Monday, October 8, 2012

In Sanford, Halloween's arrival is marked by the emergence of hordes of Cole Pottery Jack-o-Lanterns. 

Hand-thrown by Neolia Cole, or her Grandson Kenneth George, or her sister Celia; an infinite variety of visages, each expressing some aspect of the makers' emotions at the moment of creation. 

Mischievous, goofy, placid, serene, wild, insane, rarely menacing, mostly happy, wide eyes, slanting eyes, triangles, circles and gaping snaggle-toothed grins, these creatures of whim.

Joy they bring; surprise, smiles and delight. And don't forget to read the message on the bottom. Chances are, it was written just for you. "Boo!" Have you met yours yet?!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Space Within...

"Shape clay into a vessel; It is the space within that makes it useful."                      
Lao Tsu, 6th Century B.C.E.

Potters are alchemists.

At their behest, all the essential elements of nature conspire to create objects of great utility and beauty.

Earth, Water, Wind and Fire.


And back-breaking labor.

In 1934, Arthur Ray Cole brought his potter's magic and tireless work ethic to the bustling hamlet of Sanford, North Carolina. He brought with him a growing family, a mule named Charlie and a hard-earned bag of potters' tricks. Mysteries gleaned from years of handling the native Carolina clay. Finding, digging, soaking, grinding, cleaning, cutting, weighing, kneading, turning, drying... 

Secrets won from countless firings. Building forms, shaping brick, constructing kilns, cutting trees, chopping wood, stacking wood, loading wood, breathing smoke, sweating bullets...

Mystical glazes. Flows, runs, drips, dazzling crystals of reflected light, and colors, oh, what colors! Every color of the rainbow. A.R. Cole was a fanatically hard worker and a gifted turner, but his glazes set him apart. Brilliant colors, inspired combinations and endless experimentation yielded the results which distinguish A.R. Cole's Sanford pottery from his contemporaries to this day.

Stay tuned for more on this remarkable craftsman and his family...