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August Issue 2006

Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, NC, Offers 2nd Potters Market Invitational on Sept. 9, 2006

The second annual Potters Market Invitational will be held Sept. 9, 2006, on the lawn of the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, NC, from 10am-4pm. Presented by the Delhom Service League as a fund-raiser for the Mint, this year's market will showcase 41 potters from North Carolina's most important pottery regions and traditions.

Tickets are $6 and ticket sales will begin on the day of the sale at 9:30am. There will be no advance ticket sales. The entry fee includes admission to the Mint (on the day of the sale only). Proceeds support the Mint's decorative arts collection. Parking is free.

Last year's record crowd - 2,000 buyers purchased admission tickets to shop for premium wares in the white tent on the Mint's lawn - confirmed an avid interest in North Carolina pottery. This year's event promises to be even better, with an expanded invitational list drawing on the state's best potters from Seagrove, Catawba Valley, the Piedmont and the mountains, including Penland. A larger tent with an additional entrance will be provided.

"We are pleased to support another year of the Potters Market Invitational," said Phil Kline, executive director of The Mint Museums. "The turn out and success of last year's market exceeded our highest expectations." Pottery enthusiasts will have the opportunity to meet and buy from nationally-renowned potters as well as from a select group of up-and-coming craftsmen. Pieces will range from dinnerware and garden bells to art vases and important collectors' pieces, with many items priced affordably for the beginning buyer.

Participating potters will include Cynthia Bringle of Penland, a leader in the North Carolina crafts movement; Donna Craven of Seagrove, known for salt-glazed pots that are wood fired; Ben Owen III of Seagrove, whose grandfather, Ben Owen, was one of the earliest potters to work for Jugtown Pottery; Jane Peiser, a Penland trustee whose colorful pieces are in the Smithsonian; and David Stuempfle of Seagrove whose simple forms have been influenced by travels and exhibitions in Japan and South Korea.

"We are thrilled with the first rate lineup of potters participating in the second annual Potters Market Invitational. The range and quality of wares offered will be outstanding," says Julia Van Huss, chair of this year's event. The president of the Delhom Service League, Caroline Gray, notes that "the market will introduce many who are not familiar with North Carolina pottery to some of the state's best potters. It will be a very special event."

The Potters Market Invitational will be the first such event for some potters who do not sell outside of galleries and kiln openings. One of those is David Stuempfle, a prominent potter referenced in The Potter's Eye: Art and Tradition in North Carolina Pottery (2005). Stuempfle has spent years experimenting with local clays in his wood-fired kilns to achieve unique surfaces on his pottery. Because he does not apply glazes to the clay surfaces, each pot's placement in the kiln during firing - how close it is to the heat - has a dramatic effect on the outcome. Some are even buried under embers to get a crusty, wood ash surface. His persistence through trial and error has given him a distinctive body of work. "For me, it's mainly about the results, the unique surfaces I can get on the pottery," he says.

Last year's show was very successful for the potters, with some selling out of their inventory. "It's the best show I have ever done," Donna Craven said. Crowds packed the aisles, having the rare opportunity to see, under one roof, pottery from some of the state's best talent. Traditional wares made from indigenous clays fired in groundhog kilns - a kiln construction that dates back hundreds of years in the state - were displayed beside contemporary and experimental styles of pottery.

The Mint Museums, which holds the largest public collection of North Carolina pottery, has been instrumental in collecting and exhibiting this native craft. In 2004, the museum's holdings were profiled in a major scholarly work edited by Dr. Barbara Perry, the Curator of Decorative Arts. Perry's book, North Carolina Pottery: The Collection of The Mint Museums (2004), examines the North Carolina pottery tradition, which is the oldest continuing pottery tradition in the United States that is not Native American.

The Delhom Service League, which is presenting the Invitational, is an affiliate of The Mint Museums. Members study and promote education in the decorative arts, particularly ceramics. During the academic year, the League sponsors monthly lectures by visiting scholars that are free and open to the public. Members teach classes on the history of ceramics, highlighting pieces in the Delhom Gallery that trace the development of techniques and materials. Members serve as gallery guides, assist in the Delhom-Gambrell Library, prepare and present research papers, tour other museums and collections, and sponsor special programs and seminars. Dr. Perry leads the group and shares in its mission of promoting interest in ceramics. Membership is open to all Mint members.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 704/337-2000 or at (www.mintmuseum.org).



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