Wednesday, March 18, 2009

North Carolina Potter's Conference, Asheboro, 2009

from left to right: Allegheny Meadows, Phil Rogers, Mark Pharis

We are back from the Potters Conference and in the studio getting pots finished. We have a tight deadline upon us and we are busily mixing glazes, washing our pots, putting slip on some pots, waxing..... all of those lovely things we need to do to finish the process. I did want to take the time and talk a bit about the wonderful jammed packed, full of information weekend, Bruce, Gloria and I had in Asheboro.
Asheboro is around 15 minutes north of us and has done a wonderful job of revitalizing their downtown area. The Randolph Arts Guild has sculpture placed around the downtown, there is a coffee shop, antique mall, Sunset Theater, a farmers market open couple of days during the week, a new beer and wine store, plus other businesses around the streets.

Thank you to all of the staff and volunteers that put on this years Potters Conference.

All three potters that presented this past weekend are accomplished and personable. It was a fun place to be and well worth the time and the money being there.

Mark Pharis
Mark Pharis teaches at University of Minnesota. He has developed a unique approach to slab building utilizing paper patterns that he designs and evolves through constant experimentation . His forms are softly folded into teapots, bowls, and large oval plates, and reflect a strong interest in the unusual architecture of old agricultural structures found in his region. We felt from his presentation, that he would be a very engaging, stimulating, and challenging mentor, and the many strong figures in the ceramics field who have studied with him would seem to be evidence of that. Both Bruce and I were also excited to hear that he teaches with a fellow alumni and classmate of ours, Tetsuya Yamada.

Phil Rogers
Phil Roger's pots are thrown with undulating soft lines, wet trimmed bodies and feet, and glazed with ash glazes to give a naturalistic and stone like feel. He has written a couple of books, one called Ash Glazes and the other called Salt Glazes. Phil Roger's lives on a quaint farm in Wales. Bruce and I were able to get Phil to sign both our copies. We also purchased a hard back book of his work from an exhibition at Pucker Gallery.

Allegheny Meadows
Allegheny Meadows throws graceful and sophisticated forms. He speaks elegantly about his approach to ceramics, and demonstrated some interesting rhythmic texture techniques while throwing with porcelain. He has turned an airstream into an exquisite galley on wheels, and will have it open at the upcoming NCECA. He is a full time studio potter, as well as running with his partner, the classy and eclectic, Harvey Meadows Gallery, in Aspen Colorado.

On Sunday, Nancy Utterback presented a thorough study of the potters impact on the environment using the different type of fuels: wood, gas, and electric. She came up with the very reassuring results, that if we are conscientious in our life styles as potters, we will not be a major contribution to the green house gases, global warming, or pollution in general. Keyword is being "conscientious". It was a very informative presentation. Here is a green ceramics blog that she is contributing too.

Allegheny Meadows also gave a Sunday morning presentation on firing his kiln with waste vegetable oil from restaurants. There will be a website up about alternative fuels later in the year. I forget the name of it, but will search it out and post it.

Highwater Clays: Gail McCarthy and her son Jonathan
Highwater Clays sponsors the Friday evening meal, and has for as long as I have been attending the Potters conference. They are dedicated to providing the ceramics community with quality clays, and ceramics supplies. They are located in Asheville, North Carolina. They also run the Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts, and run a Bed and Breakfast called The Parsonage.

No comments: