Empty Bowls checks of $3,188 each were presented this week to the Cherokee County Sharing Center and Clay County Food Pantry. The 10th Annual Empty Bowls was held on March 12 at the Folk School. The Empty Bowls fundraiser for Cherokee and Clay County food banks has been organized by Resident Potter Mike Lalone and hosted by the John C. Campbell Folk School for the past 10 years. Thanks again to everyone who supported this event!
[caption id="attachment_14845" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Folk School Director Jan Davidson presents a check to Robert Merrill, President of Cherokee County Sharing Center. Also pictured from left to right: Kate Delong, Ellen Sandor, Jennifer Slucher, Dianne Arnold, Marianne Hatchett, Colleen Plonsky, Mike Lalone, Cory Marie Podielski, and Harry Hearne.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_14958" align="alignright" width="307"] Rob demos how to make a big jugs in segments, using the torch to quick dry the base.[/caption]
Clay students of all levels joined Rob Withrow in the Folk School Clay Studio this past week to learn new skill and techniques on the wheel. Many students had never thrown on a wheel and were eager to get started.
Rob is a local Brasstown potter and owner of Smoke in the Mountains Pottery. He makes the JCCFS logo mugs that are for sale in the craft shop and the big soup bowls in the Dining Hall. Rob is most know for his face mug pottery and wood firing. He creates loves to throw BIG! He has thrown 6-ft tall face jugs and can only fire them in his wood kiln (because of their large size).
Students in the class tried their hand at creating mugs, bowls, plates, cups and more. By the end of the week student had some finished fired pieces and confidence to throw a vessel on the wheel. It was a great week!
[caption id="attachment_13733" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Our Folk School booth at the 75th National Folk Festival in Greensboro, NC[/caption]
We had a great time this past weekend representing the Folk School at the 75th National Folk Festival. This was the 1st year (of a 3-year residency) that the Folk Fest was hosted in the city of Greensboro, NC. The event featured performances and demonstrations by over 300 of the nation’s finest musicians, dancers, and craftspeople.
We hope to see you next year. Save the dates for this awesome festival in an awesome town. The 76th National Folk Festival dates are September 9-11, 2016!
[caption id="attachment_13736" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Kisha joined the JCCFS team this weekend / Rob sold his gigantic jug to a face jug collector.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_13700" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Harry opens the kiln & Cara uses tongs to transfer the glowing pot to the metal trash can lined with newspaper.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_13707" align="alignright" width="212"] Final class vessels, cooling after Raku firing[/caption]
If you stroll by Studio Row when a class is doing a Raku firing at the outdoor kiln, you are in for an exciting, fiery surprise. I was lucky to catch Harry & Julie Hearne's recent class, The Art of Throwing and Raku Firing, as they were firing their last pieces of the week.
Western-style Raku derives from a rich tradition of Japanese pottery that was made specifically for tea ceremonies. In the 1960s, it was popularized in the US by potters who were inspired by the Japanese tradition. To learn more about the differences between the two traditions, check the article American-Style Raku by Paul Soldner.
With Raku firing, the potter removes the vessel from the kiln while it is still very hot, red, and glowing. He or she uses tongs to move the piece from the kiln to a prepped trash can. Once the piece is inside, the fiery show begins! I had a great time watch the class during this process.
[caption id="attachment_12744" align="alignright" width="300"] Rob unbricks the kiln.[/caption]
It's like Christmas Eve over at Smoke in the Mountains Pottery today because it's the day before the big wood kiln will be opened and unloaded. Many potters from all over the region contribute pots to be fired the traditional way in Rob Withrow's huge wood kiln. This is Rob's 13th wood firing at his studio. I stopped by and caught him taking a little peek inside the chamber and took the opportunity to talk to him about the firing and clay in general. Join us in the sneak peek...
CP:So what are you doing right now?RW: I'm unbricking this kiln here that's been cooling for five days. We heated it up to 2500 degrees using only wood, and now it's like Christmas! You open it up and see what's inside and this time the kiln fired so beautifully; it's such a joy.
CP:Nice, How many time have you fired this kiln?RW: It's been a hard road but I stuck with it, and by golly the community came forth and helped me all along the way. I fired it nine times unsuccessfully. A weaker man would have caved or a smarter man would have stopped, but I kept going and here we are! The community came together and knew I was having problems. We put a new chimney on it and it works like a charm now. Now it's a third of the wood, and a third of the time (than when we first started).
[caption id="attachment_12738" align="aligncenter" width="565"] Beautiful pots from the March 2015 wood firing[/caption]