One of my first exciting discoveries after moving to Lake Norman in 2005 was the extraordinary pottery; first in Seagrove and then in Catawba Valley. Whether you are an avid collector as I am or just curious, these next four weeks are an exciting opportunity to buy from the most coveted Catawba Valley potters at their holiday kiln sales.
Besides the adherence to historical methods and traditions, Catawba Valley pottery is also unique in that in order to buy from the most popular of the potters you must attend their individual kiln sales held at their homes scattered from Vale to Lenoir. If you have never attended a kiln sale, I truly encourage you to do so this month. If you see me, be sure to say hi!
Here is a summary of the scheduled kiln sales. As always, you can go to Steve Abee's CV Pottery website for more information and directions:
Steve Abee: Saturday, November 28th @ 10:00am:
Steve is an incredibly talented and creative potter. He honors all of the historic techniques including digging his own clay, making his own glazes and firing his pieces in his hand-made wood-burning Ground Hog Kiln. His faces are known for their wide mouths and bugged eyes. Steve also does stunning swirls pieces, miniatures and a great variety of shapes and whimsical creatures from pigs to roosters.
Joe Reinhardt: Saturday, December 5th @ 10:00am:
Joe is a direct descendant of generations of Catawba potters. He grew up watching Burlon Craig, the potter who is credited with saving the traditional Catawba Valley methods and teaching them to our current generation of potters. Joe has a wonderful sense of humor which is embodied in most of his pieces. He always writes a fun little message at the bottom of each piece. Under this birdhouse he wrote: "12:50pm 11-18-07, Bird House for Rent and you feather dusters pay in advance or sail on."
Joe has struggled with health issues for the past years so I am always grateful to see him holding his annual kiln sale and to be able to purchase one of his wonderful pieces and have him hand sign it at his sale. (Which he is always happy to do!)
Kim Ellington: Saturday, December 12th @ 10:00am:
Kim has taken Catawba Valley pottery to a new, more sophisticated level. His large vessels and beautiful glazes are featured in art museums and pottery books. However, recently he has caved in to our demands and makes a handful of his wonderful face jugs for his December kiln sales. But, he also makes a large quantity of vases, mugs, plates, planters with gorgeous glazes. This is a great place to buy holiday gifts!
Michael Ball: Saturday, December 12th @ 10:00am:
Michael is the newest of the most collectible Catawba potters. Since I first started collecting his pieces I have seen him perfect the art and definitely making it his own. He truly has such an amazingly creative approach to his art that you never know what you will find. From incredible detailed Guineas to lizards and Roosters to his facejugs I am always excited when I see his latest work! This"eye" jug is huge (3-gallons) with a spectacular glaze and myriad eyes. This has become one of his signature styles but he doesn't make many so get there early!
The biggest decision I have to make is whether to go to Kim or Michael's first!
I hope to see you at one or all of these sales. And don't forget to got to CV Pottery for details, directions etc.!