East Carolina Pottery Festival
The 5th annual East Carolina Pottery Festival will bring pottery exhibits, clay throwing techniques and firing demonstrations to Tryon Palace on Saturday, June 1. Held from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., this free event has expanded in recent years and is expected to bring more than 40 potters to New Bern's well-established community of artists and art lovers.
Spread across the North Carolina History Center's Bate Commons and inside Mattock's Hall, the East Carolina Pottery Festival's waterfront venue promises a day filled with intriguing pottery demonstrations and unique shopping. The festival will also provide a showcase for Eastern North Carolina styles that range from utilitarian wares, sculptural forms and traditional shapes, to offbeat contemporary form and glazing techniques.
"Over the years, hundreds of people of all ages have enjoyed the tremendous variety, creativity and beauty of our local potters' work," said event founder Rich Daniels. "The initial focus of this show was to let the world in on the incredible talents of our local potters ... and now the secret is out. Collectors will arrive from all over the state and surrounding states for the chance to own some of these very unique pieces of pottery."
Choosing a new venue for its fifth year was a necessary move by the festival, which has outgrown various sites in its original location of Pollocksville. It was here that a handful of clay artists first gathered to show their wares at Daniels Art Glass Gallery and Studios.
"In the past, this show has been held at some of North Carolina's most beautiful plantation settings," added Daniels. "It's hard to imagine a more beautiful venue, but it really doesn't get any better than Tryon Palace's new History Center. The potters and public alike are excited about a venue where weather isn't a factor. This is the perfect marriage where history plays host to one of the oldest and most enduring crafts in the world."
While demonstrations like wheel throwing and Raku firing will stand out as two of the event's most popular items, visitors can experience hands-on opportunities as well. Fledgling clay artists of all ages are invited to get their hands dirty by making pottery on the wheel or by hand-building an item. A limited number of spots will also be available for specialized classes. "Large Vessels" by Scott Haynes and "Chinese Brush Painting" by Elizabeth Priddy are open on a first-come, first-served basis, so those interested in attending are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible.
Other scheduled demonstrations include: clay bird houses by John Peterson; techniques related to throwing large vessels by Brent Wheelwright and Haynes; Raku firing with Candace Young; face jugs by Ben Watford; miniature pots by Carolyn Curran; "whimsy" pieces by Carolyn Sleeper.
Visitors can also view examples of North Carolina pottery in the Tryon Palace collection. This small sampling will be displayed at no cost and include a mix of antique, vintage and contemporary North Carolina ceramics dating from the late 19th to the early 21st centuries. The NC History Center's Duffy Gallery will be open as well with a free exhibit entitled "A Visual Feast." Provided by the Craven Arts Council and Gallery, this tasty exhibit of paintings and photography finds its inspiration from the food and culture of Eastern North Carolina.
Those hoping to mix in some art history with their festival experience are invited to purchase a Day Pass to Tryon Palace. Visitors to the Governor's Palace and historic houses can enjoy the wide array of rare pottery and porcelain from 17th- and 18th-century England, Germany and China. The Palace, Stanly House and Regional History Museum also house a fine collection of English, European and American paintings, including works by Claude Lorrain, Thomas Gainsborough and Charles Willson Peale.
Additional information about the festival may be obtained by contacting Daniels at 252 224-1446.
For more information about upcoming events at Tryon Palace, call 252-639-3500 or visit www.tryonpalace.org.