Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Seagrove, NC

Well I did my part this weekend to support local artists:) As I have said before, my husband is in the USCG and this is our last year in NC. Whenever the last year of a duty station comes around, we start making a list of places/things we would like to see/do before we leave. We never know if we will get back to this area again.

This weekend we headed to Seagrove, NC. known for it's pottery. There are approximately 32 potters in a 10 mile radius. On the 4 hour trip to Seagrove we went through Fayetteville, NC. where there is a lovely quilt shop, Quilt N' Tiques on Anderson St. in the downtown. We also drove through the adorable town of Cameron which is full of antique shops and not much else. If you are looking for high quality antiques, this is the place to go.

We had a pretty good lunch at the Jugtown Cafe in Seagrove where we planned our attack:) There was no way to see them all so a stop into the North Carolina Pottery Center really helped to narrow down the choices. There is a section there that has samplings of the various potters so you can go to the ones that are to your tastes. Also in the center there is the history of NC pottery and lots of displays.This candle holder is one of my finds from Smith Pottery. I wanted lots of things but tried to be practical in my purchasing. The design on this is very subdued compared to some of the pieces there with beautiful Tree of Life designs. They had 3 different Bridal Registry sign ups displayed.

We went to Fat Beagle Pottery just for the name. Sadly no beagle to play with; I do miss my Schmoopy. There I found this sweet leaf dish. It is not very big...maybe good for a serving spoon.

At O'Quinn Pottery I found this business card holder. I am pretty sure they are using the scraps from other pieces to create this (cutting waste-great) and I just love the stamping in it and the deep earthy color. Great little $6 find.
There shop is in a 100 year old cabin that is very rickety but adorable. Most of the shops were very old feeling and out in these beautiful country settings. I was very envious.
My favorite that we went to was Ray Pottery. I would totally redo my kitchen in all of their dishware. This simple crock will probably hold my coffee and I am thinking of buying matching coffee mugs in the future. This is one of the few potters with a site. Even so I was impressed with the organization of the potters in the area. The center really helps and they have all advertised in a beautiful fold out map with their addresses and locations so you can spend a day driving out in the country from shop to shop. I dreamt out loud about textile artists taking over a town like this and becoming a destination. I am not sure how they all make a living but the diversity of design helps.

When we stopped at the Ben Owen Studio, you could walk out to the kilns in the back and they were so impressive. I took many pictures of these for possible screening images.
For our overnight extravagance, we stayed at a B&B named the Duck Smith House. The pictures on their site do it more justice than my pictures. I loved all the bead board and the old fireplaces and that gorgeous man on the couch (22 years worth:).The sisters who own it are very friendly and we fortunately had the place to ourselves so we enjoyed sitting out in the fancy living room to watch Eureka friday night. After an extremely comfortable night's sleep, we drank coffee from the mugs that Ray Pottery makes and they fit the hand wonderfully. Breakfast was stuffed French Toast-yummm:) Thank you again, Barbara and Suzanne!
These next pictures are of the outbuildings on the B&B property and give a good semblance of what some of the pottery studios looked like.

This is the Pisgah Covered Bridge. Lots of photos were taken of the rock supports.

Here is another picture of a butterfly that seemed to taunt me everytime I stopped to take photos. I would get excited and just as the button was about to be pressed, flutter flutter flutter away. I did manage to get 2 decent pics (out of about 20) and that will have to do.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Antique Treasures

Yesterday while my daughter and I were out for the day (soooo much fun!), one of the things we did was go to a new antique shop in town. It is in a great old home that really gives you that treasure hunting feeling: The Blue Gardenia Antique Company. There were so many beautiful items organized into little nooks.
Before I even entered the shop I found this geometric textile printing block. It might just decorate my shelves but how cool??
Then while we were inside, my daughter found the best one which definately looks like work I would do only in applique. I had to have them both and now I do:) I am lucky to have it too since the owner almost kept it because she likes them so much. There may be more for my collection too....
Tiffany, one of the owners, showed me another one that she had (not for sale)that was carved out of a log and it was gorgeous. The log had a honey pecan color and it had been inked in teal....very striking together.
You just never know what you will find and where.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Does Mass Produced or Assembly Line art still have meaning?

I have been neglecting all my reading over the last few months while working on other projects so it felt great to curl up with a few of my magazines and catch up this past weekend.
As I read through the June Issue of Art Calendar, two articles made opposing statements about the current art scene and something that has bothered me in the past. In the article "The Measure of Success" there is a quote from critic Roberta Smith about the recent exhibitions in New York Museums, "....were all part of a big-box chain featuring only one brand...What's missing is art that seems made by one person out of intense personal necessity, often by hand." I turn the page to the next article, "Less is More at the 2010 Whitney Biennial" and here the writer, Fred B. Adelson, states; "The days when artists fashioned an installation of scattered pieces directly in the gallery or had their work fabricated by outside specialists now seems passe or overly extravagant; the making of art is again measured by the direct manipulation of medium. As a result many pieces possess distinctly tactile surfaces or have expressive gestural markings."
I whole-heartedly agree that art should be made by the artist's hand. There has been recent discussion on one of my lists about apprentices, etc. and I do realize that they are important. What I don't appreciate are the artists that have become so "important" and sought after that they have a hired team of artists working for them who ACTUALLY do the work. If I had the money to buy some of the artwork I really like, I would want to know that the artist ACTUALLY painted, sculpted, etc. the piece him/herself. I would hate to think that I paid a lot of money for work that JDArtist did from a rough sketch from the actual artist.

Art isn't suppose to be about 'big business' is it? Doesn't the value in art come from knowing that this very talented person created this vision by hand? Wouldn't that equate to art being less valuable if created en mass by a company of employees?

How many times has an art discussion been about the meaning and feeling behind a particular piece. The question then becomes, does that meaning change if the artist who felt it/envisioned it didn't do the work?

I don't have the ultimate answer to this but I feel the frustration of many fellow artists. I find it difficult to watch some not-so-talented artists rake in millions of dollars due to great marketing vs. talent and then know that they didn't even actually make the work. Some will chalk this up to sour grapes and I am sure that I glow green some days; but more importantly I feel that the art world is succumbing to the same problem that is hurting our country in so many ways...Commercialism. I had hoped that art would be safe from this due to the intensely personal beginnings of most artwork from deep within the artist's soul and heart.