Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University has invited Pittsboro-based potter Mark Hewitt to create an installation of 12 of his large ceramic pots on the museum's front lawn. "Mark Hewitt: Falling into Place" will be on view for several months starting February 11, 2010.

For nearly 30 years, Hewitt has drawn inspiration from Asian and West African ceramics, and the native North Carolina potting traditions of Seagrove and the Catawba River valley. Hewitt digs the clay, mixes his own glazes and fires in a wood burning kiln on his property. For this installation, the artist selected pots from his own collection, four private collections and the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington.

" 'Falling Into Place' describes my love affair with North Carolina and its venerable ceramic heritage," Hewitt said. "Finding this tradition was a little like an English guitar player discovering the blues."

The installation was conceived by Sarah Schroth, the Nancy Hanks Senior Curator at the Nasher Museum.

"Mark Hewitt is an internationally renowned potter whose work has been compared to icons, monuments and temples," Schroth said. "The huge scale of his work conveys an unmatched mastery of the medium. In this case, we are asking Mark to think like a sculptor. The daring placement of his beautiful pots with their salt glazes and incised patterns will create an organic transition between the museum's modernist architecture and the surrounding woods."

Hewitt was born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, England, and has lived in North Carolina since 1983. He has exhibited in New York, Tokyo and London, and co-curated the exhibition "The Potter's Eye: Art and Tradition in North Carolina Pottery" at the North Carolina Museum of Art in 2005.

The exhibition is supported by Marilyn M. Arthur.

IMAGES: Detail of "Memorial to a Fetish" photo by Jason Dowdle.

Monday, March 1, 2010

In Memoriam: Nancy Sweezy

Nancy Sweezy, well known for her role in preserving the Jugtown pottery tradition, departed this life on February 6, 2010, at the age of 88.

Sweezy was already established as a potter and a proponent of folk art traditions when she came to North Carolina to run Jugtown in 1968. Her interest in the Southern pottery tradition resulted in publication of Raised In Clay - The Southern Pottery Tradition by the University of North Carolina Press in 1984. This work is an essential book for students and collectors of Southern pottery.

In 2006, Sweezy was awarded the Bess Lomax Hawes Award and a National Heritage Fellowship Award -- a lifetime honor presented to master folk and traditional artists -- by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Obituary by Raleigh -- Sweezy, 88, revived jugtown