Hewitt lectures on pottery background
SANFORD - World-renowned potter Mark Hewitt of Pittsboro discussed the history of N.C. pottery and his personal history at a special Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) lecture Tuesday, February 21.
Hewitt, who specializes in large planters, storage jars, vases and tableware, is the co-curator for "The Potter's Eye: Art and Tradition in North Carolina Pottery" - the current exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
He said the show looks at 19th century N.C. pottery tradition. "It looks at the root of it and examines where that tradition came from."
A native of England, Hewitt grew up in a family of fine china manufacturers. However, as a Bristol University student, he became interested in different types of pottery and decided to become a studio potter.
Before settling down in Pittsboro with his wife Carol, whom he met while apprenticing in Connecticut, Hewitt studied various pottery styles and even hitchhiked across the Sahara Desert and toured West Africa to learn about his craft.
A connoisseur of all pottery, Hewitt's favorite styles come from the 19th century and he makes deliberate references to them in his new works of art in order to bring back his favorite old traditions. He works with local stoneware clays, utilizes traditional Southern alkaline glaze and salt glaze and fires his works of art in a large, wood-burning kiln three times a year.
" You get a sense of catharsis when you fire off a big kiln and give birth to these huge pots," he said.
Hewitt built a kiln on his three and a half acre farm that he and his wife found while traveling around the South looking at old potteries. The couple has lived there since 1983 and Hewitt says this is a "wonderful clay community" and he has seen huge pottery growth in the area during the last 20 years.
" People here like pottery," he said. "That's not true in other parts of the country. If you were in South Dakota, it's quite difficult to be a potter in South Dakota; it's much easier being a potter in North Carolina and I'm very thankful for that."
Hewitt's work has been featured in the Smithsonian magazine and on the cover of American Craft magazine. Hewitt has written for numerous ceramic publications and has exhibited in London, New York, Tokyo and throughout the United States. He is well-represented in both museum and private collections.
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