Feature Articles

August 2013

Toe River Arts Council in Spruce Pine, NC, Offers Works by Potters of the Roan

The Toe River Arts Council in Spruce Pine, NC, will present New Traditions: Contemporary Perspectives from a Traditional Landscape, featuring works by members of the Potters of the Roan group, on view in the TRAC Gallery, from Aug. 17 through Sept. 28, 2013. A reception will be held on Aug. 17, from 5-7pm.

Whether driving over, driving around, or hiking across its jagged top, everyone on either side of Appalachia’s beloved Roan Mountain agrees: it’s a sight to see. Along the North Carolina side in Mitchell County, a group of potters has identified with this landscape for nearly fifteen years. “We’re connected by geography, but also by creative commonalities and friendships,” Potters of the Roan (POTR) member Courtney Martin explains of this 12-member guild of nationally known ceramicists. Her studio near Snow Creek is just a short walk from views of Roan Mountain’s distinct ridgeline.

POTR is organized as a self-guided year-round studio tour. Guild members place POTR logo signs near their studios to assist visitors, who come to drive the scenic roads surrounding Roan while following a printed map that connects one studio to the next. This August’s exhibition will feature museum-quality works from each member of the guild, displaying more individual pieces than POTR has gathered for any previous exhibition.

Jerry Jackson is the installer for the show. In addition to new work created by each artist, Jackson will be installing an interactive map of the Roan area with the intention of highlighting the private, interior spaces the artists work within and the public, exterior spaces that they take inspiration from. “I have no doubt that POTR is strongly influenced by community and shared, local arts events,” says Jackson. “But the solitude provided by Roan Mountain is just as important. Solitude doesn’t work for all artists, but this group believes in a way of life in which clay is a daily influence, not only in what they make, but how they live.”

Guild members featured in the show hope that the exhibition map, which will include photos and county landmarks, will likewise encourage people to venture out and visit POTR studios. “It only takes one trip to clearly understand the influences of daily surroundings such as earth, food, gardens, animals, and family,” says Jackson. “These traits can be found elsewhere in clay communities, but Roan Mountain has a magical way of protecting, teaching, and influencing. It’s inspiring to make the connection in person and follow the work back to its source.”

Visitors can expect to see everything from traditional jugs, hand dug clays, and atmospheric firings, to masterful brushwork, playful forms, and narrative sculptures. The body of work created for this exhibition will bridge the traditions of the past with the energy of today, exhibiting the best of POTR in the newly renovated TRAC gallery.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Council at 828/682-7215 or visit (www.toeriverarts.org). For info on the Potters of the Roan visit (www.pottersoftheroan.com).

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