Though my parents were both South Carolinians, I was born in Rochester, MN in 1971. Before I was three, we had relocated to Wilmington, NC and then moved to Charleston, SC in 1980, where I stayed until graduating high school. I enjoyed painting and drawing as a child, but wasn’t properly introduced to clay until I was in college. After my first pottery class, I changed my major to Art and two years later graduated with honors from Earlham College in Richmond, IN. I wanted to continue developing my skills and learn how to make a living making pottery, so I arranged two consecutive apprenticeships. I worked for Todd Piker in Cornwall Bridge, CT from 1994 to 1997, and worked another six months for Mark Hewitt in 1997. In 1998 I built the pottery and kilns in Leicester’s Big Sandy Mush Valley, just outside Asheville in western North Carolina. I have worked here continuously since then, hosting two “Kiln Openings” each year. It has been my pleasure to work with eight apprentices of my own here over the years.
I have been a member of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild since 2000. I have exhibited at the Catawba Valley Pottery Festival for fifteen years and have been included in the Potters’ Market Invitational at the Mint Museum for eleven consecutive years. My work has been featured in magazines: Travel and Leisure; Ceramics Monthly; Garden and Gun and WNC Magazine as well as in books: Making a Living in Crafts, by Donald Clark; and North Carolina Pottery: The Collection of the Mint Museums, by Dr. Barbara Perry. My work has been featured in exhibitions at the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, and Blue Spiral 1 in Asheville, NC. I also have several pots in the permanent collection at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC; in the Asheville Art Museum; and the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe, NM. I have taught classes at Odyssey Center for the Ceramic Arts, and I have lectured for the Mint Museum’s Delhom Service League, for the Hendersonville Public Library, for the Asheville Buncombe County Geological Society, and for the North Carolina Pottery Collectors Guild in Raleigh.
In 2011 I began a blog critique of Garth Clark’s writings and presentations on my
website that received a lot of attention. As an extension of the dialogue I established with Clark, I collaborated with the Mint Museum to organize a symposium entitled “Back to the Future of Traditional Pottery.” This event featured Garth Clark, Charlotte Brown Wainwright, Mark Hewitt and me. I also arranged two other speaking engagements for Clark: a lecture at NC State and a panel discussion at UNC-Asheville. Furthermore, I had the pleasure of introducing Garth Clark to potters all over the state of North Carolina and opening his eyes to our region’s heritage and thriving market. I was invited to Santa Fe a couple years later to re-hash the conversation at the Museum of International Folk Art during their exhibition “Pottery of the US South: A Living Tradition.”
In 2013, I had a solo exhibition in the NC Arboretum’s 4000 square foot gallery in Asheville, featuring nearly 100 objects. I seized the opportunity to raise some money from customers and wrote and published a book as a companion piece, Endurance: Potting in the Twenty-first Century.
It can be difficult to make a living as a potter, but North Carolinians take the craft seriously, and I count myself fortunate to have an audience. It is a great privilege to live in an area where farmland meets woodland in the mountains of western North Carolina, and being a part of this landscape and its ecology is a source of inspiration to work each day.