Pottery sale supports Mint, highlights N.C. craft

Some of the potters who will gather Saturday for the “Fourth Annual Potters Market Invitational” at the Mint Museum of Art are well-known: Ben Owen III, Donna Craven and Phil Morgan.

They are stars in a state nationally known for its ceramic artists. But other, less well-known potters also will sell their wares beginning at 10a.m. in a big white tent on the Mint's broad lawn off Randolph Road: Kyle Carpenter, Judith Duff, Ronan Kyle Peterson and Akira Satake.

Together the 40 potters represent North Carolina's three great ceramic traditions – Seagrove, Catawba Valley and the mountains, particularly the Penland area.

The work ranges from dinnerware to art vases, and prices from about $25 to $4,000.

Last year, about 2,000 people attended the event, sponsored by the Delhom Service League, and about $32,000 was raised. The money goes to support the Mint's decorative arts collection. Ticket sales revenue from last year and this year will help purchase a 19th-century ceramic sculpture, “The Baseball Pitcher,” made by Ott and Brewer, a firm that was based in Trenton, N.J.

Brian Gallagher, curator of decorative arts, said the sale also serves a larger educational purpose, giving people a chance to meet and talk with N.C. potters and become familiar with the state's great tradition, both in the work for sale and the pieces inside the museum.

“It gives people exposure to a great craft for which North Carolina is so well known,” he said.

Tickets are $8 and go on sale at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. That includes admission to the Mint on Saturday where two pottery exhibits are on view: “Women in American Art Pottery” and “The Craven Family of North Carolina Pottery.”

2730 Randolph Road; $8; 10 a.m.-4p.m.; 704-337-2000; www.themintmuseums.org.