Originally from Pennsylvania, Haralam moved to North Carolina in 1998 to pursue a BFA in Ceramics from Guilford College. After graduation, he returned to his hometown of Lancaster, PA where he worked as a studio potter for six years before moving to Indiana and earning a MFA in Ceramics from Indiana University. He has been an Artist-in-Residence at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, STARworks Ceramics, and A.I.R. Vallauris. Haralam has taught at Indiana University, Purdue University, and Guilford College and is currently Assistant Professor and AFA Program Coordinator at Rockingham Community College, NC.
Phil Haralam is an American ceramic artist who lives and works in Greensboro, NC. His studio practice is focused on both functional pottery vessels and sculpture, but all his work is rooted in craft traditions and material exploration. Haralam’s wheel-thrown pottery is influenced by American studio pottery and by formal qualities of Song Dynasty porcelain.
Exploring the places where he lives, on foot and with his camera helps him to look closely at his surroundings and extract scenes that he Identifies with these places. These vessels include imagery related to the areas in and around Greensboro, North Carolina, where he lives and works.
When done well, Haralam believes that functional objects can capture our attention, heighten our awareness, and perform their function with harmonious success.
Ronan Kyle Peterson grew up in Poplar, NC, a small community deep in the mountains of western North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and in 1996 received a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Anthropology, with a minor in Folklore. His interest in Folklore led him to John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, where he began taking classes in ceramics and other media. After working for two years with two potters in the area of Asheville, NC, he attended Penland School of Crafts. Initially, he intended to stay for a two-month Concentration in Wood and Soda Fired Pottery with MacKenzie Smith, but two months turned into four years. After Concentration, he applied for and was accepted into the Core Student program. During the two-year intensive work exchange program, he had the opportunity to study with a number of internationally known artists and craftspeople.
Currently, Ronan maintains Nine Toes Pottery, a ceramics studio in Chapel Hill, NC, which produces highly decorative and functional earthenware vessels. His work is drawn from processes of growth and decay in the natural world and translated into a ceramic comic book interpretation of both real and imagined phenomena. His ceramic vessels have shown in local and national exhibitions, including the 2008 Strictly Functional Pottery National in East Petersburg, PA. Ronan was also invited to participate in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 11th Annual Potter’s Market Invitational at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, held the first weekend in September and includes some of North Carolina’s most talented ceramic artists and potters. His work has been featured in both Ceramics Monthly and Clay Times, and the books 500 Bowls and 500 Plates and Chargers, which includes an image of his plates on the back cover.
Ronan’s work is included in the Permanent Collections of the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, and the Governor Morehead School in Raleigh, NC. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at the Kiln Gallery in Fairhope, AL, Mudfire Gallery in Atlanta, GA, and Charlie Cummings Gallery in Gainesville, FL. Also an educator, Ronan taught for 10 years at local craft centers and ceramics studios in the Chapel Hill/Raleigh/Durham area of NC and has recently taught workshops throughout the Southeastern United States, including at Penland School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Mudfire Studio, and the Kiln Studio.
Essentially, I am dealing with the effects of agents of growth and decay and how these agents shape and embellish the surfaces of stones and the skins of trees. These agents also serve key roles in interacting with my ceramic vessels. Mushrooms, seed pods, grubs, and other growths serve as knobs and handles, allowing one to remove lids and discover what might be inside or underneath a covered vessel, like lifting a rock to have insects scurry in many different directions when subjected to the light of day. The vessels are not intended to be actual representations of the trees and rocks, but abstractions and stylizations of these natural phenomena. Employing an earthy background palette stretched across textured but quieter surfaces, I wanted to upset that quiet earthiness with intense splashes of vibrant color, patterns, and glossy surfaces not commonly associated with tree bark or the rough surfaces of rocks amidst fallen leaves. I am interested in inflated volume and thick line qualities that reference comic-style drawings and how that can apply to interpreting the natural world. With my ceramic vessels, I hope to create a comic book interpretation of the natural world with a focus on the rocks and trees and their role in the perpetual organic comedy of growth and decay.
Susan Feagin was born in Burbank, California and when she was 11 years old her family relocated across the country to the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. She earned a BFA in ceramics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1992. Susan started taking clay classes at the Penland School of Craft in 1994 and was a Core Fellow there from 1998-2000. In 2007 Susan finished an MFA in ceramics from the University of Florida. Susan has been the clay studio coordinator at Penland School since 2007 and maintains a small home clay studio in Spruce Pine, North Carolina.
Ceramics, like a handwritten note or a worn book page, evoke memories and timelessness. The vessels I create are scrap paper collages created from suspended fragments of time represented by pieces of letters, hand-pulled prints, newspaper photos, and journal pages. These ceramic vessels reflect the intimacy and comfort of my handmade journal and my sketchbook. Stoneware or porcelain slabs are draped and collaged together over molds. I try to work quickly. The forms are simple so as to contrast the busy surface and also to suggest immediate use. It appears as if the paper scraps have come to life and lifted themselves into an inviting shape, calling us to pause for a closer look.
Huntersville, North Carolina
A few years back I left a 20+ years of career in marketing and advertising working for and with Fortune 500 companies. This involved developing and leading integrated campaigns including TV, Print, Digital, Experiential, and Social channels. While doing so, I led a parallel career becoming a jewelry artist working nights and weekends creating one-of-a-kind jewelry. I studied jewelry design at the Jewelry Arts Institute in NY for 10 years and became a goldsmith with a focus on Byzantine and Etruscan techniques, including gold granulation, classical chain-making, and classical settings. My work was represented and sold in select galleries across the country.
Upon moving to NC, I discovered the rich and varied ceramics community with class/workshop opportunities. I began to learn the possibilities of working with clay and how I could use my jewelry background. In doing so, I became more intrigued with incorporating textures and found objects into my work bringing to life what has been discarded or overlooked in both metal and clay. Recent ceramic work reflects the fusion of texture and design similar to my one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces.
My work is a reflection of the diversity of the world around us. I strive to bring personality into each piece- to engage the viewer with the unexpected. I focus mostly on the combination of materials, where the mundane becomes something more, engaging the viewer to take a second look and see things in a different way. I want to challenge our notions of the use of materials and prompt a new perception of ordinary things that surround us. Using metal, clay, wood, fabric, and found objects, I act as a sort of visual alchemist. There is a simple pleasure that we get from seeing and touching the objects we love. We are perceptive creatures, and aesthetics can touch us in some powerful ways. So, whether you respond to form, color, craftsmanship, or design, my goal- is to make you smile.
Penland, North Carolina
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Sydney Williams was raised in central North Carolina in the Uwharrie National Forest. She lives in nearby Candor, a small NC town known to potters for its clay and to locals for its peaches. She holds an AA in Professional Crafts: Clay and a BFA in Ceramics. Sydney became both an Artist in Residence and a Clay Factory Assistant for STARworks Ceramics in 2017. From 2019 to 2022, Sydney was busy serving first as Pottery Studio Coordinator and then as Director of Heritage Crafts at her first alma mater, Montgomery Community College. Now at 30, Sydney is establishing her name as Dark Mountain Studio. Her work draws influence from the forest and the human form in a way that is both earthy and ethereal; satisfying to both the brain and the hand. Sydney is a 2023 recipient of the NC Arts Council Artist Support Grant and has woven those dollars into an ongoing studio expansion project that has been fueled by elbow grease, love, and dear friends.
Most of what I create grows from a love of person and place, as interpreted through my kaleidoscoping values of autonomy, humanity, and curiosity. I use NC made clay and fire electrically to cone 5. I draw inspiration from my local national forest and the human form. My work is mostly functional and is always mindfully made; a useful art product to be actively experienced in intimate spaces by curious individuals.
I have been so engaged in the clay community since undergrad that I managed to wholeheartedly lose myself in it. The work I am making now is the germination of my past selves in a soil of mindfulness and curiosity. I hope it brings the user a moment of tranquil satisfaction in this turbulent world.