November 11, 2008

Art Centered

Jann Welch, of Art Centered, hosted Ken Sedberry, myself, and about thirty students from Gouge Elementary, yesterday for a bowl workshop. Here is a shot of Ken making a hump molded square bowl. I first met Ken way back in 1989 while I was a student at Penland School and only remember him as the potter who had this huge kiln and made these really big wall pieces depicting canine/equine of some sort. Since then I have gotten to know Ken by working with him on the Spruce Pine Potter's Market, and most recently, the Potters of the Roan. He does amazing brushwork and fires his pots in a kiln that predates mine by about twenty years. As a matter of fact his kiln is poured castable just like mine. Ken encouraged Mark Peters to use castable refractories for his kiln and in turn Mark was the one that encouraged me to do the same. So there is the circle of influence here in Mitchell County, NC.
While I watched Ken make a couple of hump molded square bowls, it occurred to me that I have never seen Ken make his pots. It occurred to me how most of us work in isolation and how rare it is to have the time to visit and see one another working. It's by necessity that we venture out to visit our neighbor potters. Instead of borrowing sugar we may borrow a pound of Wollastonite, or a few cones, etc. It's a great community, but it's rare that we get to visit and watch one another work. It is more common to see each other at the grocery or hardware store. There are more potters in this area than I can list, let's just say a lot, mostly because of the proximity to the Penland School. It's not because of the availability of natural resources, as a potter would need 150 years ago. [Well, maybe for some, heheh. ] There are abundant glaze materials in the area. Most of the potters reading this may look at their bags of feldspar and see the source as Spruce Pine, NC.

[ramble...Back to Ken Sedberry]
Ken is one of those rare wood fired potters that works in a highly sophisticated way with surface design and wax resist. His work is colorful, too, another rarity among high fire wood burning potters. [more Sedberry work here]

We can learn so much, as potters, in just a few minutes watching each other work. So if you can, get out a visit a neighbor potter, better yet offer to wedge some clay! Not only would you be a helping hand, but you can see how they do their thing.
Maybe I should get over to Ken's!? I'd better call first...