistic merit. It may also be difficult to identify unless it is Jugtown or Pisgah Forest. In fact, some collectors refer to North Carolina art pottery as "Jugtown" equating in their minds the separate entities. However, the outstanding examples of North Carolina pottery are rare and Jugtown (one of the truly important potteries) is located in the Seagrove area along with another hundred shops.

In North Carolina, the fashioning of clay pots occurs in several distinct locales and has its origin from different nationalities and cultures. The Seagrove potters’ forebearers were English, mainly from Staffordshire, and in the central Piedmont the ancestry was German. In the far west, Native American traditions formed the historical basis for the creations we collect.

One of the more intriguing aspects of North Carolina art pottery is that a substantial number of examples are unmarked. The proper identification of pieces represents a challenge and adds to the pleasure of acquisition.

J. B. Cole pottery, one of the largest of North Carolina, employed a number of potters and marked less than 1% of the thousands of wares they made before closing the shop in the 1980s. In the 1930s they published a catalogue of their wares turned by the four potters of Waymon Cole, Philmore Graves, Nell Cole Graves, and Bascomb King.

Pot on left :Unusual A. R. Cole 13 1/2" vase. Mason Stains applied over white base. $350-$425. Note shape of lug handles as an adaptation of historical shapes in North Carolina employed by the Moravian potters.

J. B. Cole pottery had many contractual relations with other businesses to make pottery for them. They would identify the contracting institution by a stamp designed for that specific purpose. Thus, "Sunset Mountain" and "Goose Creek" are not potteries but wares made in the J. B. Cole shop for these businesses. Some collectors like to acquire examples with unusual locations designated by the stamp or label. The Hiltons in the Catawba Valley also produced wares for tourists in resorts such as Tryon where an art colony also flourished in the early to middle decades of the 20th century.

Since there was little aesthetically to borrow upon from the utilitarian tradition, many North Carolina art pottery forms were adapted from Oriental and European shapes and designs. This transition was not seamless and the progression often manifest itself in unique pieces. In fact, one of the most interesting subsets of the North Carolina art pottery spectrum are the transitional wares produced between 1915-1930. One can visually trace the struggle that these families of potters were enduring to continue a tradition practiced for centuries by their forebears. They were, for them, exploring uncharted waters.

Pot Below: Two-handled vase, 13 1/4", double glaze, incised line decoration. Attributed to Charles Teague at Jugtown. Very rare. Edwards collection.

In a labor intensive, multi-tasked endeavor such as the production of handmade North Carolina art pottery, the lack of uniformity can be a problem or a virtue. Some of the pieces may not be desirable due to color and form. Conversely, certain examples will be visually attractive and unique. The variation of Rebecca pitcher or basket forms are almost infinite. The variety of patterns of chrome red or Chinese blue is limitless. Only a few of the potters are known outside the area and then only to avid collectors. Ben Owen, Sr. was the potter at Jugtown for almost four decades. His translation of oriental forms to the shapes featured in Jugtown ware earned him the title "master potter." Jack (or Jacques) Busbee, owner of Jugtown, was trained as a painter at the Art Students’ League in New York. He had seen a great deal of pottery from other cultures in museums and shared this knowledge with young Ben Owen. This long-standing partnership resulted in graceful adaptation of oriental and European forms with their glazes by names such as tobacco spit, Chinese blue, and frogskin. Jugtown has a national following of collectors.

Part 2 to be posted later this week--------------------------------

About the author:Everette James, a native of rural Martin County, NC., was educated at the University of NC in Chapel Hill, Duke Medical School, Harvard, and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Dr. James taught at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, University College London, and Vanderbilt. He has published more than 20 books and 500 articles and established St. James Place, a restored historic Primitive Baptist church exhibiting over 400 examples of North Carolina pottery. He and his wife, Dr. Nancy Farmer, have donated their collection of Nell Cole Graves pottery to the North Carolina Pottery Museum at Seagrove and a survey collection of 250 examples to the Chapel Hill Museum. They live in Chapel Hill and are active in community affairs. All illustrations taken from North Carolina Art Pottery by permission.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

North Carolina Pottery Center: Squirrel Bottle

We will be featuring some of the pieces that are part of the collection in the North Carolina Pottery Center. Nothing compares to seeing pottery in person so if you get the chance to come to Seagrove check out the Center's collection.

The first piece is a Moravian squirrel bottle.

This is a quote from the North Carolina Pottery Center booklet that can be purchased in the gift shop, "The Moravians are a Protestant sect founded in the German regions of central Europe. During the 1730's they began emigrating to America, first to Georgia and Pennsylvania, and then to North Carolina."

Michael Kline, a potter from the mountains, asked how would this bottle functioned?
I asked Mary Farrell owner of Westmoore Pottery if she has come across an answer to this. She replied, "I don't think anyone really knows the answer to this question. Being a bottle, they could have been used as such. However, I know of no antique ones which have been recovered with any contents inside them. My guess is that they were made and sold mainly as decorative items (The wear patterns - no overabundance of chipping at the bottle openings -- would tend to support this.)"

The Squirrel Bottle is attributed to Rudolph Christ from Forsyth County. The dates are c 1800-1825. This is lead glazed earthenware and is on loan from Old Salem, Inc.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Inside the North Carolina Pottery Center

The above image has two women pictured. The woman on the left is Nell Cole Graves and on the right is Dorothy Auman.

We are planning on doing a series of what one may find inside the North Carolina Pottery Center when they visit. There are many people that may have heard of the Center but have not had the pleasure to see it in person yet. We wanted to show everyone what a fine place this is and how important it is to keep the doors open. Please take the time to visit the Pottery Center and discover for yourself what a wonderful facility this is for learning about North Carolina pottery, and the rich history of working with clay.

The Pictures below are an overview of of the permanent display.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Skinny on Saving the NC Pottery Center

The Skinny on Saving the NC Pottery Center, By Tom Starland
I last posted info about the effort to save the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, on Aug. 18, 2008. So it’s time to update you readers on what has happened since then.
The last time I gave an update on money raised it was on Aug. 11, 2008, and at that time $30,000 had been raised. As I post this the current amount raised is $41,983.89. That’s almost half way to their goal of raising $90,000. The remaining $10,000 will be donated by a NC couple to cap off the goal of raising $100,000. That’s a glass half-full view. See, I can be positive at times.
A whopping $2,325 of that money was raised by Mark Hewitt’s raffle for a 2-gallon jar, of his creation. 116 tickets were purchased for the raffle, (if you’re doing the math - one person paid $25 instead of $20 for their ticket) with all the proceeds to benefit the NC Pottery Center. The lucky winner was Greg Sims of Durham, NC. Sims now has helped save the Pottery Center and won a jar worth $350. If he only purchased one ticket for $20 - that’s a very nice investment - on both levels.
Another development is that Meredith Heywood of Whynot Pottery has started a new blog for information about the effort to save the NC Pottery Center - it can be found at ( You’ll get the very latest info on this blog. You can learn about other raffles and opportunities to purchase pottery and help the NC Pottery Center keep it’s door open.
The BIG event taking place this month will be a benefit auction hosted by Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales (, on Sept. 28, 2008, in Hillsborough, NC. Dr. Everette James, an eminent NC pottery collector and Board member of the NC Pottery Center, has generously donated a substantial collection of NC pottery to be put up for bid. Other noted collectors from around the state have joined the effort, donating treasured antique NC pots for this auction. A second auction, held at the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, will be held in the spring of 2009. It will feature contemporary North Carolina pottery.
On a good news/bad news event, Denny Mecham, who was the executive director of the NC Pottery Center has been hired as the new executive director of the future Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, MS. “This is a new Frank Gehry-designed museum”.
It didn’t take long for the search committee in Biloxi to select Mecham out of 40 applicants. Seagrove’s loss is Biloxi’s gain, but I’m sure the folks in Seagrove are happy Mecham was discovered to be the talented and experienced asset - they knew.
Let’s just hope that the powers that be in NC realize, before it’s too late, what could be lost if the NC Pottery Center is also allowed to slip away. Of course you people out there can have a lot to say about that possibility too. You can make a donation toward the $90,000 goal, you can become a member of the NC Pottery Center, you can participate in one of the benefit auctions, raffles, or by purchasing a piece of pottery where the proceeds will be donated. You can also help by spreading the word about the effort to save the NC Pottery Center - knowledge is power.

I am adding a note on this -Thanks Samantha Henneke from Bulldog Pottery for your help putting up the photos inside the center.
Beautiful job. Meredith

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dan Finch Raffle for the NCPC

North Carolinian selected as head of Ohr-O'Keefe

North Carolinian selected as head of Ohr-O'Keefe

North Carolina potter, educator, museum director and arts leader Denny Mecham starts work Oct. 15 as the new executive director of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi.
She follows Marjorie Gowdy, who retired at the end of August.
Mecham was chosen from a field of about 40 applicants, of which Ohr board members interviewed 21 by phone and the final five in person.
"We're pretty pleased with our find, I've got to tell you," Ohr board President Larry Clark said Monday about Mecham's selection.
"With her background and experience with fundraising and building projects, she's the whole package. People are thrilled with her abilities, but her personality and temperament make her the type person who is going to fit into our community."
That was a key factor. The board wanted someone willing to move to the Coast and make it their home, Clark said, who would become involved in the community and would make a 10-year commitment to the museum.
'I think God must have sent her to us,'
" Clark quoted someone saying of Mecham.
On Monday, the first time Mecham saw the beachfront construction site for the new Frank Gehry-designed museum, she told the Sun Herald, "It took my breath away. All I can see is the potential. What a vision."
She said a museum "really represents that true independent and creative spirit that is the people of that area.
"By working with tourism, by providing a network for community activities... a museum does not stand alone," Mecham said. "Part of its job is to engage the community, both local and national.
"My job is to fundraise, get grants, be proactive. The board is very clear that given the economic needs of the area that our fundraising needs to happen elsewhere. We have a real challenge there."
First on her agenda is... " to jump right in and immediately prioritize," she said. "I'll be listening more than anything."
She will be here next week to find a place to live, then will be publicly introduced at the annual Beau Rivage gala Oct. 15.
The Mecham file
Who: Denny Mecham, the newly named executive director of the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, who begins duties here Oct. 15.
Education: She holds two master's degrees, one in science in studio art and the other in art; worked as a college instructor for 22 years, most recently as assistant professor of art at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C.;
Artist: Was a potter for many years, also a weaver and painter; continued as a studio artist while teaching.
Museums: In 1994 became museum curator, then director, at the Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury, N.C., and directed the capital campaign to build a new art center. Currently she is executive director at the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, N.C., a museum dedicated to showcasing North Carolina pottery.

Monday, September 8, 2008

And the Winner is.............

At 5 pm on Sunday, August 31, the last customer at the Hewitt's Summer Kiln Opening drew the winning raffle ticket for the two gallon jar. Visiting the pottery for the first time, Emily Wilkins, from Rutherfordton, NC, who was staying with her aunt and uncle, Terry and Carole Herndon in Pittsboro, pulled out the winning ticket. The lucky winner is Greg Sims of Durham, NC. Congratulations Greg!

116 tickets were purchased for the Raffle, raising a grand total of $2325 (one person paid $25 instead of $20 for their ticket), with all the proceeds to benefit the North Carolina Pottery Center.

NCPC Article

The North Carolina Pottery Center is the physical manifestation of years of advocacy on behalf of North Carolina’s ceramic tradition by a host of dedicated collectors, historians, potters, and enthusiasts. Opened in 1998 to promote awareness of North Carolina’s outstanding emblematic craft, NCPC has become a much-loved, state-wide institution, exhibiting the best pots from around the state, both historic and contemporary, and educating schoolchildren, scout groups, tourists, even potters, about North Carolina’s ceramic heritage. Located at the center of the vibrant pottery community of Seagrove, south of Asheboro, NCPC is also a welcome center for visitors to Seagrove potteries.

In July of 2008, the Board of Directors, along with past Board members and friends of the NCPC, launched a multi-faceted, fundraising campaign for the Center. Our goal is to raise $100,000 and the campaign is well underway, with $40,000 raised so far.

Dr. Everette James, an eminent NC pottery collector and Board member, donated a substantial collection of NC pottery to be put up for bid at a Benefit Auction for NCPC. Many other noted collectors and potters from around the state have spontaneously joined the effort, donating treasured antique North Carolina pots for this auction.

The quality of the donated pots is truly spectacular, indicating the breadth of support for NCPC, an institution many feel is a priceless cultural treasure. Over 190 pots and “box lots” (groups of smaller pots), have been assembled, and among these are superb examples from all the different regions, makers, and time periods of North Carolina’s ceramic history. There are wonderful utilitarian wares from both the Randolph County area and the Catawba Valley, some of them with rare maker’s marks, as well as enticing transitional pots from the early twentieth century, and then an outstanding variety of “Art Ware” pots from the 1930’s -!960’s. All the great names and styles of North Carolina pottery are represented.

What is exciting about this collection, apart from the fundraising effort on behalf of NCPC, is that it offers the public a chance to see, bid, and perhaps own, part of North Carolina’s distinctive ceramic history. Nowadays you can buy objects to ornament your home that have been made all over the world, but this auction allows people an opportunity to give their living spaces a truly North Carolinian flavor. These distinctive, high-quality pots are homegrown, and will appreciate in value as they warm a domestic interior with their unique friendliness. We look forward to sharing them with the pottery lovers of North Carolina.

For more information, please visit and

Sunday, September 7, 2008

North Carolina Pottery Center Auction

Fundraising Auction of NC Pottery
to Benefit The North Carolina Pottery Center

Names of potters included in the Auction are:
James Franklin Seagle, SL Hartsoe, early unsigned Catawba Valley (possibly Lefevers),
Propst, JW Hilton, Blackburn, Harvey Reinhardt, Thomas Ritchie, John Goodman,
B.B.Craig, Albert Hodge,unsigned Edgefield SC, unsigned Webster School, EA Poe, H Fox,
Tim Boggs, JF Brower, JAMacon, WH Hancock, JA Craven, JD Craven, JM Hayes,
several excellent earthenware dirtdishes,
Pisgah Forest, George Donkel, WM Penland, Log Cabin, Carolina Pottery, Rainbow,
Sunset Mtn, Smithfield, Auman, Seagrove Pottery, Dorothy Auman signed Seagrove Pottery,
CBMaston, CC Cole, Rainbow, AR Cole, JB Cole, Neolia and Celia Cole, David Garner,
Billy Ray Hussey, Mark Hewitt, Charlie Craven, Joe Owen, ML Owens,
Jugtown, Charlie Moore, Ben Owen Master Potter,
Nancy Sweezy signed Jugtown, and many more.

Names of donors:
Dr. Everette James, John and Jerry Gimesh, Bragg Cox, Tim Blackburn, Scott Smith,
Bill Ivey,David Blackburn, Tommy Cranford, Jugtown Pottery, Nancy Blount,
Neil Lapp, Charlotte Brown,Sandra Frohner, Bruce Gholson, Ray Smith,
Fran Irvin, Tom Turner, Cathy Blackwelder, Beth Ann and Tommy McPherson,
Caroleen Sanders, Gene Brown, Cindy and Tommy Edwards,
Steve Compton, Ray Owen, Alan and Barry Huffman, Monty Busick,
Terry Zug, WD Morton.

A Fundraising Auction of North Carolina pottery to benefit the North
Carolina Pottery Center,
hosted by Leland Little Auction & EstateSales, Ltd.,
featuring the legendary collection of Art Ware pottery of
Dr. Everette James, as well as Catawba Valley pottery, Eastern Piedmont
salt-glaze, and other Art Ware pots donated by many well-known
collectors and potters from across the state.

SALE: Sunday, September 28, 2008, 2:00 P.M.
LOCATION: LLAES, Ltd. Auction Gallery, 246 S. Nash St., Hillsborough, NC
DIRECTIONS: I-85 exit 164, I-40 exit 261, to downtown Hillsborough,
left on W. King St., left on S. Nash St.
An illustrated catalogue will be posted online prior to the auction.