Before we get to our artist interview, I have one more studio I want to feature here in the Seagrove series. It's called Dover Pottery and they were our last stop before continuing on down to the beach.
In the early 1970's a Al and Milly McCanless bought a small working farm on which to raise their family. Over time the livestock were sold and the focus was shifted to making pottery. In 1983 they opened Dover Pottery and began selling their wares. Each of their 3 sons became involved in the family business, with Will McCanless now running his own studio in another part of town (worth a visit for many reasons, one of which is to see the display of intricate quilts of family practice doctor Scott Murkin).
Dover Pottery stands out on it's own right: a long dirt road brings you to a grouping of old farm outbuildings. As I climbed out of our air conditioned car into the hot, humid sunlight, I half expected to see a copperhead basking in the sun somewhere. (Here's where I must interject and say that I do NOT miss all the poisonous snakes and spiders of the US. Germany only has one poisonous snake, and it's rare, phew!)
A friendly older woman, who I presume was Milly, came out and lead us into one of the outbuildings. Inside was truly a feast for the eyes! Brick floors covered in oriental rugs set the stage for several rooms lined in large, antique furnishings that doubled as display areas for the pottery. Beautiful old wardrobes, china cabinets, bookshelves, and tables featured pottery finished in a crystalline glaze or painted maiolica style.
Originating in France in the late 1800's, crystalline is a pretty cool glaze that forms crystals inside itself as it fires in the kiln. Click on the link to read a in-depth article that explains just exactly how crystalline glazes work. It's actually pretty fascinating! When we were at another studio I overheard the head potter telling a customer that only 14 people were using crystalline in the US right now, with most of them in Seagrove. I'm not sure if that's true, but after reading how complex it is, I'd believe it.
A small, multi-colored crystalline vase came home with me as my primary Seagrove souvenir. I packed it into a shoebox inside my carry-on and freaked out about it until I finally got back to Germany. Sadly, I'm unable to take really good pictures of it. The bunch of herbs currently residing in the vase seem to look more like a bunch of weeds, and the multi-colored-ness of the glaze makes it hard to photograph 'well', so bear with me as I show you a group of close-ups below. I really love the mix of deep yellow, blues and greens, and the ivory at the lip!
If you like the looks of anything you see on this page and would like to order something, check out the Dover Pottery site. Stay tuned to for one more post in the Seagrove series: a chance to meet a potter in a Living Colors post!