Blog » Seagrove Spotlight: Avery Pottery and Tileworks
"I have always felt that if you put your heart and soul in your work, it will shine through. There is a trueness that I can feel when the work comes from the heart, throughout and genuine. The educated public can feel this, thus I am lucky to live in a state (North Carolina) that has a rich tradition in ceramics." Blaine Avery, Seagrove artisan potter, from Ceramics Now Magazine, November 2011.
It was a recent daytrip to Seagrove, my first to this famed pottery region, that landed me at Blaine Avery's doorstep. I wasn't familiar with his work previously, but the guide I'd picked up from the NC Pottery Center included "tile" in the short description. As an interior designer, I have a particular fondness for handmade tile. So while my husband and young son tossed a ball in the fields surrounding the red studio, I stepped inside to meet the artist and learn about his work.
Blaine Avery has been working in ceramics for almost 20 years. He is one of those fortunate souls who found his calling early: it was a pottery throwing demonstration in high school that inspired his interest in the craft. After 10 years of apprenticeship with master potter Sid Oakley in Creedmoor, NC, Blaine decided to build his own studio in Seagrove in 2002. Blaine was drawn to Seagrove for its welcoming community and the opportunity for greater exposure of his work. The North Carolina Pottery Center hosts regular openings and events that draw visitors and fosters a community among the local artists.
Blaine says he draws from early American folk art for inspiration, often interpreting traditional forms in a contemporary way. In many of his works he employs surface decorations inspired by nature, textile patterns, and symbols from ancient cultures. He added tile to his collection about 10 years ago, with rich glazes and relief patterns inspired by the Arts and Crafts and Art Deco movements of the early 20th century.
Many of Blaine's customers are local homeowners, who have used his tiles and vessel sinks in kitchen and bath installations.
I'm so glad I had the chance to meet Mr. Avery, who is just as gracious as he is talented. I can't wait for my next chance to use his tile in a design project!
Look for Blaine Avery's work in the Charlotte Mint Museum exhibition 75 Years of Collecting North Carolina Pottery until January 2013. Other upcoming events include:
For more information, visit Blaine's blog at http://www.averypotteryandtileworks.com/.