Made in NC Awards - Finalist

A couple of months ago, we got a message from our friends over at the City of Morganton Main Street office letting us know that Our State magazine was soliciting entries for this year's Made in NC Awards, a competition that spotlights the best creators, makers, designers, and chefs in North Carolina. Since we were in the middle of photographing the latest pieces from a new body of work, I selected our best example from the new Nautilus Collection and sent in photos representing the piece. Last week we were thrilled to learn that our entry had earned us a place as a finalist in the Craft category. After sending in the bowl for the panel of judges to see firsthand, we await the final verdict which should be announced on October 2.

This year is the fourth year that the Made in NC Awards have been held. The competition began as a way to celebrate and support local businesses, highlight craftspeople and entrepreneurs, and celebrate handmade products and creative ideas. The event is sponsored by Our State, Mast General Store, and Visit Winston-Salem. Entries can be submitted in one of five categories: Food, Drink, Style, Home & Garden, and Craft. My understanding is that there are 6 finalists for each category and that one winner and two honorable mentions will be selected for each category. There will also be one overall winner.

Regardless of the competition results going forward, I am very honored that the work of the studio and gallery was recognized for its design and quality. My assistant, Mackenzie, and I talk quite often about design integrity and maintaining the quality of the work that we produce, and we both work diligently to meet the standards that we set. We also discuss authenticity in the work and in us as the artists that create it. The new Nautilus pieces represent a new direction in our pottery work that grew organically, first from the desire to make some new jars and then through a desire to develop texture and design on the lids of those jars that would interact with glazes through the firing process. As the carved textures on the lids developed into swirl patterns- a recurring theme in my work- I moved the work to platters and then bowls. As the textural motifs emerged, the need for new glaze options became apparent.

The development of the Nautilus work will certainly continue, as I feel we are to this point only scratching the surface of that creative vein. The bowl that I selected for the competition represents a good marker in the progress we'd made up to that point. The form of the bowl, the carved nautilus pattern, and the glaze selection begin to illustrate a level of refinement that had not quite emerged in the earlier generation of the work. The colors produced by the overlapping glazes became more nuanced and the visual textures of those particular glazes on that particular form had become more expected. Certainly we will take this body of work much farther, and happily so.

   Our Submission: 9" Nautilus Bowl in Blue and Orange Ash Glazes