Potters exhibit will celebrate an N.C. art

When the Mint Museum Randolph hosts the Annual Potters Market Invitational, now in its seventh year, it brings one of our state's richest traditions to the forefront.

North Carolina has been home to potters for centuries, perhaps millennia. As early as the 18th century, European potters were attracted by our natural clay deposits, and beginning much earlier, the Catawba Indians practiced the craft.

Saturday, the community has the chance to collect something beautiful directly from the artists.

One potter on view, Joseph Sand, studied ceramics in England, Italy and the University of Minnesota before relocating to North Carolina in 2006. After a three-year apprenticeship to Mark Hewitt in Pittsboro, Sand relocated to Randleman in 2009 to work in his own studio.

This artist/craftsman creates both sculptural and functional pieces, using local ash and salt glaze, and his massive pots combine East Asian designs with traditional Southern wares.

Organized by the Delhom Service League, an affiliate of the Mint, the annual Potters Market sale draws ceramic enthusiasts from across the region.

"The Potters Market Invitational is a boon to potters, providing them with an audience of serious, seasoned collectors," says Caroline Gray, event chairperson.

To keep the event fresh, organizers rotate the selection of potters each year. They place those representing traditional fare - from Kim Ellington's wood-fired jugs to the beautifully thrown pots of Ben Owen III - alongside contemporary styled potters such as Eric Knoche, Ken and Connie Sedberry, and Jane Peiser.

Each year, the Delhom Service League buys a work from the event for the Mint's permanent collection.