Fall into fashion with these seasonal picks from The Mint Museum Store

Fall into fashion with these picks from The Mint Museum Store

Our fun and funky Peruvian Trading Company hats, gloves, arm warmers, ponchos and headbands, and even dog sweaters make the perfect gift and are always a seasonal favorite. Celebrate the coming chilly weather, and one of our favorite vendors, with a special pop-up sale. Enjoy 25% off Peruvian Trading Company’s handmade wonders through the end of October.

Peruvian Trading Company Hand-Knit CLT Hat with Pompom, $22 / CLT Hand/Arm Warmers, $18

Peruvian Trading Company Hand-Knit Peace Sign Hat with Pompom, $22

Peruvian Trading Company Hand-Knit Headbands, $22

Peruvian Trading Company Hand-Knit Spider Hat, $58

Klimt Silk Artist Tie, $58 / Klimt Cufflinks, $72 / Newgate Drummer Watch, $208

Bracken Explorer’s Hat, $72

Fair trade, hand-embroidered clutch from Thailand and fair trade hand-embroidered mask from Mexico (assorted designs and colors), $32 / $22

Sarah Cavender Metalworks jewelry and scarf. Each piece is hand crafted in Oxford, Alabama and made by local artisans under the supervision of Jewelry Designer Sarah Cavender. Square Cobra Necklace (Bottom Right), $174 / Knotted Snake Necklace (Bottom Left), $130 / Long Gold Chain, $120 / Short Gold Chain, $68 / Short Rose Chain, $68 / Interlocking Disk Earrings, $92 / Open Weave Metal Scarf, $250

Fair trade from Nepal felted oversized bag with three interchangeable felted flowers, $118

Kevin Cole studio tour with Young Affiliates of the Mint

Kevin Cole YAM’s Studio Tour

Young Affiliates of the Mint join Kevin Cole (virtually) for another studio tour. Cole was featured in the Young Affiliates juried show “Coined in the South” in 2019. His work is included in more than 3,600 public, private, and corporate collections throughout the United States and abroad (Michael Jordan owns one of his pieces!). Watch to hear about some of Kevin’s latest work and the inspiration behind some of his best known pieces.

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra inaugurates installation of ‘Foragers’

Women’s artistry shines as Charlotte Symphony Orchestra concertos inaugurate Mint Museum Uptown’s newly installed Foragers

By Michael Solender

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra violinist Jenny Topilow could barely contain her enthusiasm when she learned she’d be performing in a special filmed concerto in the Mint Museum’s Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium uptown earlier this fall.  

 Topilowalong with three of her symphony colleagues, were part of a unique celebration showcasing the space and the brilliant newly installed 96-panel “stained glass” installation, Foragers, by contemporary American artist Summer Wheat.

“The beauty of great art is of importance to all of us,” Topilow says,I love spending time at the Mint, go there often, and am excited to be part of this collaboration between two of Charlotte’s favorite cultural institutions.” 

Bringing people together to enjoy beautiful artistry is at the core of the museum’s mission. As part of the Mint Museum’s 10th anniversary year uptown and in recognition of the challenges many in our community face getting out of their homes during the time of Covid, the Mint partnered with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in creating a short film featuring a pair of duets performed by symphony musicians.  

 The collaboration came at invitation of the Wells Fargo Foundation, longtime supporters of both cultural institutions. “Our foundation uses different mediums to help tell the story of impact and reach into the communities we serve,” says Jay Everette, Wells Fargo’s senior vice president of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. “The film represents a celebration of the power of women in art presented at the intersection of architecture, art and music. The film will ultimately be made available at no charge to the entire community.” 

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra players, cellist Sarah Markle and violinist Alaina Rea, teamed up for a performance that was filmed in front of “Foragers.” Photo courtesy Kelso Communications

Each duet is performed under the backdrop of Summer Wheat’s transformative atrium window installation. Bathed in glowing jewel-toned light, the compelling musical performances are elevated by the sublimity of the space. Topilow and CSO harpist Andrea Mumm Trammell paired to play contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Part’s Fratres, an enthusiastic set of frenetic activity juxtaposed against contemplative stillness. Charlotte Symphony Orchestra players, cellist Sarah Markle and violaist Alaina Rea, teamed for the contemplative and reflecting duet Limestone and Feltby contemporary North Carolina composer and Pulitzer Prize for music recipient Caroline Shaw.  

“During this time of COVID, we want to provide content that is uplifting, hopeful, positive, and optimistic,” says Hillary Cooper, Chief Advancement Officer for The Mint Museum. “It’s a gift to our donors and partners and comes with a promise of a brighter future.”

Foragers was realized through the generous support of the Wells Fargo Foundation Women Artists Fund, a special fund developed to support broader representation of women artists in museum collections. The work showcases Wheat’s commitment to telling the stories of women as laborers and makers. She redefines historic artistic gender representation in ways that make her work resonate loudly today. 

We asked our musicians to find inspiration in Foragers, and to select music that would complement it,” says David Fisk, president, and CEO of Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.To continue our focus on the impact of women in the arts, we feature two duets by female musicians, and one work by a contemporary female composer. I am pleased to highlight musicians from the Charlotte Symphony here at The Mint Museum for a performance that is at once classical and contemporary.” 

 For Topilow, the performance is a joyful experience at a happy junction of art and music.  

Everything right nowduring Covidhas unique aspect,” Topilow says, “We wanted to create a large amount of powerful music with a small number of players and the result is truly special.”

Michael J. Solender is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, American City Business Journals, Metropolis Magazine, Business North Carolina, the Charlotte Observer, and others. He develops custom content and communications for businesses and organizations.

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Members of the Metrolina Native American Association dressed in tribal colors and costume. Photo by Lance Bradshaw

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Compiled and written by Rubie Britt-Height and Kurma Murrain

 

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples, and commemorates their histories and cultures. It is celebrated across the United States on the second Monday in October.

In 2018, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in North Carolina. Cooper’s proclamation states “American Indians, who have inhabited this land since long before their first contact with English settlers, share their knowledge of the land and its resources, and have continued to play a vital role in the development of our local communities, the state of North Carolina and the nation.”

North Carolina has several indigenous peoples, including the Catawba, Eastern Band of  Cherokee‎, Chickasaw‎, Choctaw,‎  Coharie, Haliwa-Saponi, Meherrin, Muscogee‎, Occaneechi Band Saponi, Sappony, Waccamaw Siouan Seminole tribe, Lumbee‎, and‎ Pamlico‎.

Governor Cooper noted, “Our state has enjoyed a positive relationship with the indigenous people of North Carolina and continue to grow in our shared progress. We honor and respect the heritage and the many cultural and economic contributions of our American Indian tribes and people.”

Dancers from the Metrolina Native American Association perform at a Sunday Fun Day and Community Conversations event at The Mint Museum. Authentic costumes with feathers, bells, leather, and beads brighten ceremonial and celebratory dances.  The dances are a form of storytelling. Photo by Lance Bradshaw

The History of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Indigenous Peoples’ Day began in 1989 in South Dakota, where then Governor  George S. Mickelson backed a resolution to celebrate Native American day on the second Monday of October. It was a counter-celebration held on the same day as the U.S. federal holiday of  Columbus Day, which honors Italian explorer  Christopher Columbus. Some in the United States reject celebrating Christopher Columbus, saying that he represents “the violent history of the colonization in the Western Hemisphere” and that Columbus Day overshadows Columbus’ dismal actions, including enslaving Native Americans.

According to the Cherokee One Feather news, “Columbus’ landing in the Caribbean marked the beginning of decline among Native American tribes and the beginning of the Transatlantic slave trade.” Columbus Day is still celebrated the same day in many states, including by numerous Italian-American communities.

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day at the Mint

The Mint Museum joins North Carolina’s celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ day and embraces the idea of acknowledging the historic sacrifices of indigenous people and their contributions to the United States. The museum is proud of its relationship with the Metrolina Native American Association in presenting cultural history, heritage, dance, storytelling, and music during Native American Heritage Month.  It also has presented programming with Catawba artists.

A diverse audience of parents, children, and the Native American community enjoyed circle and tribal dance to the rhythms of indigenous musical instruments at a Sunday Fun Day event in 2019. Photo by Lance Bradshaw

Voices heard: ‘Foragers’ underscores Mint’s ongoing commitment to women artists

Summer Wheat (American, 1977–). Foragers, 2020, colored vinyl on mylar, 805.5 x 738.5 inches. T0263.1a-qqqq. Photo credit: Chris Edwards

Summer Wheat’s monumental Foragers underscores the Mint’s ongoing commitment to women artists, perspectives historically underrepresented in museums

By Michael J. Solender

Uptown visitors meet with a fresh sensory experience this fall as Mint Museum Uptown reopens its doors following the Covid-mandated lockdown. As guests enter the towering glass-paneled Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium, they’re enveloped in warm jewel-toned light bathing the space of the new 96-panel “stained glass” installation Foragers by contemporary American artist Summer Wheat.

And while the quiet beauty of hand-drawn, collaged and placed colored vinyl panels encourage many to slow their pace and reflect in the grandeur, the imagery of strong, powerful women, taking on traditional male roles of hunters and providers, makes a clear and confident statement—women are represented on their own terms, making vital contributions.

The messaging is not accidental. Wheat’s work is deliberate in pushing back on gender objectification and unidimensional portrayal often depicted in museum collections. “Histories we tell, and the histories told to us are never really true,” Wheat says, her slight Oklahoma drawl elongating her cadence. “They’re only telling one side of the story, and there’s a lot that’s left out.”

Wheat, a mid-career artist whose work has been displayed in museums only within the past few years, is bucking a trend unfavorable to women. Just 11 percent of all acquisitions and 14 percent of exhibitions at 26 prominent American museums over the past decade were of work by female artists, according to a recent study by art market information company Artnet.

Recognizing this historical underrepresentation of women’s voices on public display, the Mint is leading the way to better balance the scales. “We have a strong community partner and advocate in Wells Fargo whose values align so closely with the museum on this important social and cultural issue,” says Todd Herman, Mint Museum President & CEO, “Something  we really admire and treasure in the relationship we’ve had with Wells Fargo is they collaborate with us and push us further in ways that make the community better. Their Women Artist Fund and their support of our Foragers installation is a wonderful example of that.”

Charlotte knows Wells Fargo as a significant community partner and stalwart investor in our region’s diversity and success. Their foundation focuses on projects and innovation at the community level such as awareness and social change, increasing housing affordability, and access to capital for businesses. Last year, they contributed more than $14 million in support of projects and programing in the Charlotte region. In addition to programmatic work with quantitative measure, like the number of low-income individuals placed into safe and affordable housing, a component of the foundation’s work focuses on bringing perspectives and understanding to social issues through the arts.

“As company, we’re one of the largest small business lenders to women owned businesses,” says Jay Everette, Wells Fargo’s senior vice president of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. “With the arts and culture sector of our [philanthropic] work, we realize putting a focus on female artists helps elevate and escalate women’s voices through promoting their artwork. Not only is Foragers a significant work by an important female artist, it’s also public art that anybody can come in and access without having to pay a fee.”

It was the Mint Museum’s 80th anniversary celebration and the 2016 Women of Abstract Expressionism exhibition that served as a catalyst for the formation of the Wells Fargo Foundation Women Artist Fund according to Everette. “We were beginning to formulate some of the strategies on this and through the exhibition discovered there were a group of other women artists leading the way in the movement.  But they did not have gallery representation. They were not being picked up by museums after the abstract expressionist movement.”

Inspired, the Wells Fargo Foundation set about to address and help reconcile the imbalance of female representation in museum collections. “The Women Artist Fund was established three years ago, and we’ve been successful in helping to place and acquire seminal pieces of art in permanent museum collections across North Carolina,” says Everette. Other museums benefiting from the program include the Cameron Museum of Art in Wilmington, The Weatherspoon Museum of Art in Greensboro, and The Blowing Rock Art Museum in Blowing Rock.

Admirers of Summer Wheat’s Foragers, on display through September 6, 2022, will be pleased to note that through the generosity of The Wells Fargo Foundation Women Artist Fund, the artist’s work With Side, With Shoulder, a large painting where Wheat’s technique extrudes paint through wire mesh, has been acquired for the Mint’s permanent collection.

Mary Myers Dwelle, one of the Mint’s female founders would undoubtedly be pleased.

Foragers is part of the exhibition In Vivid Color: Pushing the Boundaries of Perception in Contemporary Art that opens Oct. 16 at Mint Museum Uptown.

Michael J. Solender is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, American City Business Journals, Metropolis Magazine, Business North Carolina, the Charlotte Observer, and others. He develops custom content and communications for businesses and organizations.

A look back at the Mint through the years with Herb Cohen

Brian Gallagher, Curator of Decorative Arts at The Mint Museum (left) with Herb Cohen.

A stalwart supporter of the arts and dedicated staff member at the Mint, Herb Cohen provides an oral history of The Mint Museum

Herb Cohen, a well-respected potter, has been a part of the Mint family since the late 1950s and is still an active member of the Mint and the Delhom Service League.  First working with clay at the age of 6 at the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Herb earned two degrees in ceramics at Alfred University before becoming a designer for Hyalyn Porcelain Company in Hickory, North Carolina.

After two years at Hyalyn, he moved to Charlotte in 1958, and immediately became involved with the Mint Museum Drama Guild. He and his husband, José Fumero, a textile artist and painter, designed and built sets and costumes, as well as appearing onstage. This was the beginning of Cohen wearing many hats on the Mint staff, including exhibition designer, ceramics teacher, interim museum director (twice!), and exhibits director. In 1972, he and Fumero moved to Blowing Rock to pursue their art full-time, but never lost touch with the Mint.   

During the 38 years in Blowing Rock, Cohen made his living as a potter, was a founder of the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, and served on the boards of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, Piedmont Craftsman, and the American Craft Council. After he and Fumero returned to Charlotte in 2010, Cohen became active with the Delhom Service League and the Potters Market Invitational. In 2012, the Mint celebrated his work with the exhibition, Sophisticated Surfaces: The Pottery of Herb Cohen. 

The following interviews were conducted by Brian Gallagher, curator of decorative arts, and Ellen Show, archivist at Mint Museum Randolph during the summer of 2017. Cohen discusses his career at the Mint Museum, his life as a potter and artist, his experiences with the Mint Museum Drama Guild, and, during a walking tour, describes what the Mint Museum Randolph building was like before and after the 1967 expansion. 

 

Interview 1 – June 12, 2017: Cohen’s roles at The Mint Museum

 

Gallagher talks with Cohen about his years on staff at the Mint Museum, which ran from 1958 to 1972. Cohen began as a volunteer exhibition installer and Mint Museum Drama Guild technician and actor, and went on to become exhibition designer, interim museum director (twice!), ceramics instructor, and exhibits director. 

 

Interview 2 – June 26, 2017: Cohen’s Life in the Arts

Cohen discusses his relationship with the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and its contribution to his studying ceramics at Alfred University, his singing at Madison Square Garden and on Broadway as a child, and his work as a potter in North Carolina. 

 

Interview 3 – July 10, 2017: The Mint Museum Drama Guild

Ellen Show talks with Cohen about his experiences working with the Mint Museum Drama Guild. Highlights of their conversation include stories about Drama Guild founder Dorothy Masterson, and memories of other guild members, including Jan Karon, Leon Rippy, and his husband, artist Jose Fumero. 

 

Interview 4 – Aug. 18, 2017

 

A walk-and-talk through the original staff areas of Mint Museum Randolph. Cohen remembers the spaces as they were in the late 1950s to 1960s. 

 

Interview 5 – Sept. 12, 2017 

 

A walk-and-talk around the original gallery spaces of Mint Museum Randolph. Cohen describes the spaces before and after the 1967 building expansion. 

Contemporary North Carolina ceramics at The Mint Museum

Building on talent and tradition, ceramic artists leave their mark through clay creations in the Mint’s permanent collection

By Annie Carlano, Senior Curator of Craft, Design & Fashion, and Rebecca Elliot, Assistant Curator of Craft, Design & Fashion

Locally, across the country, and across the pond, North Carolina is known as the “clay state.”  With an abundance of clay in the soil from the Piedmont to the mountains, centuries of pottery making, and generations of families making objects of exceptional craft and design, by the early 20th century an appreciation for North Carolina ceramics grew. In the 1960s, amid the back-to-the-earth cultural movement, pottery was collected, exhibited, and published widely, and the was the subject of scholarly inquiries and symposia.

Building on the talent and traditions of the past, in the 21st century, North Carolina has attracted potters and sculptors from throughout the world who seek good local clay bodies, but a community of makers and a lifestyle that values simplicity.

North Carolina ceramics is one of the great strengths of the Mint Museum’s permanent collection. Its contemporary holdings continue to grow through the generosity of many individuals. Striving to represent the full range of artistic production throughout the state, the Mint has amassed a collection that includes jugs, tableware, sculpture, and installation art. A sampling is featured here for your enjoyment.

Fine functional and decorative objects are also featured in the Mint Museum Store at Mint Museum Uptown.

 

Cristina  Córdova (United States, 1976-). Preludios y Partidas, 2012, ceramic, concrete, steel, resin, 129.5 x 36 x 180 inches. Project Ten Ten Ten Commission. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Laura and Michael Grace, Donna and Al De Molina, Lorne Lassiter and Gary Ferraro, and Yvonne and Richard McCracken. 2014.30A-J. Image © Mint Museum of Art, Inc. © Cristina Córdova, 2012.

 

Cristina Córdova’s figurative installation, Preludios y Partidas, commands a wall at one end of the Clay Gallery on Level 3 at Mint Museum Uptown. This subtle yet powerful psychological work was created nearly a decade ago yet is prescient. Córdova says: “In understanding this piece as a metaphorical topography, I wanted to use the title to hint as to what that corresponding psycho-emotional space would be. This landscape is one of transition and like the reference to the distillment of reason and logic from uncertainty and chaos, these figures are in the preliminary charged states (preludios) before a great action (partidas). Although the floating concrete elements could hint of the residual vestiges of a previous reality, I am not thinking of it as further leading to an ending but to the beginning of a new cycle. Common to the human experience are profound shifts where the ground gives way and one is thrust into powerful periods of self-reflection, growth, and renewed vision; this is how this space looks in my mind right before the next grand launch.”

Born in Boston, raised in Puerto Rico, Córdova received a BA, magna cum laude, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, Colegio de Agricultura y Artes Mecánicas, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, in 1998, and an MFA in Ceramics from New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University, Alfred, New York, in 2002. Her sculptures are included in other prestigious museum collections including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., Fuller Craft Museum in Massachusetts, Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico, and the Mobile Museum in Alabama, as well as important private collections. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, she currently lives and works at Penland School of Craft in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.


Alexander Matisse (United States, 1984-), East Fork Pottery (Asheville, NC, founded 2010). Two Tall Vases, clay, glaze, 26 x 16 inches. Gift of the Delhom Service League: 2014 Potters Market Invitational Purchase. 2014.74.1a-b. © Alexander Matisse, 2014

 

Two Tall Vases form an elegant sculptural pair illustrating the skill and aesthetic of clay artist and entrepreneur Alex Matisse. The large vessel forms are beautifully shaped with hints of the handmade in the faint throwing lines and gracefully manipulated drip glazes. Based on traditional North Carolina storage jugs and inspired by English and Asian wares, Two Tall Vases signal a transitional period in Matisse’s career, when his mastery of regional forms and global techniques led to a period of experimentation and the emergence of his unique contemporary style.

Matisse grew up in Groton, Massachusetts and studied at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina where he discovered the rich history of the ceramics of our state. Dropping out of college to undertake apprenticeships with Matt Jones and Mark Hewitt, he started East Fork Pottery at the age of 25 along with his now wife Connie Coady Matisse, and John Vigeland. East Fork Pottery was founded on the principles of William Morris (British, 1834- 1896) that life is improved by living with objects that are beautiful, handmade, useful, and affordable. With their clean lines and muted colors, the simple everyday tableware and objects are staples in several restaurant dining rooms and are popular on wedding registries.


Matthew S. Jones (United States 1971-). Storage Jar, stoneware, 20 x 15.5 inches.  Gift of an Anonymous Donor to Commemorate the First Potters Market Invitational. 2005.73.1. © Matthew S. Jones, 2005

In Storage Jar, with its broad strong rim, a robust vernacular shape is transformed into an elegant vessel, through its small delicate handles, surfaces markings, and glaze. Matt Jones achieves a timelessness in this and other works in the Mint’s collection through his deep knowledge and mastery of historic forms, the wood firing process, salt and alkaline glazes, and slip trailing. According to Jones, “It is important to me that my work is grounded in the Carolina traditions that go back 150 years, but I feel quite free to incorporate a modern sensibility and ideas from other cultures.”

Matt Jones fell in love with clay as a student at Earlham College in Indiana. His academic education was followed by an apprenticeship with Todd Piker at Cornwall Bridge Pottery in Connecticut, and another with Mark Hewitt of Pittsboro, North Carolina. In 1998 Jones set up his own pottery studio in Leicester, North Carolina. Today the studio is owned and run by Matt and his wife Christine. Using blue pipe clay—so named because it was once used to make pipe tobacco heads—Matt Jones continues to make a variety of garden pots and vessels.


Benjamin W. Owen lll (American, 1968-). MiSe Vase, 2016, stoneware, 41 x 24 inches. Daisy Wade Bridges Purchase Prize from the 2016 Potters Market Invitational, given by the Delhom Service League. 2016.38.1

The MiSe Vase is a stunning example of Ben Owen III’s artistry. Though massive in size, it is perfectly symmetrical, displaying Owen’s great skill in throwing pots at any scale. The vessel’s rich blue color with hints of burgundy around the rim and on the handles demonstrates his mastery of a wide variety of glazes and his willingness to continually push himself to develop new glaze types. Its shape and the title MiSe reflect his knowledge of Asian ceramics, especially the Chinese ceramics tradition. In 2007, Owen traveled to China as part of a delegation of American political and community leaders and had the honor of presenting his work as gifts for the delegation’s Chinese hosts. During that trip, he also visited museums and pottery villages in China and Japan.

Owen comes from a long line of potters who settled North Carolina in the eighteenth century and made functional wares for the next two hundred years. Owen learned pottery beginning at the age of 8 from his grandfather, Ben Owen Sr., who had worked at Jugtown Pottery near Seagrove and later established his own pottery, Old Plank Road Pottery in Westmoore, North Carolina. Ben Owen III studied business at Pfeiffer University and earned a BFA in ceramics from East Carolina University in 1993. During the 1990s, he traveled to visit potters in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Since 1999, he has operated his own studio at the Old Plank Road Pottery.


David Stuempfle (American, 1960-). Large Jar, 2012, stoneware, 17.5 x 21 inches. Gift of Daisy Wade Bridges. 2012.75.1

 

This Large Jar by David Stuempfle illustrates his skill at throwing large forms and achieving interesting glazing effects solely through the chemical reaction of clay and wood ash in the kiln. Dripping lines of brown and splotches of off-white add visual interest and complement the jar’s round form, accenting its background hues of rich brown, beige, and charcoal gray. Stuempfle makes his own clay body and slip from a mix of clay from his land and elsewhere in Seagrove, North Carolina, and commercially mined clays.

Originally from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Stuempfle first studied ceramics at the High Mowing School in New Hampshire. He then worked for many years as a journeyman potter in various states, including Tennessee and Wisconsin, as well as in Asia. When he relocated to North Carolina, he worked first for M.L. Owens Pottery and Jugtown Pottery before settling permanently in Seagrove. He built his wood-burning kiln there in 1992 and specialized in salt-glazed stoneware for several years but has recently stopped using salt glaze. His sources of inspiration include Chinese, Japanese, and Korean pottery.


Pamela Owens (American, 1958-), Jugtown Pottery (Seagrove, NC, 1921-), Jennie L. Keatts (American). Jar with Lid, 2006, stoneware, silver, 6 x 4 inches. Gift of the Delhom Service League: 2006 Potters Market Invitational Purchase. 2006.67A-B. Copyright 2006, Pamela L Owens

 

On this lidded jar, Pam Owens has thrown a classic shape inspired by traditional Asian vases and complemented it with glazes in rich jewel tones of deep turquoise, burgundy, blue, and purple. The placement of the burgundy glaze around the jar’s shoulder highlights the elegance of its form. The jar’s small scale and silver lid further indicate that its purpose is decorative. The lid is by Jennie (Jennifer) Lorette Keatts, Pam’s sister, a jeweler in Seagrove, NC whose jewelry often features glazed ceramic “gems” made at Jugtown Pottery. 

The Lorette sisters were raised in New Hampshire. Pamela first studied pottery there in 1975 and became an apprentice at Jugtown in 1977. After further apprenticeships in New Hampshire, she returned to Jugtown in 1980 and three years later married its owner Vernon Owens. Since then they have been the principal potters, as well as managers of this historic pottery, which was founded in 1921 by Jacques and Juliana Busbee. The Busbees were artists from Raleigh who sought to reinvigorate the North Carolina pottery tradition by introducing Asian forms and glazes. The grandfather of Ben Owen III, Ben Owen senior, worked at Jugtown Pottery as a potter from 1923 to 1959. Ben Owen and Vernon Owens are from the same family line, although Vernon’s grandfather added the ‘s’ to his name. 

What’s the difference between pottery and ceramics?

Ceramics are clay objects that have been heated and chemically changed. Clay is porous and water-soluble, but ceramics are not. Pottery is a subcategory of ceramics that refers to vessels but not sculptures. The vessels can be functional or not. Pottery also has something of a rustic connotation, such that earthenware and stoneware are called pottery, whereas porcelain objects are called ceramics.

September is pottery month at The Mint Museum Store

Perfectly pottery: Shop 8 of NC’s top pottery makers wares at The Mint Museum Store

The Mint Museum Store is a one-stop-shop to see many different styles of some of North Carolina’s top pottery artists, including Ben Owen, East Fork Pottery, and Erin Janow. Throughout the month of September all pottery at the store is 25% off. Start your holiday shopping with a visit to the store, and learn about some of the top pottery makers represented at The Mint Museum.

Micro Crystal Bowl, $310; Tang Vase Blue Micro Crystal, $320; Egg Vase Blue Micro Crystal, $320

Ben Owen III 

Ben Owen III continues a family tradition of pottery making that dates back to the 1700’s. His forefathers came to North Carolina from England to poly their craft and furnish storage jars and other utilitarian wares to early settlers. One of the most acclaimed and collected of today’s current North Carolina potters, Owen began his craft at an early age under the tutelage of his grandfather, Ben Owen I, a master potter himself. Owen went on to formally study ceramics at East Carolina University, where he garnered many awards and a BFA in ceramics in 1993. His pottery reflects a foundation in traditional designs alongside Asian influence. His work can be found in many museums including ours, The Mint Museum. Also, notably, The Smithsonian Museum of Art and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Singer/songwriter James Taylor and golfer Arnold Palmer are among the notables whose collections include works by Ben Owen III.


Dean and Martin Potter, $60-$200.

Dean and Martin Pottery

Jeff Dean and Stephanie Nicole Martin, both born and raised in the heart of North Carolina, rely on their love of nature and the land as inspiration for living the life of potters. Jeff received a BFA in ceramic design from East Carolina University. Balancing form, function and design, his forms usually come from something seen on a city walk or in nature. Stephanie received a BFA in design with a concentration in ceramics from UNC-Greensboro. Often utilizing digital, as well as printmaking, techniques, she builds the surfaces of her vessels. She makes hand-built and wheel-thrown objects using color, pattern, floral and figurative images to evoke a feeling of nostalgia. Watching her grandmother sew and quilt influenced her sense of craft and design, as well as her love of 1960’s and 70’s culture and music.


 

East Fork pottery cereal bowls, $42.

East Fork Pottery 

East Fork Pottery, founded in 2010 by Alexander Matisse (great-grandson of Henri Matisse) and Connie Coady, is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina. East Fork designs, manufactures and sells durable ceramic dishware. Their lines are simple and fundamental. Unadorned, the work is distilled to its essential elements: form and function. It is durable and timeless, resistant to fashion and trends. Alexander along with their team of talented artisans, make their pots with dynamic, iron-rich clays dug from the American south East and colored with glazes formulated and mixed in-house. The glazes are often limited-edition colors and the collection of colors we have in the store, are from a limited batch, unavailable now from the studio itself.


Erin Janow Sake Set of 6, $180

Erin Janow 

Erin Janow is a potter, a wife, a mother, and a cook. Born and raised in Indiana, Erin graduated from Indiana University earning a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and Art History. She began her apprenticeship working for Magnum Pottery in North Carolina as an understudy, honing her craft there for nearly seven years. In January 2009, she ventured forth as a solo potter to develop her own line. She began devoting much of her time developing new glazes and techniques and, along with her husband, a jewelry maker, working in a studio conveniently found in the basement of their home in Asheville. Erin has said, “My work is designed to be user friendly and functional. Because I also have a passion for cooking and family, my hope is that others will find happiness using my pottery when cooking meals for their families, in turn.”


Jon Ransmeier basket, $550

John Ransmeier

John Ransmeier grew up in Asheville, North Carolina. John was introduced to clay in 1968, and just two years later, he built his first kick wheel. John worked with many potters perfecting his art and co-founded the Biltmore Clay Company in Asheville in 1976. His work can be seen in galleries throughout the country and has been collected by such notables as Oprah Winfrey. The daily challenges of ceramic materials and techniques become rewards when he passes on his work to a receptive new owner.


Jugtown teapot, $198 and square teacups $26

Jugtown Pottery

Jugtown Pottery is a working pottery and an American Craft Shop located in a grove of trees and bamboo eight miles south of Seagrove, in Moore County, NC. It is just off Busbee Road, a road named for Jacques and Juliana Busbee, the founders of Jugtown. Both artists with a love of craft and form, together they created Jugtown Pottery, melding forms from ancient traditions with those developed in North Carolina. In 1917 they created The Village Store and Tea Room in New York City, and in 1922 they began stamping each piece with the circular Jugtown Ware stamp.

The forms derive from simplicity and practice, a continuous line, then a complimentary glaze and occasional decoration. Drawing from the North Carolina tradition, you will find jugs, pitchers and candlesticks in wood fired Salt Glaze and Frogskin, and tableware in green, blue, brown, and gray. Vases, bowls, and jars in glazes made with wood ash, local clays, copper reds, greens, and iron earth tones, have origins in world clay traditions.Jugtown thrives on the aesthetic foundation laid out by the Busbee’s. Vernon Owens, recipient of the NC Folk Heritage Award and the NEA National Heritage Fellowship, wife Pam, son Travis and daughter Bayle are the main potters, while Bobby Owens mixes clay and glazes the pieces.


Turtle Island drunk jug, $190

Turtle Island Pottery

Owned by Maggie and Freeman Jones, Turtle Island Pottery is named for an American Indian creation story. In its simplest form, a turtle swam to the bottom of the waters that covered the world and brought up mud to make the land. Turtle hatched her eggs on this land, and everything has come from this. Maggie and Freeman have made their living from the very stuff of creation since 1984. Their handmade stoneware pottery is both functional and decorative, with a sculptural feel. Maggie says of her process, “When I think and plan about the clay and glazes in the heat of the kiln, I envision lava flowing, crystals growing and flowers blooming. Earth, air, fire and water minerals reacting with one another, like when the earth was being formed.”


Paradox Pottery by Jim Whalen

Paradox Pottery 

Jim Whalen’s one-of-a-kind vessels are turned on a potter’s wheel, then burnished and coated with terra sigillata, an ultra-refined clay slip that can give a soft sheen when applied to bone-dry wares and, if polished or burnished while still damp, may give a high gloss. The ancient Greeks and Romans used this technique in lieu of glaze. After bisque firing, patterns and images are created with wax resist. The patterns he creates are sometimes mathematical, sometimes emotional, but always drawn from within and are intended to evoke images of an evolving planet. His unique firing process explores the lower temperature ranges of wood, salt, and soda, enhancing these patterns. Because the process is challenging and unpredictable, each piece achieves a uniqueness that is impossible to duplicate.

Tune In sculpture

‘Tune In’ installation connects the past and future of our society

Tune In sculpture
“Tune In” is a 4,000 pound sculpture designed by Charlotte-based artist Richard Lazes.

Tune In puts focus on where we’ve come as a society and where we are going … for better or worse 

A larger-than-life outdoor diorama is coming to the plaza at the Levine Center for the Arts just outside Mint Museum Uptown. The 4,000-pound multidimensional diorama titled Tune In, created by local artist Richard Lazes and his studio team of fellow creatives at the Art Factory, is a sculpture of six stacked televisions from the 1960s in an enclosed room with wallpaper, pictures and linoleum that replicate a TV room of the time.

Tune In will be installed on Wells Fargo Plaza outside Mint Museum Uptown in tandem with the grand re-opening of the museum. The installation will be accompanied by food and live music during the Mint’s grand re-opening celebration. (Museums currently are grouped in Phase III opening guidelines. Re-opening dates will be announced when the latest guidelines from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper are confirmed).

Televisions in the installation display a collage of rolling snippets of media programming from the 1950s and ’60s, including news segments like the launch of Apollo 11, sitcoms and tv dramas, live musical performances by the likes of Little Richard and The Beatles. It’s a reflection of history that is mirrored in society today, as well as a display of media that has—and continues to—heavily influence the way people think and act. He hopes that Tune In stimulates conversations among viewers to consider where we have come from and where we are going as a society.

Lazes wanted to create a piece of art that put the pandemic crisis of 2020 and social unrest in some type of historical perspective. The massive sculpture was created by dissecting vintage television sets found in antique shops, and then assembled into a precarious formation indicative of the dysfunctional state of our society today. Six LED screens replace the old television tubes. In order to create content for the screens, he created a video collage mined from 100 hours of TV shows and news media during the 1960s to create iconic TV shows, great musical performers by the entertainers of that day and news clips of current events during that time period. 

“It’s been 60 years since these programs were broadcast on TV and while video programing has become more politically correct it is unclear whether American culture and society has become any more fair and equitable,” he says.

Lazes recognizes that shows like “The Jeffersons,” “The Little Rascals,” Lucille Ball, and “Sanford and Son” were misogynistic, chauvinistic and racist, portraying a very shallow  and prejudiced view of women and blacks. “These portrayals of minorities were indicative of that period. While we have moved a long way to a more magnanimous and politically correct viewpoint in our media, I wonder if our society has really changed in the way we treat one another,” he says. 

 

Richard Lazes working on the assembly of the “Tune In” diorama space.

 

But television programming of that period also brought families together to watch favorite shows.

“With the introduction of the internet, personal computers, and smartphones, we have become isolated and no longer came together with friends and families to take in a shared media experience. Perhaps a silver lining of the pandemic is that it has brought us back together as families to sit in front of the TV set as newscasters and politicians brief us on the status of the pandemic. With all of the discord and alienation in society, we are all in need of some introspection and a positive message so I hope that my sculpture will contribute to the healing process.”

 

“Tune In” on view in Martha’s Vineyard.

 

Tune In is scheduled to travel throughout 10 cities, including Charlotte, Washington D.C., Boston, New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles. At each stop of the exhibit, Lazes along with co-director Aaron Atkinson will interview and film local artists to document how they are leveraging their creative talent to bring hope to each city. The documentary “Artists in Quarantine: American Creativity During the 2020 Pandemic” will showcase how creatives took their craft to showcase truth, justice and hope in a time of despair, and is scheduled to stream on Netflix in 2022.

15+ items that celebrate women, and the women’s right to vote

 

Suffragette Bookend from Silk Road Bazaar (fair trade and made by women), $36 // Susan B. Anthony Ornament from Silk Road Bazaar (fair trade and made by women), $24 // VOTE Enamel Pin, $12 // 19th Amendmints, $4

15+ items that celebrate women, and the centennial of women’s suffrage

This one’s for the women — and men who respect women’s rights. This year marks the centennial anniversary of women getting the right to vote. On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th amendment passed giving women the right to vote. The vote opened opportunities for women to innovate, create and legislate for women’s rights — and art by women for women has always been a social commentary to push change. As a matter of fact, The Mint Museum’s history is rich with generations of women dedicating time to establish and grow The Mint Museum, including Mary Myers Dwelle who was the driving force behind the creation of the first art museum in North Carolina. Read more about how the Mint’s history is women’s history.

The curated list of art, books, cards and more below celebrate the strength and voice of women, and are all available at the Mint Museum Store.

 

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall $26  // Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights by Mikki Kendall and A. D’Amico, $19.99.

Books that tell “her”story.


 

eeBoo 100 Piece Votes for Women, $18 // 500 Piece Women’s March Puzzle, $24

Pandemic puzzle project with a lesson. Get it for the kids and you. eeBoo is “Woman Owned. Mother Run. Sustainable Sourced.”


The Illustrated Feminist: 50 Postcards by Aura Lewis, $15.99

Send a note of inspiration with these notecards that celebrate strong women.


Dean and Martin Pottery (pictured pottery is made by Stephanie Nicole Martin) $60-$198

A reminder in every sip of the different women and how each has made a difference in their own way.


RBG bookend from Silk Road Bazaar (fair trade and made by women), $36 // RBG puzzle, $24 // RBG mug, $16

The notorious R.B.G once said “Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”


“The New Woman’s Survival Catalog,” $30

Originally published in 1973, The New Woman’s Survival Catalog is a survey of the second-wave feminist effort across the United States.


Calhoun & Co. throw blankets, $130. Designs are created from illustrations and artwork by founder Kerry Stokes

A throw with a thoughtful message and design — something we can all use a little more of these days.