Artists 2016

nicknamed Gay, is a studio potter & teaching artist single firing porcelain ware in a soda kiln near Penland, NC. She held artist-in-residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana and at Penland School in Penland, NC. Her teaching credits include workshops at  Penland

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Visiting Artists: Ronan Peterson, Joy Tanner, William Baker

join Suze Lindsay, Kent McLaughlin, and Gay Smith for

our 14th and Final Soda Chicks & Chet Pottery Home Sale

September 3rd & 4th, 2016

Gertrude Graham Smith, a.k.a. Soda Chick
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Ronan Peterson
Joy Tanner

Integrating the way I experience the world with the way I design and create functional pottery is essential to my creativity. Whether rinsing garden tomatoes at the kitchen sink, or pausing to study wildflowers along the trail, I believe in taking time to notice the little details of life. I am just as awed by the way a leaf connects to its stem as I am the folds of a mountain range or bursts of clouds at sunset. I always view these things with an eye toward conserving and celebrating the environment that I live in.  My work bears the mark of these values, resulting in uniquely designed pottery that is just as inviting to ponder and touch as it is to use and share.

I make wheel-thrown and hand-built wares for the home, including bowls, cups, plates, pitchers, vases, servers, lidded jars, teapots, and platters. My color palate features earthy reds, deep browns, soft blushes of whites, twilight blues and natural variations of pattern that result from the wood and soda firings.  To pair with these tones of autumn, I add glazes of brilliant ambers, warm yellows, shades of golden honey, and watery olive greens to the carved areas. Glazes spread and lightly pool across textured surfaces and highlight the curve of a handle, the lip of a tumbler, or the small peak or divot on a bowl.

While I pay equal attention to form, surface, and detail, my pottery is most celebrated for its elegantly carved or pressed patterns inspired by nature. These patterns accrue a rhythm all their own as they swirl, spiral, and drape across surfaces, suggesting waving grass, ripples in a stream, stalks of wheat, terraced slopes, thistles and pods, or windblown tracks in the sand. Cradling a cup or bowl in their hands, people feel inspired to bring a sense of awareness and ritual into their lives. In the end, I hope that echoes of the natural world in my work invite them to consider the importance of conservation and conscious living.

My pots are made using stoneware and occasionally porcelain clays. The pots are ‘fired’ to 2380 degrees F. in a reduction kiln. Most of my work is made using a potter’s wheel.  My glaze palette includes shinos, celedons, warm yellows and iron reds, which reference the fertile grounds that surround my mountain studio and home.  I decorate using textural roping techniques, as well as wax patterning between layers of glazes.

I try to make pots that have an immediate visual effect but will reveal subtleties with use.”

Kent McLaughlin

“Teaching workshops in our field has been rewarding, and I continue to share what I know at places like Penland School of Crafts in NC, Anderson Ranch art Center in Colorado, Curaumilla Art Center in Valparaiso, Chile.”

Kent McLaughlin, a.k.a. Chet
Suze Lindsay, a.ka. Soda Chick

She has been a presenter at the Utilitarian Clay Conference in Tennessee, the Alabama Clay Conference, North Country Studio Conference in Vermont, and Fusion-Ontario Clay and Glass Association Conference in Toronto.  Awards include Best of Show in the First Annual Strictly Functional Pottery National, and Emerging Artist at the 2000 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Art conference.

Her work is in the permanent collections of George E Ohr Museum in Biloxi MS, Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taipei, Taiwan ,San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo, TX.,  Islip Art Museum, NY,  Kennedy Museum of American Art, Athens OH,  Greenwich House Pottery, NY, Lancaster Museum of Art, East Petersburg, PA, Rocky Mount Arts Center, Raleigh, NC ,  The North Carolina Pottery Center, Seagrove, and Manchester Craftsmans Guild, Pittsburgh, PA.

Suze’s stoneware pots subtly suggest figure and character as she manipulates her forms by altering them after they are thrown.  Hand built elements, made from slabs, are joined with thrown parts to create functional forms that have a personality of their own.  An integral part of her work includes surface decoration to enhance form by patterning and painting slips and glazes for salt-firing.  Her mark making is strongly influenced by studying historical

“I ‘’discovered’ pottery making while attending college in 1973. I was fortunate to apprentice with a production potter for 3 years. During that experience, I was able to hone craftsmanship and making skills while discovering what is required to make a living as a potter.

I am influenced by an Eastern aesthetic, early Chinese, Korean, and Japanese pottery. Those cultures seem to have found balance between function and beauty.

I was also very fortunate to be a studio assistant for Warren McKenzie when he taught at Penland School of Crafts in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. His approach to making is a strong influence on my thinking.

I was also very fortunate to be a studio assistant for Warren McKenzie when he taught at Penland School of Crafts in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. His approach to making is a strong influence on my thinking.

School, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, the Harvard Ceramics Studio, and the Findhorn Foundation in Northern Scotland. Her work is represented internationally, and can be viewed in publications including Making Marks and Functional Pottery by Robin Hopper, and Working with Clay by Susan Peterson. Awards include a North Carolina Arts Council Visual Artist Fellowship and two Regional Artist Project Grants. Currently, she serves on the Board of Trustees of Penland School of  Crafts.

“These days, I contemplate the relevance of living as a practicing artist with our planet facing extraordinary shifts. I imagine how the work of my hands and heart may be of benefit. Perhaps, working as a potter develops beneficial qualities: caring attention, commitment, honesty, courage, passion, hard work, love of beauty, and a willingness to get one’s hands dirty. Engaging daily in the primordial, mysterious act of creation with earth, water, fire, air, the essential raw materials of which we and the pots are made, links us with all earthly life.

Simple pottery, like cups, are made to hold and serve nourishment. Do consciously made pots carry some ineffable ability to transform and heal? What may be embedded in the stone of fired clay by the alchemical bond between material, process, and person. What is conveyed through use or enjoyment? I’m intending a reality where compassion arises in the heart when hand embraces handle.”

photo courtesy of Porter Halyburton

Essentially, I am dealing with effects of agents of growth and decay and how these agents shape and embellish the surfaces of stones and the skins of trees. These agents also serve key roles in interacting with my ceramic vessels.  Mushrooms, seed pods, grubs and other growths serve as knobs and handles, allowing one to remove lids and discover what might be inside or underneath a covered vessel, like lifting a rock to have insects scurry in many different directions when subjected to the light of day. The vessels are not intended to be actual representations of the trees and rocks, but abstractions and stylizations of these natural phenomena. Employing an earthy background palette stretched across textured but quieter surfaces, I wanted to upset that quiet earthiness with intense splashes of vibrant color, patterns, and glossy surfaces not commonly associated with tree bark or the rough surfaces of rocks amidst fallen leaves.  I am interested in inflated volume and thick line qualities that reference comic style drawings and how that can apply to interpreting the natural world. With my ceramic vessels I hope to create a comic book interpretation of the natural world with a focus on the rocks and trees and their role in the perpetual organic comedy of growth and decay.

William Baker

From concept to design to final firing, my process for making functional pottery requires an intimate relationship with both preparation and chance. I embrace the challenge of creating a smooth surface free of unintentional marks. This element of control is balanced by the unknowns of firing in a wood and soda kiln. People who use my pottery on a daily basis also engage intimately with the work. This final act of appreciation enhances its beauty and brings my creative process full circle.

I make lidded jars, small bowls and plates, keepsake boxes, oval vases, dinner plates, cups, and large vessels with specific attention to minimalist surfaces that curve and swell into sturdy, yet elegant, functional pottery. Ranging in size from several inches tall to nearly a foot-and-a-half, this work always features one or more of my signature design elements: squared panels and corners that emerge softly from full-bodied curves; fat, square knobs that balance atop squared lids; or lipped bases and rounded rims that complete a form to its very edges.

These features enable me to create interesting surfaces perfect for highlighting natural colors that result from firing. As each piece is fired, it is subject to the whim of wood ash, flame, and soda vapor. The result is a one-of-a-kind visual landscape: varied tones of deep red, soft peach, light cream, bronze, olive green and muted gray spread and overlap naturally, fading and intensifying in swatches and pools. Up close, some pieces appear dappled or freckled in layers of color. From afar, surface patterns evoke a solar field, layers of soil, or bright patches of rock. In the end, the combination of intentionally crafted forms and an uncontrolled atmosphere for surface design brings my work to life.

ceramics from cultures in Japan, Crete, Chile, China, and Native North Americans.  The springboard for form and function started with the study of Bernard Leach’s ideas while she was a CORE fellow at Penland  School of Crafts from 1987-1989, and continue to feed her interpretation of altered forms that function well. Her intentions are to create pots that have a personality and enhance daily life.

Suze received her MFA from Louisiana School State University in 1992, and was an artist in residence at Penland School of Crafts from 1993-1996.  She owns and operates Fork Mountain Pottery with her husband and fellow potter, Kent McLaughlin.  They live and work in the mountains of western North Carolina.