SEAGROVE — The North Carolina Potters Conference is the Southeast’s premier ceramics conference. Through its history, the conference has featured some of the best ceramics artists from around the world who demonstrate their techniques and share presentations about their work and professional practices. The conference was created by Dwight Holland, Mark Hewitt and Dorothy Auman in partnership with the Randolph Arts Guild in 1987, and to this day, continues to be a major convergence and contributor in education and networking for North Carolina ceramics.
Beginning in 2020, the North Carolina Pottery Center will assume organizational leadership and host the conference from March 5-8. The North Carolina Pottery Center is located at 233 East Avenue in, about two hours away from Boone, south of Greensboro.
The new home of the N.C. Potter’s Conference could not be more fitting than in Seagrove, which is known as the “Pottery Capital of the United States.” Although the birthplace of the conference was in Asheboro, only 20 miles away, a packed conference program can make it difficult to take advantage of the proximity to such a rich living pottery epicenter like Seagrove. The majority of this years’ conference programming will be held at the Historic Luck’s Cannery located along the renowned N.C. Pottery Highway 705, just 0.7 miles from the N.C. Pottery Center.
The change in venue has inspired organizers to begin the conference with a day of guided tours around Seagrove showcasing some of the area’s thriving examples of ceramic history and industry.
The tour hosts will change from year to year in order to celebrate the quantity and quality of the Seagrove ceramic experience and bring exciting variation to the conference schedule annually. Tour hosts during the first day of the 2020 conference include Takuro Shibata of STARworks Ceramic Supply, Pamela Owens and Travis Owens of Jugtown Pottery, Ben Owen III of Ben Owen Pottery, and historian Steve Compton will give a tour of the N.C. Pottery Center. Instructors Patrick Rowe and Leanne Pizio of the Art Alliance in Greensboro will be demonstrating at the conference site during check-in on Thursday. These special additions of guided tours and demonstrations to Thursday, March 5, of the conference will kick off the event with an exciting amount of creative and historical activity.
The theme of this year’s conference, “The Similarities in Our Differences,” is inspired by the transition of the event from one organization to another. As organizers, makers or manufacturers, we all use a variety of skills and techniques to achieve a similar goal — to create the best pieces of art we can. Every aspect of the 2020 N.C. Potters Conference is designed to explore the similarities and differences, and sometimes the similarities in our differences that potters share in executing the craft.
After an initial day of guided tours, the conference will continue in a similar format as past years centering around 2 days of demonstrating artists in addition to multiple speakers. Three demonstrators will work side-by-side, encouraging questions and conversing with the audience and each other covering topics surrounding their unique techniques and perspectives on their ceramic careers.
Unlike other conferences, those wishing to attend do not have to pick and choose which workshops to attend. All demonstrations and presentations are scheduled for the entire group. Potters at any skill level will come away with new ideas and inspiration to improve their work and professional practices. Even non-potters have found the weekend a worthwhile introduction into the world of ceramics.
A full list of the presenting artists, full conference schedule, registration, accommodations and more details can be found on the N.C. Potters Conference website at www.NCPottersConference.org.