A week of wood-fired ceramics starts June 1

Josh Copus

The International Woodfire Conference takes place June 8-11 in Star, N.C., with events like a “Masterpieces from North Carolina and South Carolina” display and a pot pop-up. But before woodfire ceramists from around the globe convene in Star (in the center of the state), three pre-conferences take place in Seagrove, Eastern N.C. and the WNC mountains, respectively. The local events — open to both potters and those who simply appreciate the art form — run from Thursday, June 1 to Wednesday, June 7, with a series of exhibitions, receptions, sales, studio tours and demonstrations.

From a press release:

More than 60 artists come to the Asheville area to fire nine kilns as part of the Woodfire NC conference. Most people are familiar with the electric kilns of elementary school. These are not those. These kilns require many days of stoking and achieve temperatures greater than 2,200 degrees. These kilns are how the potters of North Carolina have been creating functional wares for hundreds of years.

The week of fire kicks off with a reception at Blue Spiral gallery at 5 p.m. on June 1. The exhibition, “Connected by Fire” brings together nineteen artists from five countries. The work shows the variety of marks fire creates on the clay surface. Like any language, each artist speaks with an individual accent, influenced by their region and their own unique history, bringing depth and diversity to the conversation.

More of a locavore? Explore work by nearly two dozen Western North Carolina woodfire artists at 6 p.m. on June 2 at the Asheville Area Arts Council on Coxe Avenue. This survey shows how these potters influence each other’s art as many of them work together. For example, Akira Satake will show work with his apprentices Micah Thanhauser and Matt Weigleitner. In other instances, collaboration leads to distinctive results. Josh Copus, Amanda Holloman-Cook, Thanhauser and Weigleitner frequently fire together, collaboratively tending the 27-foot-long kiln, but the character of each piece results from the artist’s hand and his or her manipulation of the flame.

Josh Copus is the WNC pre-conference organizer as well as an organizer and panelist of the main conference. He’s also hosting a PreHEAT invitation firing (not open to the public) with fellow ceramic artists Ben Richardson, Alix Brodeur, Perry Haas, Kevin Lips, Tom Alward, Simon Levin, Joshua Kuensting, Sandy Lockwood, Amanda Holloman-Cook, Micah Thanhauser, Matt Wegleitner, Will Dickert, Michael Hunt and Naomi Dalglish. Here’s what is open to the public:

Woodfire events:

• Thursday, June 1, 5-7 p.m. — “Connected by Fire,” an invitational show of woodfire ceramics
Reception at Blue Spiral gallery, 38 Biltmore Ave.
Exhibition runs through June 23

Friday, June 2, 5-8 p.m. — “Current Effects: Contemporary Woodfiring in Western North Carolina,” a survey of local talent
Reception at Asheville Area Arts Council, 207 Coxe Ave.
Exhibition runs through June 23

Saturday, June 3, 6-8 p.m. — “LINEAGE: Celebrating Rock Creek Pottery”
Reception at Mars Hill University’s Weizenblatt Gallery, Moore Fine Arts Building, 79 Cascade St., Mars Hill
Exhibition runs through August 12

Saturday, June 3, 6-8 p.m. — “CERAMICA POPOLARE” Italian wood fired folk pots
Reception at Mars Hill University’s Weizenblatt Gallery, Moore Fine Arts Building, 79 Cascade St., Mars Hill
Exhibition runs through June 11

Saturday, June 3, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, June 4, noon-5 p.m. — Matt Jones Pottery Kiln Opening Home sale and studio tour
209 Big Sandy Mush Road

•  Sunday, June 4, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2-4:30 p.m.  — Artist demonstrations at Odyssey ClayWorks, 236 Clingman Ave.

Sunday, June 4, 5-7 p.m. — River Arts District gallery night Three open studios with receptions:
— Clayspace, “Guest List: An Exhibition of the Mountain PreHeat Invited Artists,” 119 Roberts St.,
— Asheville Ceramics Gallery, 109 Roberts St.
— Gallery Mugen, 191 Lyman St., No. 165

Wednesday, June 7, 10 a.m.-noon and 3-5 p.m. — Artist demonstrations at Odyssey ClayWorks, 236 Clingman Ave.

Wednesday, June 7, 1 p.m. — “Connected by Fire,” an invitational show of woodfire ceramics.
Artist talk by Eric Knoche, Kazuya Ishida and Ben Richardson Blue Spiral gallery, 38 Biltmore Ave.
Exhibition runs through June 23



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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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2 thoughts on “A week of wood-fired ceramics starts June 1

  1. Akira Satake

    Here is revised info about
    Wednesday June 7
    Artist Talk: Kazuya Ishida, Eric Knoche, Akira Satake and Ben Richardson at Blue Spiral Gallery (1pm)
    Demos: Kazuya Ishida, Eric Knoche and Akira Satake at Odyssey Clayworks, Asheville (3pm – 5pm)

  2. Akira Satake

    Sorry, one more revised info!! Please check the time and address!! – 6:30pm – 9:30pm, 122 Riverside Dr Asheville NC 28801
    Sunday June 4
    Openings: Invited Artists Show at Clayspace Gallery, Asheville. Invited Artist Show at Asheville Ceramics Gallery, Invited Artist Show at Akira Satake Gallery, Asheville (5-7)
    Special Program: Akira Satake’s program at Cottonmill Building, Asheville (6:30pm – 9:30pm, 122 Riverside Dr Asheville NC 28801)
    -There will be Japanese giant nabe casserole, and a cash bar from 6pm on.
    -Ikebana demonstration using broken woodfired pottery as a sculptural vase, by master Ikebana artist Emiko Suzuki (6:30pm)
    -Concert w/ Akira Satake & Anya Hinkle (7:00pm)

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