SCOUTING AROUND: Potters group opens inaugural exhibit

  • The “Fashioned in the Clay” show displays a variety of items, from practical to decorative, including Lisa Proper’s intricate fruit and centerpiece bowls. In the background, Elo-ly Bailey, David Vowell, Kathy Ross and Proper hold conversations during the exhibit’s opening.
    The “Fashioned in the Clay” show displays a variety of items, from practical to decorative, including Lisa Proper’s intricate fruit and centerpiece bowls. In the background, Elo-ly Bailey, David Vowell, Kathy Ross and Proper hold conversations during the exhibit’s opening.
  • As Scott James Stambaugh sings, Doctor Paul Constantine and Heidi Holton (from left) react to a humorous line. The local musicians put on a great show Saturday night.
    As Scott James Stambaugh sings, Doctor Paul Constantine and Heidi Holton (from left) react to a humorous line. The local musicians put on a great show Saturday night.
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    Many potters have been involved in local arts organizations, but now they have a group all their own. The Mountain Potters Network, which just started meeting in April, opened its first exhibit in the Cherokee County Arts Council’s Cultural Calendar Room at the Murphy Art Center on Friday night.
    “It’s a celebration,” said Kathy Ross, the group’s president. “I’m really thrilled David (Vowell, the arts council director) opened this gallery for us.”
    The group already has 27 members, who are using their meeting time to network, learn and share what each other are doing. The group welcomes all potters in the tri-state area.
    Their meetings have included speakers presenting wheel techniques as well as information on forming and starting a gallery.
    “It’s a wonderful opportunity for local potters to get together,” Ross said.
    For the exhibit, titled “Fashioned in the Clay,” 13 potters provided their work, showing the variety of items that can be made with clay. The show includes practical bowls, vases, intricate centerpieces and birdhouses.
    The exhibit is paired with the works of Scott Davis hanging on the walls. Davis creates encaustic photography, which involves applying layers of molten beeswax and damar resin over the surface of a photograph.
    “I always wanted a show in here,” Davis said.
    His art goes well with the pottery, and he thought it was a great idea of Vowell’s to pair the two exhibits.
    “It softens everything,” he said, explaining that sometimes it can be intimidating to just see art hanging on walls in a gallery.
    Davis, who lives in Hiwassee, Ga., was a photographer in the U.S. Army, where all of his photos had to be perfect. He likes that he can now make his photos “rough.”
    “I wanted to be as far from perfect as I could get,” he said.
    The exhibits will be in the center through the end of the month. For details about the Mountain Potters Network, join the group’s Facebook page or email mountainpottersnetwork@gmail.com.

Friday night arts
    Supporters of the arts had plenty of reasons go out Friday night. In Murphy, about 20 artists lined the downtown streets for a chilly but sunny Art Walk.
    One artist was Holly Michelle Hargus, a fine art oil finger painter. She paints primarily bees, but has branched out to other endangered species.
    She started finger painting in 2017, when she discovered famous finger painter Iris Scott. Her mother suggested they should try finger painting, and in two weeks Hargus had completed her first finger-painted bee.
    “I was pretty hooked,” Hargus said.
    She said the connection of using her fingers – she does wear gloves – makes her feel more a part of the creative process. At first she was concerned about using oil because of the thinness of the paints, but she learned how to work with paint.
    “It actually works out pretty well,” Hargus said.
    The last Art Walk of the season will be from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6.
    In Andrews, the Valleytown Cultural Arts & Historical Society brought three local singer/songwriters to the Valleytown Cultural Arts Center to perform together.
    The show, dubbed “The Three Troubadours,” featured Doctor Paul Constantine, Heidi Holton and Scott James Stambaugh. Each artist took turns introducing, then singing their songs. At times, one would strum along to another’s song, and all three were playful with each other throughout the evening.
    Constantine mentioned the three were friends, and he was happy to get the opportunity to perform in North Carolina – he hardly ever gets to perform here anymore because of his growing popularity thanks to an appearance on television’s The Voice – but also at the downtown venue.
    “I love this room,” he said.
    “People want to sing in here because of the acoustics,” said Rebecca Hoilman, one of the society’s board members.
    The event was a fundraiser to support maintenance of the historical building. Hoilman said they would like to do more events like The Three Troubadours and last month’s Writers & Wine event that showcase different artists in the area. They would also like to see more people get involved with the society.
    For details on events, donations and memberships, visit vcahs.com.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.