North Carolina potters have long apprenticed with Asian masters and taken trips and residencies to work and learn about foreign techniques, bringing back concepts that shape everything from glaze recipes to kiln shapes. In turn, ceramic artists hailing from Asia have also settled in North Carolina and practiced their craft, offering new viewpoints to their communities. The trading of ideas between artists across the globe has undoubtedly shaped the pottery that is created in North Carolina. This installation which opens July 29, 2017 and will be ongoing, focuses on the wide-ranging influence of training, aesthetics, and traditions from places including China, Japan, Korea, and Thailand on North Carolina ceramics.
Viewing ceramics side by side offers opportunities to make connections between easily spotted decorative aspects, but the influence of Asia also extends to sometimes invisible making processes. For example, numerous North Carolina potters use anagama kilns, which rely on several days of firing and a group of people working around the clock to glaze pots with ash. This kiln form and operation is drawn from Japan, China, and Korea. As in many clay cultures, it is impossible to separate the production of North Carolina ceramics from the scientific advances, decorative techniques, and rigorous trade associated with thousands of years of Asian ceramic production.
Drawing from the Mint’s permanent collection of historic and contemporary Asian ceramics and contemporary North Carolina ceramics highlights how aesthetic and technical exchange has impacted pottery in this state and beyond. Together, these objects reaffirm North Carolina as a meeting place for global innovation.