Four of a Kind: Leah Solita Mangum talks local pottery scene

Leah Solita. Photo by Anna Bryant

Editor’s note: This is part of “Four of a Kind,” a recurring Arts & Culture feature. Each month, four new artists share their takes on the local art scene. In addition to individual online posts, you can find all four features as a single spread in this week’s print edition.

Leah Solita Mangum is an Asheville-based potter and jewelry maker, and the owner of of Solita Designs.

Xpress: Is there an upcoming craft event happening in Asheville that you’re looking forward to seeing?

I’m looking forward to this summer’s Southern Highland Craft Guild show [Thursday, July 18-Sunday July 21] at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center to see the newest members in ceramics and jewelry that have been accepted into the guild this past year. The guild is accepting new members and starting to add a lovely balance of new local artists to the community of traditional craftspeople who have been at the heart of the craft scene in this area for decades. There are so many amazing artists that are inspired by our local natural landscape that I am excited to see and be inspired by.

Outside of craft, what other upcoming local arts happening intrigues you?

I am also looking forward to checking out AVLFest [Thursday, Aug. 1-Sunday, Aug. 4] to see some of my favorite local bands, new bands and experience the variety of fun venues Asheville has to offer. As an Asheville local, I miss the days where downtown had street festivals and citywide music events. AVLFest is our newest festival exhibiting the vibrant music scene Asheville loves and supports so much. It seems that Asheville attracts so many incredible musicians, and I love being exposed to new sounds and new bands.

What current project are you working on that you’re especially excited about?

I am currently developing geometric ceramic wall pieces that allow me to play with depth, variation in surface texture and also allow me to experiment with different firing processes available to me at my studio at the Village Potters. I am using gas and electric kilns, and alternative firings in raku and kazegama kilns to explore different glaze surfaces on slab built sculptures for the wall. These will be able to be displayed on their own or grouped into installation type arrangements — think shapes, atmosphere, texture, elements and depth. I hope to display these together in a collection late this summer or this fall.


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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