Monday, December 17, 2012

Pottery out of the kiln

Bulldog Pottery,  Seagrove, North Carolina

Thank you to all that came out this past weekend, sent us an e-mail, called us up, helped us get the information out about our kiln opening, and everyone that thought about us this last weekend. We had a great response to our newest pottery, and we are quite happy about the results of our efforts.  We had a wonderful weekend, great conversations with folks, and are energized about pottery and life. We feel grateful for all of the support we receive in our pursuit to make pottery comfortable to use, and beautiful to look at and enjoy.

We want to wish everyone a Very Merry Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

Bulldog Pottery,  Seagrove, North Carolina
We are very happy with the results of our recent firing, and ready and excited to get back into the studio to make more pottery.  
Bulldog Pottery,  Seagrove, North Carolina

Samantha Henneke, Pottery Mug

Samantha Henneke bowls and vases and Bruce Gholson's plates

Gloria, Ed, and Sylvia helping polish the pottery after unloading the kiln on Friday

Ed, Don, and Sylvia helping polish this pottery after unloading the kiln on Friday
We cleaned up the middle of our studio where we had been glazing, and spread our work out on tables for display.
Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina 
Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina 

Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Glazing and Loading for the Holiday Pottery Opening this weekend

Bruce Gholson carving details into his shino fish
 Well it is official. We load the kiln today.

We have been glazing around the clock this past week for our Holiday Kiln Opening, December 15, 2012, this Sat, 10-5. Bruce has been working on his shino glazed porcelain, while I have been glazing with our Moka glaze.  We have been glazing in two different buildings. We are not used to being apart in the studio and really don't like it. Over the holidays we are going to get our glazing area set up in our new space so we can glaze together from now on.

Bruce's shino glaze is as allusive as our crystalline glazes. We know its range, but we don't know if the glaze will turn out really grey with carbon trapping, or peachy. The glaze in itself is tedious to work with. Some glazes go on smooth, without drips, kinda like butter. The shino glaze that Bruce works with is foamy and show drips badly, so must be fussed with after dipping.  The surface is fragile after decorating, and the pottery needs to be handled with care.

Bruce Gholson working on his shino dome jars
 Bruce is walking the pots out to our gas kiln. Our kiln is located in the old hog parlor behind the studio.  We built the gas kiln from twice used bricks when we first moved to our property here in Seagrove.  We were able to get the first two shelves loaded yesterday. We still have a few more pots to glaze today and then we will finish loading, probably into the evening.

Bruce Gholson walking pots over and down to the kiln

Below are images of Bruce's shino work. 
Bruce Gholson, Shino Fish Mug

Bruce Gholson, Shino Fish Yunomi with lots of carbon trapping.

Bruce Gholson, Shino Fish Mug, on the peachy side.

Bruce Gholson Shino Fish Pitcher

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bulldog Pottery Holiday Kiln Opening, Dec. 15 2012

Bulldog Pottery Dec. 15, 2012 - Holiday Kiln Opening

The Carolina Arts contains information about the Visual Arts in North and South Carolina. You can read all about it in the Carolina Arts Online Newspaper. Together Tom and Linda Starland have been putting together this newspaper for 15 years. A few years ago they went from printing the newspaper to online only.  You can download their Arts newspaper monthly.  You can also read about our Holiday Kiln opening on page 22. The following was the press release we sent out. 

The Courier Tribune also helped us spread the information about our upcoming kiln opening. We want to thank them for their help!

Read about what is going on in Seagrove in December's edition "In the Grove", compiled together by Rhonda McCanless of Eck McCanless Pottery. 

Thank you to Paul Kowalchuk who maintains the Studio Pottery Archive Blog for posting information about out Holiday Kiln Opening.

Samantha Hennke Covered Jar

Handmade Pottery – Useful Art 
Art that can be used in Everyday Living

Seagrove’s Bulldog Pottery artists, Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke, love glazes. And they have a keen eye and a delicate touch when they create the shape and form of their work. With their glazes and forms they make their functional pottery into an art to be used for everyday living. 

Bulldog Pottery’s Holiday Sale is set to take place Saturday, December 15, 2012, 10:00-5:00, at their pottery in Seagrove, located around five miles from the geographical center of North Carolina. Come out to meet these two potters and enjoy their company while checking out their newest pots.  For their special event they have filled their insulated brick kiln with 170 plus pieces of new work, which will be ready for their opening.

Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke are studio potters who have made pottery their life-long work.  They make ‘that plate’ not just any plate, but an expression of design and beauty. Pottery is a decorative art form at a reasonable price, and it is art that you can share through use.  This husband and wife team celebrates the rich history and vitality of the Seagrove community’s clay artists, and invites you to invest in the local economy. When you buy local pottery, you are supporting a local entrepreneurial enterprise, a truly small business. 

Bulldog Pottery can be easily reached 5 miles south of the traffic light in Seagrove, at 3306 US Hwy 220 Alt., look for the distinctive blue water tower beside the driveway leading to their studio. Seagrove, located in central NC, is synonymous with ceramics--where a unique group of over 100 potters and at least 60 open pottery shops are located in a 15 mile area, which makes it a destination for serious pottery shopping.  Visit Bulldog Pottery for their kiln opening - pick up a pottery map and continue the pottery adventure. For more information call Bruce Gholson 336-302-3469 or 910-428-9728 or visit

Also having kiln openings on December 15th (that we know of) are-
Ben Owen Pottery, Donna Craven Pottery, Chris Luther Pottery, and Johnston and Gentithes Pottery.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wrapping Up

Bruce Gholson putting his pottery in our home-made hot box

We are finishing up our first firings of all of our pieces that we have made for our upcoming December 15th Kiln Opening.  The first firing is called a bisque firing, which hardens the pottery and makes it physically strong enough to undergo the rigors of glazing. The pieces still are delicate and need to be handled with care. We waxed the bottoms of our pots yesterday evening, and we are all ready to have the glaze-athon over the next several days.

Under this accelerating crunch time, we had to set up a hot box to speed dry our pots. This year we set up a table, draped plastic over it, and put a dehumidifier underneath with the pottery. This has worked well in the past for us. The pots are fairly dry after 24 hours and with a long soak in the bisque firing they are dry enough to take on up to temperature.

Many varied emotions are happening now in the studio. We want to make more pottery--our ideas are flowing and we are all warmed up to keep throwing, but our deadline is on us and we must switch gears. We are also pretty tired after working in the studio non-stop, and staying up in the evenings. We want another week. We want more glazes, we want to develop new glazes, and more pots to put them on. Basically we want more time in the studio, which is kinda funny because almost all our time is in the studio. As we are glazing and working in the studio, it is hard to explain, but it would be nice to have an hour between the hours to do all that we strive to do.

Bruce Gholson with the pottery that we are drying in our home-made hot box

Bruce Gholson Puts a handle on a pitcher

Samantha Henneke finishing a rim on her thrown vase

Samantha Henneke brushing slip onto her cups

Bruce Gholson trimming his large bowls

Bruce Gholson with his large bowls after combing slip onto them

Friday, November 30, 2012

On the table in the studio - Upcoming Holiday Kiln Opening

Bruce Gholson getting ready to through a large bowl
We have been working steady in the studio since the Celebration of Seagrove Potters that took place a couple of weeks ago.  We are making as many pots as we can to fill our kiln before our holiday opening on December 15th.  It is nice to have one more 'Hurrah' before we see the year 2012 through and begin a new fresh year - - 2013.  I love this time of year. After Thanksgiving we switch the Pandora station in the house to Holiday Music.

These images are various stages of us throwing pots this past week.  While working in the studio we listen to podcast stories.  This past week we finished one story, Trolls of Lake Maebiewahnapoopie, written and read by Jeff White. This was a fun, silly, laugh out loud children's story.

Our December Holiday Kiln Opening is on Saturday, December 15, 2012 from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm.

 Cereal and serving bowls.

Bruce Gholson back filling a mug handle to give a substantial and finished look.

"It's not red but will it bounce?"

Many variations on a theme.

Samantha Henneke glazed cup.
Satiny smooth with varied rich and warm color and texture.

Samantha Henneke glazed cup.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

5th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters - 2012

Bruce Gholson, Ed Henneke, Samantha Henneke at the 5th Celebration of Seagrove Potters
The Celebration of Seagrove Potters was a blast. It takes a small village to make an event like this happen, and through the determination and perseverance of the volunteers and the Seagrove Potters working together, another year went well and the weekend was a joyous occasion.  

We began Thursday evening to set up our work in our booth. It takes a lot of shuffling around of pots to find a right placement for them. It probably takes us around 6 hours to final set up.  This year we were all set up and done Thursday evening, and ready for Friday's Gala, which was a first for us.

We are slowly loading up images of the weekend on the Celebration of Seagrove Potters facebook page. If you would like to view what we have done so far check out the Celebration of Seagrove Potters 2012 Album,  and "like us" while you are there to keep up with what we are doing in the future. 

Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke setting up for the 5th Celebration of Seagrove Potters 

This is our finished booth display after we left Thursday evening. We had a variety of our work to offer to the opening Celebration crowd. We had our crystalline decorative vases, our Moka glazed white stoneware, Samantha's glaze paintings, and Bruce had a selection of his shino and luster shino pieces.  
Bulldog Pottery booth at the 5th Celebration of Seagrove Potters 

Ed and Bruce worked together to take care of our customers. Usually I am behind there with them, but I stepped out a lot to take pictures of what was going on around us, and at the other potter's booths. Images are being posted on Celebration's Facebook page.
Bruce Gholson and Ed Henneke packing up some Bulldog pieces for the trip to their new home

 One of the highlights of the Friday evening Gala is the collaboration auction. This year Bruce and Ben Owen III worked together on two crystalline vases, Bruce threw the two vases and Ben glazed them, and then a larger piece that Ben threw and Bruce decorated with his fossil fish imagery, which Ben glazed and fired.  This year the potters talked about their collaborations before the piece went on the auction block. It is always fun for the crowd, and for us, to see what our fellow potters come up with.
Ben Owen III and Bruce Gholson the Gala during the 5th Celebration of Seagrove Potters 

 Bruce Gholson and Ben Owen III during the Gala auction at the 5th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters 

One of two of Bruce Gholson's and Ben Owen's III collaborative matte crystalline pieces for the 5th Celebration of Seagrove Potters Gala  

The Four Saints Brewery were also set up for the Gala Friday evening. We are super excited that they will be opening a micro brewery in Asheboro.  A hand full of years ago Asheboro was a dry town, and now it is blossoming with new restaurants downtown, and a upcoming micro brewery.
 Four Saints at the 5th Celebration of Seagrove Potters Gala  

During the weekend we like to catch up with how our pottery neighbors are doing. Over the four days we all have conversations finding out about one anothers families and what is going in our pottery business.  We see each other periodically throughout the year, but we are busy people and there are times that it has been awhile since we last got together.  Just about all of us maintain pottery shops open to the public on a day to day basis so most of the time we are at our individual studios and open shops. 
Bruce Gholson, Ben Owen III, Crystal King, David Fernandez

Throughout the weekend potters take the time from their booths and give hour long demonstrations. Below, at the end of his demonstration on Sunday, Ben Owen III worked with a few of the audience that remained and showed them how to turn a pot on the wheel.  
Ben Owen III demonstration at the 5th Celebration of Seagrove Potters  

The potters donate a piece of pottery each for the silent auction on Saturday.  People peruse the pieces on display in the front room of the building. It is a good way to see an example what the Seagrove Potters have at their booths.  There is always excitement around 3:00 when the bidding ends.
Silent Auction on Saturday at the 5th Celebration of Seagrove Potters 

There are many people that attend the Celebration of Seagrove Potters event from all over North Carolina and many other states are represented there as well.  Many people are collecting for themselves, as well as, buying presents for the holidays.  There is always an excitement in the air as people look over all of the different kinds of pottery that the Seagrove Potters have on display.
 5th Celebration of Seagrove Potters at the Historic Lucks Cannery, North Carolina

People ask all kinds of questions and we are happy to answer them, and talk about our pots.  Having so much interest and questions, gives us a chance to talk about, and share with them what we do during the many hours that we spend in the studio.
5th Celebration of Seagrove Potters at the Historic Lucks Cannery, North Carolina

 We saw pots going out on dollies last weekend, like the ones below of Chad Brown's.
Chad Brown transporting pots for some collectors at the 5th Celebration of Seagrove Potters 

Sunday morning we all gathered together for a picture to thank all of you for coming out to see us and support us in what we do. When you buy handmade local pottery (or other crafts and art), you are supporting a local entrepreneurial enterprise, a small business.
The Seagrove Potters at 5th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters, Historic Lucks Cannery,
Seagrove,North Carolina 
Don't forget to visit our open shops here in Seagrove throughout the Year. 

Seagrove, NC is synonymous with ceramics--where a unique group of over 100 potters and at least 60 open pottery shops are located, which makes it a destination for serious pottery shopping.

We have a Holiday Kiln Opening coming up with new pots being made for 
December 15th, 2012
at our place here in Seagrove

Our pottery can be easily reached 5 miles south (on 220 alt) of the traffic light in Seagrove, look for the disinctive blue water tower beside the driveway leading to our studio.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Celebration of Seagrove Potters - Collaboration and Postscript

Bruce Gholson and Ben Owen III working on a collaborations for  Celebration of Seagrove Potters

The past few weeks Bruce Gholson and Ben Owen III have been working together on some collaboration pieces for the "Celebration of Seagrove Potters".  This Friday evening all, (if they come out), but at least one of these will be on the auction block for the Friday evening Gala. The Gala begins Friday evening at 6:00pm-9:00pm and is the kick-off for the biggest Seagrove Pottery Event of the year. Just about all of the Seagrove Potters bring their work to the Historic Luck's Cannery to sell and show their pottery. I am always amazed, thrilled, and in awe when I see so many pots all under one roof. 

Bruce threw a couple of his gourd shaped vases for Ben III to glaze, and Ben III threw a large vase for Bruce to draw his fossil fish imagery onto. One of the vases turned out beautifully, and we are waiting to see what comes out of Ben's kiln today.  All of the collaborations that will be auctioned at the Gala Friday evening, are one of a kind pieces.  We can't wait to see what has been created in the past couple of months by the other collaborating Seagrove Potters. 

 November 16th - 18th, 2012 
Nov. 16 - Friday evening gala from 6:00pm-9:00pm
Nov. 17 - Saturday 9:00am - 6:00pm
Nov. 18 - Sunday 10:00am- 4:00pm
Historic Luck's Cannery is located around a mile from Seagrove on Pottery Highway 705

Bruce working on the first finished piece, see last pic.

 Lets pick out another piece just in case.

Ben signing one of the three collaboration pieces.

Maxwell giving Bruce pointers about his slip trailing technique. 

Thrown by Bruce Gholson and Ben Owen III for the Gala Collaboration Auction- Nov. 16 2012


We just received these images from Ben. Just in time for this blog post. 
Looking good. How exciting!

Thrown by Bruce Gholson and glazed by Ben Owen III for the Gala Collaboration Auction- Nov. 16 2012

This piece is still cooling down. It will come out of the kiln this afternoon. Ben took a quick peek and photo for us to see.

Thrown by Ben Owen III - fossil fish decoration by Bruce Gholson and then glazed by Ben