CONTROLLED BURN: WOOD-FIRED POTTERY IN SEAGROVE, NORTH CAROLINA


 

Controlled Burn provides a snapshot of what is happening in 2017 among some of the contemporary potters who fire their clay in wood-fire kilns in the beautiful Seagrove area of North Carolina. 

136pp, softcover, 9" wide x 10.5" high
Available at select pottery studios and at the
North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, North Carolina.

The book takes a closer look at a group of Seagrove-area potters and the artistry of their wood-fired work. Andrew Glasgow, former executive director of the American Craft Council, reviews the Seagrove pottery tradition and where it stands in the crafts pantheon today. Through profiles by Barbara Wiedemann of Design Story Works, we get to know the artists as individuals, and learn how they came to this point in their careers. Featured portraits by Emmy Award-winning photographer Art Howard introduce us to Chad Brown, Donna Craven, Daniel Johnston, Kate Johnston, Fred Johnston, Sid Luck with Jason and Matthew Luck, Levi Mahan, Michael Mahan, Ben Owen III, Vernon and Pam and Travis and Bayle Owen, Anne Pärtna, Hitomi Shibata, Takuro Shibata, and David Stuempfle. Full color photos of a number of each artist’s recent works bring today’s Seagrove wood-fired pottery scene to life. To close, some of the artists share their treasured recipes for everything from Mrs. Juliana Busbee’s gingerbread to a Japanese ash glaze made from local North Carolina ingredients. 

The book is currently available at the studios of each of the North Carolina potters featured in the book, and at the North Carolina Pottery Center at 233 East Avenue in Seagrove, North Carolina, 27341, United States. The NC Pottery Center will ship copies of the book. To purchase a copy, please contact the NC Pottery Center at (336) 873-8430 on Tuesday—Saturday from 10am—4pm EST. Or see links below to purchase a copy from any of the potters featured in the book.

All photos © 2017 Art Howard
Essay © 2017 Andrew Glasgow
Profiles © 2017 Barbara Wiedemann


Chad Brown (b. 1977) just completed the "North Carolina Mudcat' kiln he's seated in above. He'll fire the kiln for the first time this summer.

Chad Brown (b. 1977) just completed the "North Carolina Mudcat' kiln he's seated in above. He'll fire the kiln for the first time this summer.

CHAD BROWN of Chad Brown Pottery

611 Yow Road
Seagrove, North Carolina 27341

Donna Craven (b. 1959) left a factory job determined to find something more interesting to spend her days doing. Sixteen long, hard years later, she's mastered the art of studio pottery.

Donna Craven (b. 1959) left a factory job determined to find something more interesting to spend her days doing. Sixteen long, hard years later, she's mastered the art of studio pottery.

DONNA CRAVEN of Donna Craven Pottery

2616 Old Cox Road
Asheboro, North Carolina 27205

Daniel Johnston (b. 1977) is beginning to consider large art explorations using his craft as home base. Look for his installation of over 30 monumental jars at STARworks during the WOODFIRE NC conference this June (2017).

Daniel Johnston (b. 1977) is beginning to consider large art explorations using his craft as home base. Look for his installation of over 30 monumental jars at STARworks during the WOODFIRE NC conference this June (2017).

DANIEL JOHNSTON of Daniel Johnston Pottery

6265 Sugg Drive
Seagrove, North Carolina 27341

Alfred University and Penn State University graduate Fred Johnston (b. 1962) brings a multitude of life's influences to his work, "I see myself as someone who drinks from a lot of different wellsprings," he says, "and I forage along the way to see what I can find."

Alfred University and Penn State University graduate Fred Johnston (b. 1962) brings a multitude of life's influences to his work, "I see myself as someone who drinks from a lot of different wellsprings," he says, "and I forage along the way to see what I can find."

FRED JOHNSTON of Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery

741 Fork Creek Mill Road
Seagrove, North Carolina 27341

Sid Luck (right) and his sons Jason (left) and Matthew (right) work together to honor the multi-generational local pottery traditions of their ancestors in the Seagrove area.

Sid Luck (right) and his sons Jason (left) and Matthew (right) work together to honor the multi-generational local pottery traditions of their ancestors in the Seagrove area.

SID LUCK of Luck's Ware Pottery

1606 Adams Road
Seagrove, North Carolina 27341

 
Kate Johnston (b. 1988) was the youngest craftsperson the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center ever hired. She went on to graduate from Alfred University. "One of the earliest things ever put on pots were drawings of flora and foilage, and that what I'm doing," she explains "with the connector being functional clay objects."

Kate Johnston (b. 1988) was the youngest craftsperson the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center ever hired. She went on to graduate from Alfred University. "One of the earliest things ever put on pots were drawings of flora and foilage, and that what I'm doing," she explains "with the connector being functional clay objects."

KATE JOHNSTON of Kate Johnston Pottery

6265 Sugg Drive
Seagrove, North Carolina 27341

 
Levi Mahan (b. 1988) is the son of two potters who restored a set of log cabins in the late 1980s. Today their son runs his pottery from the same location. Mahan pivoted from studying engineering at Swarthmore to working at his father's side as a production potter. Now, he's a respected studio potter in his own right.

Levi Mahan (b. 1988) is the son of two potters who restored a set of log cabins in the late 1980s. Today their son runs his pottery from the same location. Mahan pivoted from studying engineering at Swarthmore to working at his father's side as a production potter. Now, he's a respected studio potter in his own right.

LEVI MAHAN of Levi Mahan Pottery

1423 NC Highway 705
Seagrove, North Carolina 27341

Michael Mahan (b. 1958) was a student journalist studying writing and editing at NC State when he found pottery. His pots at From The Ground Up near Seagrove celebrate nature. In the summer, he works  from a studio and kiln in Limerick, Ireland.

Michael Mahan (b. 1958) was a student journalist studying writing and editing at NC State when he found pottery. His pots at From The Ground Up near Seagrove celebrate nature. In the summer, he works  from a studio and kiln in Limerick, Ireland.

MICHAEL MAHAN of From the Ground Up Pottery

172 Crestwood Road
Robbins, North Carolina 27325

Ben Owen III (b. 1968) learned clay-making at his grandfather's side. Ben Owen the first was no hobbyist. One of the local farmers and fifth-generation "summer crop" potters whom Juliana and Jacques Busbee worked with to develop the 20th-century ceramics that first brought Seagrove national attention. Ben Owen III studied ceramics at East Carolina University. He has taken the tradition to the 21st-century by deftly weaving contemporary directions with traditional foundations.

Ben Owen III (b. 1968) learned clay-making at his grandfather's side. Ben Owen the first was no hobbyist. One of the local farmers and fifth-generation "summer crop" potters whom Juliana and Jacques Busbee worked with to develop the 20th-century ceramics that first brought Seagrove national attention. Ben Owen III studied ceramics at East Carolina University. He has taken the tradition to the 21st-century by deftly weaving contemporary directions with traditional foundations.

BEN OWEN III of Ben Owen Pottery

105 Ben's Place
Seagrove, North Carolina 27341

Vernon Owens (b. 1941) first hired on at the storied Jugtown Pottery in 1960. He bought Jugtown Pottery in 1983, the same year he married potter Pam Lorette (b. 1958). Their son Travis (b. 1985), a NC State College of Design graduate, and daughter Bayle (b. 1990), who studied at Warren Wilson College, are also potters and help their parents run Jugtown Pottery.

Vernon Owens (b. 1941) first hired on at the storied Jugtown Pottery in 1960. He bought Jugtown Pottery in 1983, the same year he married potter Pam Lorette (b. 1958). Their son Travis (b. 1985), a NC State College of Design graduate, and daughter Bayle (b. 1990), who studied at Warren Wilson College, are also potters and help their parents run Jugtown Pottery.

BAYLE, PAM, VERNON, AND TRAVIS OWENS of Jugtown Pottery

330 Jugtown Road
Seagrove, North Carolina 27341

 
Anne Pärtna (b. 1977) graduated from the rigorous Estonia Academy of Fine Arts in Tallinn, and received her MFA from Eastern Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. She and her husband Adam Landman, and friends finished building their Bourry Box wood-fired kiln on 11/11/2011.

Anne Pärtna (b. 1977) graduated from the rigorous Estonia Academy of Fine Arts in Tallinn, and received her MFA from Eastern Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. She and her husband Adam Landman, and friends finished building their Bourry Box wood-fired kiln on 11/11/2011.

ANNE PÄRTNA of Blue Hen Pottery

247 West Main Street
Seagrove, North Carolina 27341

Hitomi Shibata (b. 1971) graduated from Okayama University with a BEd and MEd degree in fine arts, with a ceramics concentration. She and her husband arrived in North Carolina in 2005 with three suitcases and one cat. They've made a home, studio, and shop for themselves in Seagrove.

Hitomi Shibata (b. 1971) graduated from Okayama University with a BEd and MEd degree in fine arts, with a ceramics concentration. She and her husband arrived in North Carolina in 2005 with three suitcases and one cat. They've made a home, studio, and shop for themselves in Seagrove.

HITOMI SHIBATA of Studio Touya

4911 Busbee Road
Seagrove, North Carolina 27341

Takuro Shibata (b. 1972) settled in the pottery town of Seagrove, North Carolina, with his wife Hitomi in 2005. An engineer and an artist, he's the director of STARworks Ceramics and he and his wife are respected members of the global wood-fire studio potters tribe.

Takuro Shibata (b. 1972) settled in the pottery town of Seagrove, North Carolina, with his wife Hitomi in 2005. An engineer and an artist, he's the director of STARworks Ceramics and he and his wife are respected members of the global wood-fire studio potters tribe.

TAKURO SHIBATA of Studio Touya

 

4911 Busbee Road
Seagrove, North Carolina 27341

 

David Stuempfle (b. 1960) travelled the country as a journeyman potter. Now, he travels the world learning about ceramics, as a studio potter with Seagrove, North Carolina as his home base.

David Stuempfle (b. 1960) travelled the country as a journeyman potter. Now, he travels the world learning about ceramics, as a studio potter with Seagrove, North Carolina as his home base.

DAVID STUEMPFLE of David Stuempfle Pottery

1224 Dover Church Road
Seagrove, North Carolina 27341