Featured artist Mark Hewitt
This year’s Expressions benefit for the Lucy Daniels Center, slated for November 9, 2012, at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, NC, takes its inspiration from an artist known for both the grand scale and deft blending of traditions in his work: nationally acclaimed Chatham County potter Mark Hewitt.
Born in Stoke-on-Trent, England, Mark is the son and grandson of directors of Spode, the fine china manufacturers. As a student at Bristol University in the early 1970's, Mark decided to become a studio potter rather than an industrial manager. This decision led to a three-year apprenticeship with Michael Cardew and, later, another with Todd Piker in Connecticut, where Mark met his wife, Carol.
In 1983 they moved to Pittsboro, NC, and set up their pottery. As he reached out to other artists across the state, Mark developed what he called “a strong kinship” with the rural potters. “I felt exhilarated to be working in a part of the world where potters were still making pots from scratch, gathering materials locally and firing in old wood-burning kilns,” he has written of those experiences.
Mark soon built his own very large wood kiln—described on his website as “the size of a school bus”—and began making the distinctive functional pots for which he is known, specializing in very large planters and jars and a full range of high quality tableware. He mines and refines local stoneware clays, and his principal glazes are the traditional Southern alkaline glaze and salt glaze. His work is a blend of different North Carolinian folk traditions, as well as Asian and West African ceramics, that creates a striking, contemporary style that has attracted a sizeable following.
His work has been featured in the Smithsonian magazine and on the cover of American Craft magazine, he has written extensively in the ceramic press, and he has exhibited in London, New York and Tokyo, as well as throughout the U.S. He is well-represented in museum and private collections.
In 2006, along with Nancy Sweezy, Mark curated the highly-regarded exhibition, The Potter’s Eye: Art and Tradition in North Carolina Pottery, at the North Carolina Museum of Art. In his foreword to the superbly illustrated catalogue of the exhibition, published by UNC Press, George Holt, former director of the folk arts program at the North Carolina Arts Council and planning director of the North Carolina Pottery Center at Seagrove, lauds Hewitt’s “brilliant career” and calls him “a potter of national reputation and influence.”
Mark and his work were featured extensively in 2009 on the PBS series Craft in America; and his 2010 exhibition of big pots at Duke University’s Nasher Museum, "Mark Hewitt: Falling into Place,” conveyed, as curator Sarah Schroth said, “an unmatched mastery of the medium… The daring placement of his beautiful pots with their salt glazes and incised patterns [created] an organic transition between the museum’s modernist architecture and the surrounding woods.”
“I consider the existence of the older traditions liberating, not confining,” he explains in “A Colony of Dreamers,” a retrospective on his 30-year artistic journey, published in Ceramic Review earlier this year. “If treated with imagination, they belong in our world now, living alongside the avant garde. The past and present complement each other; one does not cancel the other out, both can be made anew.”
Attendees of Expressions. A Celebration of Food and Art. will enjoy a gourmet, multi-course meal prepared by nationally known chefs and exclusive commentary from Mr. Hewitt about his art. More information about Mark Hewitt is available at www.hewittpottery.com.
Purchase tickets and sponsorships for Expressions 2012 featuring Mark Hewitt here.