Tuesday, March 8, 2011

North Carolina Potters Conference

This past weekend was the 24th annual North Carolina Potters Conference in Asheboro. It was hosted by the Randolph Arts Guild. It was my first time attending this conference, and was a great opportunity to meet potters, see other work by potters from universities, North Carolina, and a few other states, and to have the unique opportunity to see demonstrations by potters from Jingdezhen, China. I am still sorting through my notes and photos, so I will share a few images and tidbits from the conference.
Something I appreciated as a potter was having the opportunity to have a few items in the exhibition space at the Moring Arts Center. All attending potters were given the opportunity to bring five items to sell and have on exhibition for the weekend. This was a great chance to see other potter's work and to have a conversation starter with new potters I met.

Exhibition gallery at the Moring Arts Center

My little display

The first few days were held at a local church, which provided a lot of room for the demonstrations and for people to walk around.

Setup of the conference at a local church
I liked how the room was set up. There were five stations: one overglaze painter, one underglaze painter, a trimmer, a thrower, and a slab builder. Each station had a camera dedicated to that demonstrator, and a screen which was set up behind them. No matter where you were in the room, you had a pretty good view of what was going on.

Large screen for slideshow presentations and small television screens behind the demonstrators
One of the demonstrations on Saturday was to have randomly chosen potters draw designs for the thrower to make. Another potter gave me her sheet of paper, since the challenge was to draw a piece he had not thrown that weekend (and I'll get into this in a later post, but he went through I think over 1000 pounds in a day and a half, so you can imagine the array of forms made!). My first drawing was of a bottle, but I decided to change my design and I drew a large pitcher. Clearly I did not have my thinking cap on because after the potter finished throwing the body, it was announced that he does not pull spouts, and that if I wanted a pulled spout I would have to put it on myself! So rather than do that, when we were told we could take the pieces home, I kept it as a nice vase form.

My "unfinished pitcher"

Signature of master potter Zhan Shaolin

Here are photos from another potter's design of a large 19th-century style ovoid bottle. If the photos make it look like throwing this piece was a breeze for him, it was. I do not think it took more than four or five minutes to make this entire piece, from centering to finishing!

Finished form

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