Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mint celebrates its home state's art

The Mint Museum is showcasing one of its specialties in a show that will settle into the Mint's Randolph Road branch for a year.

"A Thriving Tradition: 75 years of Collecting North Carolina Pottery" will run from Saturday, Nov. 12, through Jan. 5, 2013. The show, part of the Mint's 75th-anniversary celebration, spotlights 75 artists who have molded the state's rich pottery tradition.

The 100-plus works include a Ben Owen vase (at right) that was given to the museum the year after the former U.S. Mint began its new incarnation in 1936.

"The exhibition pays tribute to the many collectors, past and present, whose passion, connoisseurship and generosity have enabled The Mint Museum to develop the most comprehensive collection of North Carolina pottery in the county," the museum's decorative-arts curator, Brian Gallagher, said via e-mail.

The show features N.C.'s homegrown traditions as well as works embodying influences from across the world. A face jug by Burlon Craig, a longtime Catawba Valley potter who died in 2002, represents traditional methods whose results became popular with tourists and collectors alike.

That Ben Owen item from the Mint's first year draws on the shape of Chinese pottery of the Han Dynasty. And a large vessel by Erich Knoche, a young potter working in Asheville, calls on techniques he learned by watching a potter in Thailand.